I am working on designing an eCommerce site where the focus is a user group with the age group of 30+ women with expensive tastes and I was trying to find if there is any research on the color schemes which work best with specific categories like this in general to cater to their tastes.

I know the eventual design would depend on the branding guidelines and the product which is being sold but I can't help wondering if there is any established palette or design guidelines based upon gender studies

Please let me know if this question is too localized and I can then try rewording it.

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    This could be a start: The Meaning of Color for Gender colormatters.com/color-symbolism/gender-differences Commented Sep 7, 2012 at 13:22
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    The problem I've found whenever trying to research aspects of color psychology is dredging up the actual research on the interwebs. Whenever you think you've found something, there isn't a source credited or any credible reference to be found. With that said, here's all I could gather. At the very least it's an interesting read about Pink vs. Blue: brainpickings.org/index.php/2009/12/11/pink-and-blue-project
    – GotDibbs
    Commented Sep 7, 2012 at 14:31
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    Colour assignments to gender are pretty arbitrary; about a hundred years ago it was typical for pink to be 'masculine' (because reds were more 'virile'), blue to signify 'feminine' (possibly because blue was traditionally the colour of the Virgin Mary). Commented Sep 7, 2012 at 16:10
  • @Jimmy Breck-McKye and blue actually became associated with the Virgin Mary in the middle of the Middle Ages and was not much appreciated before (see the book “Blue: The History of a Color” by Michel Pastoureau).
    – Gala
    Commented Nov 28, 2012 at 8:43

2 Answers 2


I know of no good evidence that certain sexes intrinsically respond 'better' to certain colours. Modern gendered coloured schemes are pretty recent - back in the 19th century, pink was a boy's colour, for instance (because it's red-ish, and the thinking was that red = virile).

What you can do, however, is use colours that match the typical branding of the products your sector is interacting with, so you can communicate that you're providing something similar. Luxury items for women tend to use darker pinks and bronzes; they try to be 'feminine but not girlish'. You can see this in the packaging of beauty products especially.

  • I thought there was a study with regard to the color of blue sleeping pills in Italy. Men associated blue with the national soccer team and it was not calming. Italian women associated it with the Virgin Mary and it was. Some quick googling leads me to source Daniel Moerman's "Meaning, Medicine and the 'Placebo Effect'", but since I do not own the book I can't comment on the quality of the study cited. This lends credence to the sexes having different emotional/subconscious reactions to colors, although it would be almost certainly cultural (nurture over nature)
    – PeterL
    Commented Nov 28, 2012 at 19:53

To some extent you can actually determine which type of people your colors should appeal to. However, in my 15+ years as a color designer, I never heard of any reliable research with regard to gender.

See 'The Muller Formula' to find out how predictable color taste really is.

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