Colors That Appeal to Men

Brushes and oil paint forming a messy colour wheel
Dimitri Otis / Getty Images

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, websites, and interior designs targeting men. Color studies done over the years indicate that the favorite colors of men and women differ. Some of these differences in favorite colors may be attributed to the cultural use of color and conditioning.

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 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. 

Men Like the Color Green

A distant second to blue as a favorite color of men, the color green is cool and restful, and it 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.

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.

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 in studies. Men are also 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 are considered insulting to men. However, pink on a woman can bring out a man's protective instincts, so pink isn't all bad.

Choosing Colors for Men

Should everything aimed at men be blue? Probably not, although blue is a safe choice. Many more factors are involved in choosing colors. Gender is simply one consideration.

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 (two 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 the least favorite colors (all genders), dislike of brown and purple decreases with age while dislike of orange increases with age.