Choosing the Right Colour Palette for Your Email Newsletter

Choosing the Right Colour Palette for Your Email Newsletter

Colour schemes aren’t all about looking pretty. Did you know that certain colours actually have different psychological effects? That’s right – without knowing it, you could be using entirely the wrong colours for your email newsletter by affecting potential customers in ways you didn’t know about. By opting for the right colours for your email newsletter, tailored to your particular product or service, you’re far more likely to elicit a positive response. While you do always want to ensure that your brand’s ‘look’ is incorporated in newsletters and other communications, it is important to understand the psychological effects of each colour before sending out another email. Let’s get into it!

email colour pallet

Email Colour Psychology

You might think that the colour of a logo or e-mail header would have little to no influence on whether or not a customer will accept or reject a product being offered. Well, you’d be wrong. It has been estimated by psychologists that up to 60% of the reason behind rejection of a product or service is accounted for by colour.

The reason for this comes down to emotions. Colours trigger emotional responses in humans, so when you use colours in your emails, consider how these colours will affect your readers’ emotions. There isn’t one ‘correct’ colour to use: rather, depending on your niche and the purpose of the email, you might want to adjust your colour scheme accordingly. Ensure your colour scheme reflects the emotional response you’re looking to achieve from your audience when they open your email.

So, Which Colours Do What?


Red is the most well known example of an emotion-triggering colour. Red conveys a sense of danger and urgency. It increases the heart rate, and triggers energy and excitement in the viewer. You could consider using red if you’re holding a flash sale or a time-limited opportunity, to push your customers into buying.


Orange is a valuable colour when it comes to email marketing. It’s a bold, stimulating colour which also tends to be associated with aggression. The perfect colour to use for a call-to-action button in your marketing emails.


Blue is an extremely popular colour when it comes to online businesses these days. So many companies have blue logos, and there’s a good reason: blue is the most trustworthy, relaxing colour. It makes people feel secure in a product or brand. If your business deals with sensitive information or your customers need to put a lot of faith in you, blue is a great idea. Generally, fewer people will unsubscribe because they’ll see you as more trustworthy and reliable!


Yellow is known for being a cheerful and youthful colour. It makes people feel optimistic and confident while also drawing the eye from a distance. It could be a winner if you’re selling a health-related product or service, for instance. However, be careful not to overuse this one, as it’s not so easy on the eyes for longer periods of time.


Green creates a sense of peacefulness and serenity, due to its strong connotations of nature. It’s often used in marketing associated with eco-friendly and health related products, but it’s also associated with wealth and money. It could be a colour to go for if you’re promoting a sale and want to emphasise great savings.


Used correctly, black can make people feel powerful and calm, and convey a sense of mystery. It’s often used by high-profile and luxury brands, so might be good for advertising a high-end range of your product or service.

Most people spend more time in their inbox than they’d care to admit, especially for email users in office-based employment. The style of communications which your audience receives from you can have a major impact on their attitude towards your brand. Therefore it’s imperative that your subscribers are associating your brand with the positive feelings you hope to inspire through using the right complementary colour schemes.

Personalise Your Colour Scheme According to Your Target Audience

While the general rule is that certain colours elicit certain responses, it’s important to remember that each target audience is different. So, not only do you have to consider what message you’re trying to convey and what mood you’re trying to elicit, but also think about who is reading the emails. For example, there are gender differences to consider. Hopefully nobody would create a product targeted towards men with a pale pink colour scheme; however, it’s not as simple as that. Men have been shown to prefer bright, bold colours in general, whereas women tend to prefer more soft and muted tones.

Individual response to colour can vary with not only gender, but also with age, location, mood, and even the device they’re using. You may have done all the research, but you’ll never really know what works until you put it into practise. Try testing out your email campaigns with A/B testing methods to see which colour triggers the most favourable response and engagement from your subscribers. Play around with variables such as the colour of your text, backgrounds, headlines, images and pay careful attention to your call to action buttons.

Make Use of Complementary Colours

As you’ll be using more than one colour in your email campaigns, it is also important that you pick every colour to complement the main colour used. Don’t just pick the one main colour scheme and then select the rest according to what ‘looks good’. The clever use of colour psychology won’t pay off if you carefully decide on a colour for one component and choose the others at random. Specific attention must be paid to the colour of your call to action buttons in particular to achieve the best results.

For example, if your email is set on a blue background or includes a lot of blue, the best colour to use for maximum conversions is orange. For green, red calls to action work best, and with yellow it’s purple. Take a glance at a simple colour wheel, and choose a shade directly opposite for the most noticeable effect. Of course, as mentioned previously, run some tests to figure out what works best with your particular brand and go from there.

How Do I Use This?

As an email marketer, it is never advised to underestimate the human mind, which works constantly by responding to external stimuli to help incite decisions by gut instinct. Not every decision we make as human beings is logical. Snap judgements are often made: that’s just the way the human brain is wired. Everything we see or interact with incites an emotional response either consciously or subconsciously.

Considering that the attention span of humans has now dwindled to a staggering 8 seconds, emails must be designed to appeal to emotions and be effective in quickly grabbing your reader’s’ attention. It is likely that no one will read your content if they aren’t drawn in or inspired by their emotions. However, using the right colours and triggering the right emotional responses from your readers can create a long lasting bond which elicits trust and even friendship.