Do Pharmaceutical Brand Colors Affect Consumer Buying Decisions?

Pharmacy TimesJuly 2023
Volume 89
Issue 7

A company’s choice of color for branding and logo design may impact how consumers feel about the brand and could influence buyer decision-making.

A pharmaceutical company’s choice of color for branding and logo design may impact how consumers feel about the brand and could influence buyer decision-making, researchers say. Colors are nuanced and, depending on shade, product type, or popularity, may be associated with certain character traits and meaning.1,2

Woman holding pill and blank white plastic tube on pink background. Packaging for pill, capsule or supplement. Medic product branding mockup. | Image credit: LeviaUA -

Packaging for pill, capsule or supplement | Image credit: LeviaUA -

“When consumers are exposed to a brand logo color (eg, blue), the link between the color and its meanings should become activated,” authors wrote in an article published in Journal of Market Theory and Practice.2

Throughout history, people believed that colors carry certain traits that evoke emotions. In 1810, poet and scientist Johann Wolfgang von Goethe became the first to ascribe certain traits to colors. In Theory of Colours, Goethe wrote that red is associated with beauty, orange with nobility, yellow with goodness, green with usefulness, and blue with “the common.”1

There are many ways to interpret the meaning of different colors, but recognition of a color can influence an individual’s emotional state. Study results have shown that up to 90% of an individual’s product decision-making is influenced by color, and choice ofcolor may also increase brand recognition by 80%.1

Blue is the most popular color in brand marketing and logo design, and it is also one of the most common colors in pharmaceutical branding.1 Study results suggest that blue conveys trust and authority, and is associated with cleanliness and health. Pfizer, Roche, Amgen, and AbbVie all have blue in their logos.1

“The historic Pfizer blue evolved into a vibrant, 2-tone palette,” wrote the team responsible for designing Pfizer’s logo. “In an industry awash in blue, Pfizer is doubling down: a choice that champions Pfizer’s history as a leader for the pioneers who have followed.”3

Trust is an important factor to consider in marketing because it drives relationships with consumers, buyers, and other stakeholders, and it increases brand equity.2 In pharmacy, trust is what drives consumer loyalty; at least 62% of individuals who have high trust in a brand will buy almost exclusively from that brand, according to Conor McKernan, director of digital platforms for health care products distributor Henry Schein Inc.4

Additional studies have been conducted to compare how blue and red theme colors (the most predominant colors used in brand logo design) impacted a consumer’s trust, attitude, and perceived quality of a product. The results suggested that blue conveyed more trust, both implicitly and explicitly, compared with red. The findings also showed that consumers of new brands reacted more favorably toward a bluelogo brand than a red-logo brand.2

However, the findings from these studies suggested that a blue theme color is not inherently better and that selecting a theme color involves many factors.2 Take pharmacy, where brands may use colors based on the conditions that the product treats1,5..

  • Red is often associated with love and the heart, so it often is used for cardiovascular drugs.
  • Darker yellow is used in logos for many men’s health products, whereas pale yellow, peach, mint, and light teal are common in women’s health product logos.
  • Green alludes to nature and frequently is used for natural products or drugs related to the outdoors such as allergy medications.
  • Purple is often associated with tranquility and calm, which makes it is a popular choice for sleep aids.

Some brands may also use colors that do not represent a specific condition, instead signifying moods. For instance, orange is considered youthful and optimistic, and it is most commonly an accent color. Similarly, magenta does not appear to be indicated for a specific condition type but is used in a range of products.

“A brand logo, as a core brand identity, can influence consumers ‘emotions and behaviors,’ ” wrote authors of the blue versus red study. “As an important element of a brand’s logo, the theme color can heavily influence consumers’ evaluations of the brand logo…and their attitudes toward the brand.”2


  1. Kantor L. Use of color in pharmaceutical branding. Cobalt Communications.December 2 ,2022. Accessed June 7,2023 . /use-of-color-in-pharmaceutical-branding/
  2. Su L, Cui AP, Walsh MF. Trustworthy blue or untrustworthy red: the influence of colors on trust. Journal of Marketing Theory and Practice.2019;27(3):269-281.doi:10.1080/10696679.2019.1616560
  3. Pfizer. Team Design. Accessed June 8,2023.
  4. McKernan C. ways pharma brands can build trust & drive deeper engagement with patients via direct to consumer (DTC) websites. News release. August 12,2021. Accessed on June 7, 2023. https://www. via-conor-mckernan/
  5. The anatomy of a logo: the cornerstone of any pharma brand. bfw Life Sciences. News release.2022. Accessed June 7, 2023. https://healthcareadvertising.
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