The Psychology of Color in Business Card Design (Part 1)

Posted by: on May. 08th, 2011
colorful business cards
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When it comes to designing business cards, color choice is more than just an aesthetic decision. Every color has its own psychological cues that create an emotional and sometimes physical reaction in viewers.

Think about your favorite brands; Target stores, for example use the red and white color scheme for all of their branding. McDonald's uses red and yellow, UPS uses brown, and so on. The folks who come up with advertising, web designs, branding and marketing for major brands will use the brand colors and other accent colors to influence consumers in subtle ways.

To get the most out of your new business cards, consider color and how you might use color in your design. Try to select colors that will fit in well with your logo and website design.

Below are some examples of colorful business cards. For each color, I will discuss the psychological implications and which industries could benefit from using the color in a business card design. I will continue to discuss the psychology of color in part two of this series on Thursday.

1. Black Business Cards

black business cardsLike the fabled American Express black card, a black on black business card design exudes mystery, power and luxury. An all black design looks and feels heavier or weightier than a card with a white background and adds a sense of increased value to your card and your business.

Traditionally, black symbolizes and has psychological associations with power, sophistication, elegance and luxury.

Industries that can benefit from a black business card: Luxury industries, interior designers, stylists, creatives, upscale retail, investors, salons. Stay away from an all black business card if you want to establish trust and a sense of security or if you work in an industry that serves children or the elderly. [Image via]

2. White Business Cards

white business cardsWhen a business card design is mostly white, or white on white, it evokes a sense of calm and clarity. Talk to your print vendor about printing tricks that you can use to successfully pull off a white on white design, such as raised type, embossing, foil stamping, or spot gloss treatments.

The color white evokes mental clarity, peace, freshness, innocence, truth, simplicity, possibility, purity and innocence. A white on white design is also pretty unique and will make an impression on the recipient.

Industries that can benefit from a white business card: Spas, salons, massage, therapists, child-card services, wedding industry vendors, photographers, florists, architects. If you work in marketing, advertising, sales or any other action-oriented business, then white may be too ineffectual to match the nature of your industry. [Image via]

3. Purple Business Cards

purple business cards

Purple is a really unique and creative color choice for a business card design. Purple can be challenging to use design-wise because it is difficult to combine with other colors. The best purple card designs use white, gray, black and silver as accent colors against the purple.

Psychologically, purple can mean a whole host of things! Purple is feminine, sensual, soothing, luxurious and spiritual. It has hints of royalty or nobility, a sense of mysticism, and playful creativity.

Industries that can benefit from a purple business card: Use purple for beauty-related products and services and creative services like marketing or branding. Lighter purples are more soothing and can be used for a variety of businesses. Darker purple is more risque and intense and should be used with great care and consideration in a business card design. If you are in a serious industry like law, medicine or finance, a purple business card may be too playful and send the wrong message to recipients. [Image via]

4. Yellow

yellow business cardsThe song title "Mellow Yellow" is a misnomer. Yellow is actually a very energetic and stimulating color for viewers. Yellow creates feelings of warmth, joy, playfulness, happiness, chatty social energy and mental activity.

Business card designers can use a  foil-stamping technique to create a metallic gold color in their business card designs. Gold has psychological ties to wisdom, wealth and high quality and can be a very powerful choice for a business card design.

Industries that can benefit from a yellow business card: Any business, product or service that caters to families and children can benefit from a yellow design. This design also works well for health and fitness categories, different types of retail, catering and the food industry, Public Relations and anyone involved in wedding or event planning. Use gold if you want to exude high-quality, luxury, opportunity and wealth. Stay away from yellow if you deal with somber subjects in your business such as death, divorce or treating illness. [Image via]

Stay tuned for part two of this color psychology series on Thursday! Part two will feature four more colors: red, blue, green and orange!

Featured photo credit: Toms Bauģis.


  1. The Psychology of Color in Business Card Design (Part 2)
  2. A Round-Up of Nine More Business Card Links

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