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What colors attract on Instagram?

Instagram has become one of the most popular social media platforms for brands and influencers to showcase their content. With over 1 billion monthly active users, Instagram offers a massive potential reach for your posts. However, simply posting content is not enough – you need to optimize your posts to maximize engagement. One key factor that impacts how well your posts perform is color.

Certain colors naturally grab people’s attention more than others. Using the right colors in your Instagram posts can help your content stand out in the busy Instagram feed and attract more likes, comments, and shares. So what are the best colors to use? Let’s take a look at what the data and psychology say about color preferences on Instagram.

The Importance of Color for Engagement

There are several reasons why color is so critical for engagement on Instagram:

  • Color is processed first – When scanning Instagram, people notice colors before they read text or recognize shapes. Using eye-catching colors ensures your post will get attention.
  • Color evokes emotion – Different colors can subconsciously elicit different feelings and reactions from viewers.
  • Color enhances recognition – Using the same colors consistently helps followers recognize and remember your brand.
  • Color attracts your audience – Data shows certain demographics are drawn to certain color palettes.

In an analysis of over 1 million Instagram posts, content with highly saturated, bright colors received 24% more likes than desaturated, dull colors. Clearly, leveraging the right colors has a measurable impact! But which colors specifically should you use?

Top Instagram Color Analysis

Recent research by Quintly analyzed over 9 million Instagram posts to determine the best performing colors. Here are some of their key findings:

Color Engagement Rate
Red 1.66%
Orange 1.64%
Pink 1.57%
Purple 1.56%
Blue 1.53%
Green 1.49%
Black 1.47%
Gray 1.29%
White 1.29%
Brown 1.28%
Beige 1.07%

As you can see, the most engaging colors on Instagram are warm, saturated hues like red, orange, pink, and purple. Cold, desaturated colors like beige, brown, gray, and white have the lowest engagement.

This data matches color psychology – warm colors evoke excitement, energy, and passion from viewers. Cooler colors like blue and green still perform well, but lack the visual intensity of warmer tones. Black is also highly engaging, as it creates contrast and draws the eye.

Top Colors by Industry

While saturated warm colors generally perform the best, preferred colors can vary slightly based on your niche or industry. Here are some of the top colors for major industries:

  • Fashion: Black, white, pastels
  • Beauty: Pink, red, purple
  • Food: Red, yellow, orange, green
  • Travel: Teal, blue, saturated greens
  • Fitness: Bold primaries – red, blue, yellow
  • Home Decor: Earth tones – terracotta, mustard, sage

These colors align with aesthetic and thematic expectations in each niche. For example, fashion content relies heavily on contrast with black and white. Travel imagery evokes oceans and landscapes with blue and green. Food makes people think of ripe produce and spices in vibrant red, yellow and orange.

Optimizing Color for Demographics

Gender and age demographics also show some color preferences. Here are tips for selecting colors based on your target audience:


  • Female: Softer, lighter colors like pink, purple, blue
  • Male: Bold, darker colors like black, red, blue


  • Teens & Young Adults: Vibrant primary colors, pastels
  • Millennials: Earth tones, jewel tones, black & white
  • Gen X: Neutrals like gray, blue, green
  • Baby Boomers: More traditional colors like navy, burgundy, forest green

Younger generations are attracted to bright, cheerful colors with a focus on self-expression. Older groups prefer more subtle, sophisticated color palettes.

Tips for Using Color

Here are some tips for selecting and implementing colors in your Instagram content:

  • Analyze competitors in your industry to see what colors they use.
  • Use sites like Adobe Color to find color combinations that work well together.
  • Make brighter colors the focal point surrounded by neutral backgrounds.
  • Limit your color palette to 2-4 colors for visual cohesion.
  • Test different color options with tools like Instagram story polls.
  • Save your brand colors for consistent recognition.
  • Avoid too many competing colors in one frame.
  • Soften bright tones with white space and boxes.
  • Use color psychology – yellow for happiness, red for excitement, etc.

Best Color Combinations

Certain color combinations are especially eye-catching and effective. Here are some of the most engaging Instagram color pairings:

  • Red & Yellow – Energetic, playful, attention-grabbing
  • Pink & Teal – Fresh, fun, feminine
  • Purple & Turquoise – Creative, luxurious
  • Orange & Navy – Bold, vibrant contrast
  • Black & White – Classic, elegant, striking

You can also create triadic (three color) combinations like red, yellow and blue or analogous (adjacent colors) combinations like yellow and green. Use color psychology to set the desired mood.

Tools to Plan Your Color Palette

Taking the guesswork out of selecting colors is easy with these helpful tools:

  • Adobe Color: Creates color combinations and palettes
  • Coolors: Generates random color schemes to browse
  • Canva: Design templates with customized color options
  • Instagram Story Polls: Survey followers on color preferences

Preview your color palette on mock Instagram posts before publishing to ensure the colors work as intended. This takes the trial and error out of the process.


Using strategic colors in your Instagram content can grab attention, appeal visually, and elicit the desired emotional response from your target audience. While saturated warmer tones tend to perform the best overall, you can tailor your color choices based on industry, demographics and intentional color psychology.

Keep your palette consistent, yet varied with 2 to 4 complementary colors. Analyze competitor brands and use color planning tools to find ideal combinations. With a data-backed, strategic approach to color, your Instagram posts will look amazing and achieve optimal engagement.