Colour And Typography’s Effect On Consumer Behaviour

By Harneet Kaur

Understanding the behavioural relationship of consumers and their purchasing habits helps marketers effectively promote products and brand images. This relationship is known as Consumer Behaviour, which is a study of consumer’s buying tendencies. This also takes into consideration how the general consumer feels about a brand or the services it imparts. Even slightest details like colour and font effect choices.

Focusing on how consumers view the brand, it is well known that human beings are visual creatures. Visual perception is the ability to perceive our surroundings through the light that enters our eyes. Visual perception helps designers create user-friendly interfaces, products and designs. It incorporated within it everything ranging from light and contrast, colour, shape, to the movement and position of stimuli. For instance, recent research shows how visual perception in humans unconsciously effect the decision-making processes (Carnegie Mellon University).

When looking at consumer behaviour and the role of visual perception, the main areas of focus are colour and typography. But what is the psychology of colour and typography? Why exactly does it have a role in determining our preferences, especially in consumer settings? Let us understand both colour and typography in detail moving forward.

The Colour Psychology

Colour psychology aims at studying how differently various colours effect our minds. It was Swiss psychologist Carl Jung who first developed a relationship between colours and the human mind. According to him, colours are the “mother tongue of the subconscious.”

Colour psychology is being extensively used in marketing and branding because organizations are paying attention to how colours impact decision-making abilities. They try to persuade and form a connection through colours within the individual and the brand.

Do you know, researchers have found that upto 90% of snap judgements made about products can be based on colour alone? (Impact of Colour on Marketing).

How The Right Colour Affects Consumer Preferences

Colour evokes emotional effects in the individuals and triggers certain responses and reactions by stimulating the mind. Certain colours are associated with their own set of qualities and traits. It should also be taken into consideration that the effect a colour elicits varies from place to place. For example, while the colour red is seen as representing danger or passion in British culture, it is on the other hand considered lucky by Asians.

(Via BeMighty²)

This makes choosing a colour for branding and marketing slightly difficult as they’ve to keep this in mind. However, notwithstanding the cultural biases which affect colour choices, certain brands tend to go with the general interpretation of colour for their marketing strategies.

(Colour Meanings via UK POS)

A Look Into Various Colours and Their Detonations

Colours can often be the sole reason someone buys a product. A close to 85% of consumers claim a colour to be the primary reason when they make a purchase! Below is the list of some commonly used colours and what they project along with examples of brands using them:

1. Red Colour Psychology

Have you noticed how during sales, the banners and pamphlets in showrooms and shops are almost always red? This is because the colour red creates a sense of urgency. It stimulates the body and the mind to make impulsive purchases fuelled by excitement and passion. Moreover, the red colour also increases appetite, being a good choice for food chains. Who knew it had such an effect? Some well-known brands which use red as a colour in their brand image are Target, Mcdonald’s and Kellogg’s.

(Logo’s of Kellogg’s and Target)

2. Blue Colour Psychology

Using blue colour promotes a sense of trust within their customers, and is used by many conservative brands. For example, American Express and Samsung, both brands having a long-established reputation. It also provides a sense of security, productivity along with peace and reliability.

(Logo’s of AmEx and Samsung)

3. Green Colour Psychology

The colour associated with nature and health, this has been widely used by brands in the food sector. This colour has been used by a variety of environment-centric organizations and movements also. Many brands like Starbucks, Whole Foods etc use this colour, owing to the fact that they’re food brands.

(Logo’s of Starbucks and Whole Foods)

4. Yellow/Orange Colour Psychology

Yellow is called the happiest colour on the colour palette. They impart a sense of optimism and positivity among buyers. They, being associated with red, also create a sense of impulsivity which draws in buyers. Brands like Snapchat and Harley Davidson use this colour in their logos. It elicits adventure, excitement, happiness and creativity within their customers. We also see the use of this colour in Hobo.Video‘s main page. The initial use of this colour attracts the views and intrigues them into exploring further content.

(Logo’s of Hobo.Video and Harley Davidson)

5. White Colour Psychology

This colour promotes purity, safety and cleanliness. White is often used as a background colour or the font colour by many brands, like Subway and Lego. It, in fact, works as a clean space for minimalist brands. In that way, it inspires creativity and also neutrality. Brands like Lego, Lenovo and Hobo.Video use white colour as their font colour in the logo.

(Logo’s of Lenovo and Lego)

6. Black Colour Psychology

Black imparts a sense of authority, power and confidence. The lack of actual colour in this often gives a clean, sleek look to the brand image. Some brands which have successfully used black in their brand image are Chanel and Nike. Likewise, Chanel exudes sophistication and a luxurious feel through the constant and consistent use of the colour.

(Logo’s of Nike and Chanel)

The Psychology Of Typography

Typography is the art of writing alphabets and letters in an appealing and easy to read form. An equally important concept, it refers to the style of words. It includes the font style, it’s structure, appearance and the message it is intended to convey. In layman words, it is something which brings the text to life.

