The Psychology of the Color Black

Black is the color of nighttime and evokes a sense of fear, darkness, evil, and mystery that no other color can match. Black is also a very dramatic color. It exudes authority and dominance. Marketers who understand the power of the color black can use it to strengthen their brand.

Joe Hallock’s Colour Associations survey found that black was the color most associated with high quality (43%) and high technology (26%). It was also the second color most associated with security (16%) and reliability (24%). Blue was also strongly associated with all these values.

These associations make black an excellent color for technology. Black smartphones, game consoles, and MP3 players all have a sleek look and feel.

Because of black’s association with quality and power, luxury brands such as Prada, Chanel, Ralph Lauren, Gucci, and Gilt Groupe use it in their promotions. A combination of black and gold is especially effective.

Black is also commonly associated with fear and death. Think of hearses and funeral attires. In fact, according to the blog Invisible Oranges, “black” was the second most common word used for metal band names with 1,157 different artists using the word. “Death” was the most popular word.

The color evokes powerful emotions, and too much of it can become overwhelming. Be careful how you use black. Use enough black to give a dramatic vibe, but not too much to avoid making your brand too depressing.

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Carole Derrick, Primary Grades Teacher