Color Meanings and Their Messages

Understanding color meanings is essential in order for you to choose the right color scheme for your business. Why?

Since colors are related to emotions, senses, symbols, and cultural traditions, whatever colors you choose will subconsciously and consciously create an impression about your business in your viewer mind.

So don't rush to choose your colors. Sometimes it can take more than just a few days to come up with the perfect scheme, so take your time to do some research. Look at what other companies in your field are using for their brand as a reference.

There's also a book I highly recommend if you wish to delve into the meanings of color further.

Essentially, this page is designed to help get you started. So use these color meanings and associations below to choose the right colors for your small business' marketing materials.

I also provide more info in another article if you need a refresher on the color wheel and color schemes.

Before jumping into the list of color meanings please review these reminders.

  • Make sure to weigh both the positive and the negative connotations before settling on a hue to place in your color scheme.
  • Note that these connotations and color meanings can and may apply only to certain shades and tones of colors and not just the color in general. (i.e. Pink is feminine but not exactly the color red.)
  • Always keep in mind your audience, target market, and industry because although colors have an overall undertone, each color will vary in meaning to among genders, ages, cultures, etc.

    For example,
    normally the connotation of dirt brown is considered a negative connotation for most businesses but for someone in a landscaping business will because dirt is an item related to your field that you work with. It would actually be a positive color to use in the business' color scheme.

Temperature: Cool
Common Hues: Royal, Baby, Sky, Navy, Periwinkle, Cyan, Aqua.
Connotations: Calming, peaceful, tranquil, cool, heavenly, classic, loyal, traditional, truth, aquatics, water, religious, cleanliness, sadness, gloominess, cold.

Temperature: Warm
Common Hues: Fire truck, Pink, Rose, Blood, Magenta, Ruby.
Connotations: Sensuality, energy, passion, intensity, heat, romantic, exciting, robust, earthy, festive, war, violence, provocative, feminine, bold.

Temperature: Warm
Common Hues: Sunshine, Gold, Mustard, Lemon, Amber, Banana.
Connotations: Joy, optimism, easygoing, friendliness, food related, mellow, nostalgic, rich, glowing, lofty, luxurious, divine, danger, overpowering, cowardly.

Temperature: Cool
Common Hues: Lime, Hunter, Grass, Emerald, Olive, Teal, Cucumber.
Connotations: Energy, nature, calmness, freshness, organic, tropical, luxurious, fertile, slimy, sickening, refreshing, woodsy, envy, money.

Temperature: Warm
Common Hues: Sunset, Peach, Ginger, Tangerine, Brick, Carrot.
Connotations: Spice, energy, earthy, fruity, loud, inviting, luxurious, classy, exotic, vibrant, pungent, sexy, sultry, rustic.

Temperature: Cool
Common Hues: Lavender, Violet, Mauve, Lilac, Eggplant.
Connotations: Luxurious, noble, authoritative, rich, delicate, spiritual, creative, feminine, mystical, peaceful, kiddy, youthful.

Temperature: Warm
Common Hues: Tan, Chestnut, Maroon, Beige, Chocolate, Mocha, Coffee.
Connotations: Earthy, organic, natural, woodsy, historic, rustic, solidity, secure, classic, food related, dirt, poverty, nostalgic.

Common Hues: Gray, Jet, Off-Black, Ash, Charcoal.
Connotations: Powerful, strong, classic, elegant, modern, bold, sophisticated, mysterious, authoritative, sleekness, stylish, sadness, gloominess, depression, creepy, evil, death, darkness.

Common Hues:
Vanilla, Off-White, Cream, Sand.
Connotations: Cleanliness, sterile, purity, light, simplicity, heavenly, peaceful, modern, innocent, stark, stiff, cold.

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