Typography has evolved since the 11th century when the movable type was innovated. It has, since then, been used in both print and digital form. We see different typographic patterns and styles around us in different brand logos, website interfaces, application designs and operating systems. Each of these have a different effect on our eyes.

(Via Google)

How Typography Affects The Consumer

Typography is another crucial element which affects consumer decision making along with colour. It tends to express the brand’s sense and sets a mood board for consumers to view a particular brand as.

But what all exactly does typography convey to consumers? And are there particular points which enable it to facilitate decision-making ability in them? Let us read on and find out.

Fonts and Styles

Fonts and Style try to visualize the brand image to consumers. They work hand in hand with colours to appeal, attract and effect customers. In addition, building an environment defining their brand and what they cater to.

(Via Volusion)

The Gestalt Theory says that a person views different parts of something as a unified whole. This typically means that every aspect of the design should have a harmonious structure and relationship with one another.

We’ve seen how different colours work and depict. However, now let us take a look at some font styles and what they represent.

1. Serif Font

There is an undeniable superiority of Serif-style fonts over types of fonts. Serif fonts have been known to add a traditional as well as a formal touch to brand image as they were one the earliest to be used in official work after the emergence of fonts.

Thus, they were helpful in increasing a consumer’s level of trust. For instance, an insurance company’s logo in Serif fonts would be seen as more trustworthy than the one with a Comic Sans font.

2. Slab Serif

A variant of Serif fonts, slab serif fonts have slab-like extensions on the alphabets rather than serif fonts’ slightly curved ones. These fonts give an impression of solidity, confidence and bold design.

By using them, numerous automotive and technological companies instilled a sense of confidence in their customers.

(Via Google)

3. Sans Serif

Sans serif fonts, as the name suggests, are serif fonts but without any extensions at the ends. They have a clean, modern style and exude a straightforward, no-nonsense attitude.

These are used by companies wanting to put forth a sense of clarity and sensibility towards their brand. Hence, the non-decorative look.

(Via Google)

4. Script Fonts

The fancier counterparts to serif fonts, script fonts exude a sense of creativity, femininity and elegance. These fonts, owing to their handwritten look, make a brand feel more personal and helps appeal to the consumer’s emotional side.

They’re perfect for companies wanting to show off a legacy and also for artful, creative companies. However, the font should be easy to read and understand as it can get a little too fancy sometimes.

(Via Google, Ebaqdesigns)

5. Modern Fonts

Modern fonts are simple fonts, but due to their variance in the thickness and thinness of strokes, they look quite appealing and futuristic even. They’re easy to read, provide exclusivity to brands due to a unique touch of modern flair.

Moreover, they’ve appealed to millennials taste with Facebook’s use of a modern font of basic strokes with slight variation. Companies like NARS, Mango etc. too have successfully used this font type. Thus, it makes effect on a coming-of-age mindset.

6. Decorative Fonts

These creative fonts are usually customized as per the needs of the brand and what they want to portray. Since they’re personalized, they show the personality of the brand and even the people behind it. They’re eye-catching and if they’re done well, they leave a lasting impression on the customer. The font of Hobo.Video, an online e-commerce community of influencers is a uniquely designed one which incorporates both the e-commerce aspect (making the H look like a shopping cart) and the influencer aspect of it (using a video icon in an O) in their logo.

(Via Venngage, Google)

However, these font styles can be overdone too which would result in a design blunder.

Did you know, Netflix created its colours own in-house font, ‘Netflix Sans’, to save on expensive licensing?

Brand Identity

As discussed above, we know different fonts display different characteristics. If the fonts and colours a brand associates with themselves are consistent throughout their digital and physical platforms, i.e. from websites, banners, storefronts etc, then consumers are able to remember that brand. This enables consumers to identify it everywhere. This is a great way to attract Gen-Zers to your brand too.

Visual Appeal

Typography gives a visual perspective to brands. Since humans are visual creatures, typographic elements provide something to feed our eyes on. If a consumer likes the look and feel of a company’s logo, he or she is more likely to shop from there. Than from somewhere where typographic elements were mediocre or average. The effect they have is high.

Conveys A Meaning

Just like it helps build brand image, typography also helps in conveying what the owners or the brand want to say. Their style, attitude and sometimes even their thinking is conveyed through their font choices.

Builds Experience

No matter where we see it, on the television, on the website or out on a storefront, we experience typography. Hence, this is facilitating in building our relationship with a brand and goes a long way in maintaining brand loyalty.

Moreover, it sets a tone and mood for the company. For example, a sleek logo of Vero Moda represents the casually-formal look the clothing brand caters for consumers.

(Vero Moda’s sleek logo design)


In a final analysis, it can be said that colour and Font psychology has worked side by side in increasing brand awareness. Consequently, it has helped with recognition and identity of a brand among consumers. Moreover, if chosen rightly, it can work miracles even on new budding startups and small businesses. A little twerk and effect to consumer thought process is beneficial to brands.