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Color Preference by Gender: Blue for Boys, Pink for Girls?


Curious about color preference by gender?

Studies have been done, and the results are interesting!

Some long-held beliefs might be true.

At least one is based on science!

Do these match up with your favorite color?

Read on!

image flows from bright pink to blue and says color preference by gender.

Data on Color Preference by Gender

There are several studies on this topic. We’ll start with the color insights from Live Science.

Blue is the favorite color of 42% of males and 29% of females. It’s the overwhelming preference for both genders!

Next is green. 25% of males and 19% of females say their favorite color is green.

Purple is the favorite of 12% of men and 27% of women.

Red is the favorite color of 8% of males and 9% of females. Almost a tie.

Also a close favorite color of both genders is yellow, with 5% of men and 6% of women preferring it over all other hues.

Orange is the favorite color of 7% of men and only 3% of women.

Dead last of the colors in this survey is pink. Only 1% of males and 7% of females chose it.

It’s surprising to me that purple is cited as the third most-liked color for both males and females. But they didn’t include brown, white, gray and black in this study.

I suspect a lot of men prefer those neutrals over purple!

Keep reading though, because men see one “masculine” color as purple that I’d never call purple.

pie charts of men's favorite colors and women's favorite colors.pie charts of men's favorite colors and women's favorite colors.

Women’s Favorite Colors

Let’s delve deeper into the topic of favorite colors by (binary) gender. I don’t know of any studies that go beyond male / female, sorry.

This data was taken from a color study by Joe Hallock, who polled people from 22 countries around the world.

Among women, the favorite colors were:

Blue 35%

Purple 23%

Green 14%

Red 9%

Black 6%

Orange 5%

Yellow 3%

Brown 3%

Gray 1%

White 1%

women's favorite colors pinnable pie chart.women's favorite colors pinnable pie chart.

Men’s Favorite Colors

And in the same order as the women’s, we see a much different breakdown for men’s favorite colors.

Blue 57%

Purple 0%

Green 14%

Red 7%

Black 9%

Orange 5%

Yellow 1%

Brown 2%

Gray 3%

White 2%

Quite different results from the study above, where 12% of men said purple was their favorite color. I will guess that the Live Science study focused on one or limited countries where purple is more popular.

And yet…

men's favorite colors pinnable pie's favorite colors pinnable pie chart.

Pastels for Girls, Brights for Boys

If that sounds sexist, it’s not exactly. It’s based on what men and women said they preferred in this study.

The results showed that women strongly prefer soft tints of colors (such as pink) whereas men prefer bright, pure tones (such as ruby red) or shades (such as burgundy).

A tint is a color plus white. A shade is a color plus black.

So although red is shown as a favorite color for both men and women, the actual reds they like are very different.

Pink wasn’t called out as a separate color in this study, as it was considered a form of red – pale red.

Women See More Colors

It’s also known that women can see more differentiations in color than men.

It’s science!

Color vision depends on three types of cones, two of which are carried on the X-chromosome.

L-cones that are more sensitive to the longer wavelengths of light; and S-cones, to shorter wavelengths. The third cones, M-cones, are sensitive to middle wavelengths.

Remember basic science: women have two X chromosomes, while men have only one.

Thus, men’s brains require slightly longer wavelengths of light to experience the same colors.

This may be why men prefer colors with short wavelengths, like darker shades of blue and green, or they prefer shades without any wavelengths at all, like white, black, and gray.

The fascinating study for this difference was found here. Sorry, the data is gibberish now.

Learn unique color names for hundreds of tints, tones, shades, and hues.

Chart of 28 different colors and the names women and men call them. Women see more nuances of color than men.Chart of 28 different colors and the names women and men call them. Women see more nuances of color than men.

Least Favorite Colors by Gender

Regardless of gender, brown, orange, and yellow are most people’s least favorite colors.

I believe this is at least partly due to their meanings. Orange means danger and yellow means caution.

And I suppose brown seems dingy and dirty.

Of course, some people love them!

Women’s least favorite colors

Even though 20% of women hate brown most, and 17% hate gray most, women still love to see the UPS truck or Amazon Prime stop at our house!

I’m a believer that all colors are wonderful in the right context or combination.

Here are the details on least favorite colors for females:

Orange 33%

Brown 20%

Gray 17%

Yellow 13%

Men’s least favorite colors

And least favorite colors for males:

Brown 27%

Orange 22%

Purple 22%

Yellow 13%

Color Preference Clarified

I found some of these facts fascinating! Did you?

There’s a lot more to color preference, including your culture, and even where you live.

People who live in sunny climates tend to prefer brights. Foggy or muted colors are preferred where the weather tends to be overcast.

And of course, what colors mean plays a big part.

So what about you? What’s your favorite color?

Let us know in a comment!

charts of favorite colors of men vs women.charts of favorite colors of men vs women.

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