Colour psychology is the study of how colours influence subtle perceptions, emotions and decisions. While it is usually a harmless digital marketing tool used to get a few more page views, not being aware of this unconscious bias could see many being coerced into investments whilst thinking it’s of their own free will.
“Colour is not simply about aesthetics, but also the different meaning and associations that they carry, which can be subjective,” commented Head of Psychology & Behavioural Insights at Dynamic Planner Louis Williams.
“Colour can even influence perceptions that are not obvious, for example effecting our taste of foods, or the effectiveness of a placebo drug.
“This may have considerable implications on investor behaviour and decisions but is often ignored within financial economics.
“Recent research shows that financial information using the colour red, potentially due to associations with danger and signals of avoidance, were problematic.
“Investors were more risk averse and pessimistic about the future changes in the stock market when red was used to communicate financial loss compared to the colours black or blue (Bazley et al., 2017).”
Colour psychology is very popular in the entertainment industry specifically to influence one’s emotional state when watching, reading or listening to a piece of work.
When done correctly, this helps the audience resonate with the piece, gaining a stronger viewership and support for the artists future pieces.
As Emma Roebuck, founder and creative director of Ox Designers, commented: “Choice of colour in brand creation is critical across all industries; and certainly the investment arena where brand colours associated with trust, stability and professionalism are key. Blue is by far the global favourite.”
The influence of colour in the investing sector is most clearly seen in the colour choice for stock market graphs and across investing programs.
The most obvious example of this is the small red arrow which can make an investors blood run cold.
In colour psychology, red is generally seen as a highly visible colour associated with romance, danger and speed.
Ms Roebuck added: “Businesses looking to secure venture capital may equally be mindful of high-energy brand colour combinations that communicate authority and dynamism, and by association, potential for growth.”
Green on the other hand has been associated with wealth for centuries, it is also representative of nature which induces a sense of harmony and calm.
A good neutral colour is blue, as it is often used with positive associations such as blue ribbons, the sky and being even-tempered.
This colour is very popular for investment, wealth and insurance firms due to the neutrality and as it induces a sense of loyalty, meaning it may make it harder to leave the firm if one’s investments aren’t doing well under their care.
Purple is well-known as the colour of royalty and symbolises the future, research suggests it is generally popular with finance firms as it provides a sense of strength and rank alongside femininity.
Specifically with financial planning, yellow is often used as it represents holistic healing, peace, stillness and purity, all emotions that financial planners want their clients to feel.
By using this colour in their branding it increases the chances of a client feeling that their finances are being well-managed, even if this is not the truth, and makes them reluctant to move to a different planner.
Orange on the other hand can be used to represent some investment options that are high-risk but don’t want to make it that obvious.
By combining red and yellow, investors are provided with a somewhat neutral yet energetic perspective of the investment, making them more likely to buy into it even if it’s outside of their risk appetite.
Black is also a very popular colour when it comes to financial brands as it’s associated with power, elegance and formality. It generally isn’t used in marketing materials but provides for clear backgrounds and texts.
A popular colour for website marketing is white as it allows the eyes to rest and indirectly causes the potential client to spend longer on the site.
Grey is used to make marketing, brand and investment materials more sophisticated and can highlight certain aspects of documents subtly, so one won’t necessarily see the grey directly but rather what is encapsulated by the grey.
Other highlighting colours include gold, black, and white, all of which can be used to sway the reader away from negatives/connotations and towards more positive aspects without them realising it.
Certain colours are also more gender focused; if a firm is trying to appeal directly to women then there will be more blue, light green and light purple.
Whereas, male driven marketing will see more olive green, browns and gold highlights.