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What are Men's Favorite Colors?

Appealing to the Masculine

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Corporate Blue

They say the business world is still a man's world. And it's blue.

© Jacci Howard Bear
The color Green

Guys like green.

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Black Colors

How dark is your black?

Jacci Howard Bear; licensed to About.com

Question: What are Men's Favorite Colors?

 

As you might guess, pink isn't a favorite of most men but it's not their least favorite color. Blue, green, and black are generally the colors that men do like most. However, the colors men like for themselves and the colors they find attractive on women aren't necessarily the same.
Colors that are traditionally considered masculine colors or that appeal most strongly to or are more closely associated with men can be good choices for marketing messages, Web sites, and interior designs targeting men. Color studies done over the years indicate that the favorite colors of men and women do differ. Some of these differences in favorite colors may be attributed to cultural use of color and conditioning.

 

Answer: There are no hard and fast rules about what colors are masculine or feminine or gender-neutral. Because colors come in many tints and shades, someone may love a rich, royal blue but strongly dislike a pale, sky blue so a preference for the color blue doesn't mean that every shade of blue is universally appropriate. However, some generalizations are possible based on various color studies.

Men Like the Color Blue

Blue is a favorite color of both men and women of all ages. However, men have a much stronger preference for blue than women. It may be the calming effect of the color blue that makes it a popular color for both men and women or it could be the association of some shades of blue with authority figures, intelligence, and stability. It's possible that men tend toward blue because they've noticed that women find men in blue attractive whether it's a blue uniform or a blue business suit.
"Women... like their men to wear blue. They associate blue with reliability and dependability... Women often desire to find a man who is going to be faithful and honest, and the color blue reflects these qualities subconsciously." — Secrets of Attraction Two: Color
These words are synonymous with blue or represent various shades of the color blue: azure, baby blue, beryl, cerulean, cobalt, cornflower blue, corporate blue, cyan, indigo, midnight blue, navy, Prussian blue, robin's egg blue, royal, sapphire, sky blue, slate, steel blue. And these swatches show off the variety found in dark blue colors and light blue colors.

Men Like the Color Green

A distant second to blue as a favorite color of men, the color green is cool, restful, and signifies growth, renewal, health, and environment as well as balance and stability. While women favor cool, soft colors, men prefer brighter shades although they still show a preference for cool colors such as blue and green.
These words are synonymous with green or represent various shades of the color green: apple, aquamarine, beryl, chartreuse, emerald, fir, forest, grass green, jade, kelly green, lawn green, leaf green, lime, mint, moss, olive, olive drab, pea green, pine, sage, sap, sea green, seafoam, spring green, viridian.

Men Like the Color Black

Men favor the color black only slightly more than women. A strong preference for conservative colors such as blue and black may also reflect social and cultural norms where women wear the brighter, more varied colors while men's attire is traditionally less colorful.
These words are synonymous with black or represent various shades of the color black: coal, charcoal, ebony, ink, jet, lampblack, midnight, obsidian, onyx, raven, sable, soot.

Colors Men Don't Like

Purple stands out as a feminine color because it is chosen almost exclusively by women as a favorite color and is strongly disliked by men. Men are less likely to respond favorably to other feminine favorites such as lavender and turquoise.

Most people still think of pink as a feminine, delicate color, the color for little girls. Even though it is acceptable as a clothing color for men, the color pink has such strong negative associations for men that some uses of the color may be considered insulting to men.

One prominent example of the furor over pink is the locker rooms at the University of Iowa. Up for debate is whether or not the color pink was chosen for the opposing teams locker room because it was a "calming, soothing color" or because of the cultural association of pink with the weaker sex and gay men - a sissy color.

But, pink on a woman can bring out a man's protective instincts so pink isn't all bad. Red spells danger and desire. While the lady in red may attract some men who see her as sexy, other men may find that color red overpowering or threatening.
"Researcher Daniela Niesta and professor of psychology Andrew Elliot discovered that although the color red makes men find women more attractive in an amorous way, it doesn’t make them imagine a woman is kind or great relationship material. So red clothing may be good for attracting a man, or to liven up a long term relationship, but isn’t necessarily conducive to attracting a relationship which is more than physical, at least in the initial stages." — Secrets of Attraction Two: Color

Choosing Colors for Men

Should any and everything aimed at men be blue? Probably not although blue is probably a safe choice. There are many more factors involved in choosing colors. Gender is simply one consideration. To delve deeper into the issue of color and gender, start with The Meaning of Color for Gender by Natalia Khouw. Also see the references at the end of the Color Matters Research article for specific color studies and further research options.

The results of Joe Hallock's polls on color preferences by gender and age yield some interesting results. Those results include:

  • Male Top 3 Favorite Colors: Blue, Green, Black (2 cool and one neutral color)
  • Male Top 3 Least Favorite Colors: Brown, Orange, Purple (neutral, warm, mixed colors)
  • Among favorite colors, preferences for green decrease with age (all genders).
  • Among least favorite colors (all genders), dislike of brown and purple decreases with age while dislike of orange increases with age.

In Colour as a tool for e-branding (PDF), Na Ree Lee looks at the use of color in e-commerce. Among other findings, the research also acknowledges that color on the Web and color in print differ in appearance which can affect the symbolism, preference, and psycological effect of certain colors and color combinations.C.O.P.E. investigated How Does Gender Color our Preferences and Decisions on the WWW? and found that blue was favored overwhelmingly by men and women. Limited in the number of colors studied and the number of study participants, the four colors were, in order of preference, blue, yellow, red, green. Personal preference was the main criteria in choosing a color from the choices offered, but context (background colors, adjacent colors, symbolism) and to a lesser extent readability also played a role in choosing colors.

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