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Choosing Color in Direct Mail Design: Orange Edition

When creating your direct marketing piece, headlines and body copy matter. However, the colors and imagery you choose matter even more, as prospects will subconsciously scan your piece right out of the mailbox in mere seconds. So, how do you visually get your message across when words may take too long? Here’s a look at the fascinating psychology behind color: orange edition.

Quite simply, the color orange can evoke happiness and energy, and inspire consumers to take action. While it does not induce feelings of passion or danger like the color red, it still adds brightness and grabs attention, similar to the color yellow. It’s the perfect choice to stand out, but not come across as overwhelming to your prospects’ scanning eyes.

Choosing Color Orange Edition - Example Mailer

According to the article “How Color Affects Our Mood” published on, “This highly popular color marries the sunniness of yellow with red’s depth. In fact, orange is the perfect substitute if you’re not comfortable seeing red. But the color is by no means ho-hum — orange evokes action.”

Another great resource to better understand colors and the emotions they provoke is Below is an excerpt from their article, “Color Psychology: How Colors Impact Moods, Feelings and Behaviors:”

The Color Psychology of Orange

  • Orange is a combination of yellow and red and is considered an energetic color
  • Orange calls to mind feelings of excitement, enthusiasm, and warmth
  • Orange is often used to draw attention, such as in traffic signs and advertising
  • Orange is energetic, which is perhaps why many sports teams use orange in their uniforms, mascots, and branding
  • Orange is also the color of bright sunsets and fruits such as oranges and tangerines, so many people might associate the color with the beauty of a setting sun or the refreshing taste of citrus
  • Orange is also linked to Autumn and the color of dying leaves and pumpkins
  • The color is also heavily linked to Halloween in the United States, so it can sometimes have a dark or even cartoonish association

The article also states, “It is important to remember that the symbolism and associations of the color orange are not universal. Cultural differences often play a role in how people relate to color. In the U.S., people might associate orange with prison uniforms, while in other countries it is linked to royalty and spirituality.”

So, now that you have been briefed on the psychology behind the color orange, it’s time to see how you can best use it to attract new business through your own direct mail marketing. Below are some ideas to get started and items to consider when using orange in direct mail or marketing collateral designs.

  • Consider orange for callout boxes or call-to-action statements to help these important, action-oriented components best stand out
  • If your messaging is upbeat and friendly, but not urgent, orange is a good tone to incorporate as a background color for your mail piece
  • If orange is too strong to include as an overall color, search for photography, graphics or iconography that incorporates orange to give your mail piece a fresh pop of this bright tone

As mentioned previously, it’s important to keep your target audience in mind when using any colors, as they may have different cultural or spiritual meanings to different groups of people. For example, the color red can conjure feelings of hunger, passion or danger to the average American, but in China, the color red is traditionally a symbol of happiness and good luck! Whatever colors you choose to use, be sure to do some research, especially when reaching out to segmented audiences based on culture, religion, race or other key demographics.

Need help creating your next direct mail campaign? The experts at Modern are here to help. Call our Direct Marketing Specialists at 800.959.8365 to discuss your next project.

By Jessica Biondo, Marketing Communications Program Manager, Modern Postcard

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