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What is colour psychology?

85% of online shoppers say colour has a primary influence on their buying choices, and colour has a correlation with our moods.
Man smiling, viewed through a yellow window frame

Colour psychology studies hues in relation to human behaviour. What is meant by this? Well.. what’s your (least) favourite colour? Why is the green-screen for CGI green? Will any colour ever really become “the new black”?

Colour psychology on Zoom

85% of online shoppers indicate that colour has a primary influence on their buying choices [1]. Furthermore, colour has a well-established correlation with our moods and perceptions of reality. It may vary based on culture, gender, age, other identity factors, but we all have intuitive reactions to different colours. For coworking on Zoom, it helps to be aware of the colour context within your screen. The overall image is perceived based on several visual factors:

  • what you look like
  • what you are wearing
  • what your background is

Colour starts with you

Skin colour has two components: surface colour and undertone.

Surface colour ranges through fair, light, medium and dark.

Undertone ranges through warm, neutral and cool.

If you have warm undertones, earth or deep colours are your best match: orange, mustard, coral, bronze, and so on.

If you have cool undertones, go for paler and pastel colours like pink, green, blue, silver and the lot.

If you have neutral undertones, congratulations. You’ve won the colour match bingo and can freely experiment with both groups of shades.

Quick experiment

“Purple Rain” by Prince.

Remember that iconic chorus?

Now, can you imagine any other colour that could work as majestically for this song? Red rain, green rain, yellow rain, brown rain… No. Why? Traditionally, purple represents wealth, extravagance, and ambition. In ancient times, purple dye was so rare and scarce that it traded as gold. In fact, many royal crowns are purple. Purple combines the reliability of blue with the energy of red to signify power and creativity. That rain could only be purple.

You can learn more about historical origins of color perceptions on


  1. J Suresh Kumar. “The Psychology of Colour Influences Consumers’ Buying Behaviour, A Diagnostic Study”. Ushus-Journal of Business Management. Volume 16, 2017 Available at
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