The psychology of colour use in email design

The magic of colour is that you do not know how another person sees it. You can’t even describe a colour without reference to itself. Yet you need to crack colour psychology as, according to research, for those viewing a marketing email, 62% to a remarkable, stunning in fact, 90% of viewers make subconscious decisions about your product on colour alone.

How people respond to various colours varies as well. You might feel that red means anger and aggression while to others, it might generate feelings of comfort and warmth. To me it gives impressions of energy. Context gives direction of course, but given the few seconds we have to generate a decision whether to read on or not, nice words in the body will have little influence.

The Psychology Of Colour Use In Email DesignJust to add to the degree of indeterminacy with regards to colour, reaction is based to varying degrees on gender and culture. Before running away to drown your sorrows with a white coffee, all is not lost. We can influence interpretation to an extent.

You might think that it is better to have a red click-through button than green. You might be right. You might have even tested them with segmented email marketing lists already. However, it is generally better to direct rather than respond. Let’s tell our customers how to react.

The Subject Line will have been read by your subscriber. Its function is to encourage an open and to indicate the content of the marketing email. If you built up excitement and anticipation, pastel shades might confuse them when they open the email.

If your Subject Line promised thrills galore then have a smattering of red in the email and use the colour for the click-through. If you promised reliability, brown seems to be the most favoured colour to highlight your 4.2-star reviews. 

One last point; not only do we think people see colours differently, but we know they are presented differently on various digital platforms. It’s enough to make you see red. The answer is, of course, to test and test again. Colour is important and it is worth the effort.



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