[The Portfolio] New Era Portfolio Blog

Designing for the Sexes: Color Preferences

Posted by Austin Blonde on Mar 8, 2016 11:00:00 AM


It might be surprising to learn that men and women have a lot in common when it comes to color preferences. It seems over time and perhaps due to social norms, we have developed this notion that certain colors are automatically associated with one gender or the other. While this may seem unfair to some, many color studies conducted over the last 80 years have enabled us to draw generalizations about what colors females prefer versus males, and even gender-neutral possibilities.Thanks to a report by Joe Hallock, we can better understand just how similar the sexes color preferences tend to be.


  • Both women and men strongly prefer blue as one of their top favorite colors.
  • Among the favorite colors, green decreases in preference as both genders age.
  • Among the least favorite colors, orange is certainly one of the least preferred and the dislike actually increases as both genders age.


  • Top three favorite colors: blue, purple, green
  • Top three least favorite colors: orange, brown, gray


  • Top three favorite colors: blue, green, black
  • Top three least favorite colors: brown, orange, purple


While men prefer blue more than women do, it is a favorite color of both men and women of all ages. Blue can be strong and steadfast or light and friendly. The cool, calming effect of blue (think sky and water) makes time pass more quickly and aids sleep. Blue stands for distance, the divine, the spiritual and fidelity. Long considered a corporate color, blue – especially dark blue – is associated with authority, intelligence, knowledge, depth and seriousness.


A favorite color of men and women, the color green is cool and restful, and signifies growth, renewal, health, the environment, balance and stability. Women favor cool, soft shades of green while men prefer clearer, brighter shades.


Purple is chosen almost exclusively by women as a favorite, and is strongly disliked by men. Although interestingly, men stated that purple most represented bravery and courage as a personality characteristic. Traditionally associated with nobility and power, purple is also spiritual, romantic and mysterious. Because purple is derived from mixing a strong warm color (red) with a strong cool color (blue), it has both warm and cool properties. A purple room can boost a child's imagination or an artist's creativity, but too much purple can result in moodiness or depression. 


Considered the absence of color, black is conservative and goes well with almost any color except the very dark hues. It also has conflicting connotations. It can be serious, formal and elegant on one hand; mysterious, sexy and rebellious on the other; and powerful, evil and aggressive on yet another.

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