Are You Seeing Black? 

Let me introduce you to the psychology of colors. Colors influence. Colors set the tone. Colors can encourage you to buy, to eat or be irritable. Look at the chart. Don’t believe me? Stick with me…I’ll illustrate after the chart. (This chart was compiled from several articles.)






Encourages appetite

Increases passion and intensity

Invokes anger or aggression

Excited, energized, adventurous, ready to go


Raises blood pressure

Raises heart rate, breathing and nervous system

Increases stamina

Captures senses

Red rose, symbol of love

Used by restaurants to stimulate appetite

Creates urgency, as in clearance sales

Used for impulsive shoppers

Encourages people to gamble and take risks


Uplifting and cheerful

Enhances creativity

Not soothing

Imaginative, wondering

More energetic and alert

Associated with memory, clear thinking

Encourages communication 

Strains eye

Not soothing

Stimulates brain

Causes fatigue

Makes babies cry

Stimulates mental processes


Sunshine, smiley faces

Represents optimism, youth

Grabs attention of window shoppers

Shows clarity


Curbs appetite

Associated with water, peace

Most preferred by men

Represents calmness, serenity

Increases productivity

Creates security, trust

Decreases heart rate, breathing and blood pressure

Creates mental control and creativity

Calms mind


 Most used color in offices


Reflects excitement, enthusiasm

Shows warmth

Warnings, caution


Signifies aggression

Creates call to action, buy, sell, subscribe

Encourages impulsive shoppers

Friendly, cheerful, confident brand


Constitutes health, tranquility

Symbolizes money

Pictures nature

Alleviates depression

Represents new growth

Connected to healing


Used to create relaxation in stores

Associated with wealth

Symbol of fertility

Used in night vision goggles because eye is most sensitive to and able to discern the most shades of it

Workers in green environment have fewer stomach aches


Increase clarity

Soothe, calm

Stimulates creativity, spirituality and compassion imaginative, wise

Causes peace

Combats fear


Shows royalty, wealth, success, wisdom

Used often in beauty or anti-aging products



Associated with silence, calmness, death

Discourages growth and change



Don’t believe the chart?

Marketers do. They use color to influence buyers every day.

Marketers Believe In the Influence of Color

Ever wonder why McDonald’s, K-mart, Target, Kellogg’s, Frito-Lay, Lays, Avis, Red Robin, Exxon, Ace Hardware, and Coco-Cola use red in their logo? It is not by accident that most food-related logos have some red in them. 

What about National Geographic, Hertz, CAT, Sun Chips, Best Buy, and Pennzoil with their yellow logos?

Blue is used for Facebook, Twitter, Pepsi, Oreo, Skype, Lowe’s, Oral B, Dell, Ford, and Walmart. You want to be calm in Lowe’s or Walmart as you wonder their aisles finding what you “need.” 

Orange is found in Nickelodeon, Amazon, Payless, Harley-Davidson, Gulf, Crush, and Discover. Spend more: you really do ‘need’ another pair of shoes. 

Green shows up in Starbucks, Land Rover, Holiday Inn, 7-Eleven, Tropicana, and Whole Foods. Take your time, look around, you will stay longer and find more things of interest. (My green website background was not chosen for this reason. I like green; in my world of busy adventures, I need calm things. But you are free to stay and linger as long as you would like.) 

What does purple say in these logos: Yahoo, T-Mobile, Taco Bell, Hallmark, Welch’s, and Craigslist? Don’t you feel in charge when you walk into Taco Bell and demand a ‘taco without onions’? 

Consumers claim the primary reason they purchase a product is color 84.7% of the time.

People decide whether to purchase a product in 90 seconds based on 93% visual appearance, 6% texture, 1% sound and/or smell.

Between 62-90% of that assessment to purchase or not to purchase is based on color alone.

Color ads are read 42% more often than black and white ads. 

Does knowing all that help you control your impulses? Maybe you might think twice if you are in a red dominant room--maybe you aren’t as hungry as you thought! During the winter when colors are bleak and dreary, the cloud cover hangs low over my sunshine and I have more trouble being thankful and cheery. I add color and candles to give light. This lifts my dreariness and helps me refocus.

Recognizing the influence of colors can help us with how we respond, what we do, how we feel. Knowing that colors influence can help avoid areas of weakness (shopping when depressed, eating when you're not hungry) so we can transform our minds to focus on what we should do. Romans 12:2 says, “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.”

How do we renew our minds? “Whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything is worthy of praise, dwell on these things.” (Philippians 4:8) If we focus our minds on these things, color may still influence us (after all, it is neither good nor evil, God made it), but we won’t be controlled by it. We can actually transform our environment to be thankful even in ‘black’ surroundings.

How have you used color to help you refocus? 

Scripture taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD Bible, Copyright 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by the Lockman Foundation. Used by Permission.

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Author of Biblical fiction, married to my best friend, and challenged by eight sons’ growing pains as I write about what matters.

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Tell of My Kingdom's Glory
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