Best colours to use on Instagram: The four colours that get the most likes

Over 100 million photos are uploaded to Instagram every day. Beaches, sunsets, hot dog legs, selfies, all vying for Likes. However, according to new research there is a formula to taking the perfect shot.

It's all in the colour scheme.

A study carried out by the Pantone Color Institute, marketing platform Fohr and Visit Carlsbad has identified the four colours that draw the most engagement from Instagram users. To come to this conclusion they analysed the best-performing posts from 75 different influencers with a following of 50,000 or greater.

The most popular colours are Rose Dawn (a dusty pink), Ethereal Blue (similar to the shade seen in open skies), Ocean Depths (a teal shade resembling the sea) and Harvest Gold (hinting of autumn shades, sandy beaches and sunsets).

Pantone Color Institute four colours that get the most likes on Instagram.

Photo: Pantone

"Colour has always been a part of why we travel; the desire to 'see' a new place is rooted in a mental image we've already conjured." said Grace Murray, Vice President at Fohr. "We are drawn to land and cityscapes that look drastically different to our own."

"Instagram's influence over people's travel decisions is incredibly dominant," she added. "Using a quantitative analysis approach, we discovered that the current trending, appealing, and engaging hues in inspiration travel photos are much more grounded, calming and muted compared to the vibrant hues from a similar study last year."

The research tallies with the findings that visual analytics and marketing platform Curalate came to in their own study last year. After analyzing 8 million Instagram photos they found that mostly blue images receive 24 per cent more likes than ones that were prominently red.

Colour psychology is still in its relative infancy. In Color and Psychological Functioning, researchers Andrew Elliot and Markus Maier said: "Given the prevalence of color, one would expect color psychology to be a well-developed area.

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"Surprisingly, little theoretical or empirical work has been conducted to date on colour's influence on psychological functioning, and the work that has been done has been driven mostly by practical concerns, not scientific rigor."

The study of colour psychology may be a work in progress, however many ancient cultures including the Chinese and Egyptians practised 'chromotherapy': using colours for healing purposes. For example, red would be used to stimulate the mind and body, yellow would stimulate the nerves and purify the body, and blue was used to cure illnesses and help ease pain.

Whatever the reason, there's something in Rose Dawn, Ethereal Blue, Ocean Depths and Harvest Gold that clearly compels Instagram users to double tap. So where in the world can you snap these shades?

Ethereal Blue

Chefchaouen, Morocco

Best colours for Instagram photos

Chefchaouen blue town street in Morocco with beautiful arches and bright blue walls and soft focus

Photo: SHUTTERSTOCK

In some respects Chefchaouen is your typical Moroccan hillside town, with its winding alleyways laced with the aroma of cumin and mint tea. However, there's one thing that makes the town stand out: it is painted in a thousand shades of blue.

In a piece for Traveller, Brian Johnston describes it thus: "Tucked into the Rif Mountains of northern Morocco, Chefchaouen is famous for the intense blue of its houses and the occasional intervening ochre of tiled roofs. The medina (old town) features Andalusian architecture along steep, cobbled streets. The fort on Outa el Hammam square seems almost modest in orange-brown, but becomes lurid at sunset. It's claimed the town's former Jewish population favoured blue, the colour of divinity, but whether it first came to town in the fifteenth century or the 1930s is debated.

Golden Dawn

New England, USA

Best colours for Instagram photos
Autumn colours in New England, USA

Photo: SHUTTERSTOCK

Come autumn, New England is a riot of red, orange and yellow hues as the abundance of trees across these East Coast states change colours and their leaves blanket the ground. Naturally, this makes for a wonderful time to explore the great outdoors here, and so popular is this annual pilgrimage to see the autumn foliage, that it has it's very own verb – to leaf peep.

Traveller writer Brian Johnston names it one of the best places on the planet to be in autumn: "One of the planet's best autumn seasons erupts at its best in early October across the six states of the north-east US, a backdrop for white churches and red barns. The range of colours is unmatched, from yellow (poplars, birch, elms) to red (dogwood, maples) and purple (sumac). Scenic route 169 in Connecticut and the Mohawk Trail in Massachusetts are fine fall driving routes, and the White Mountains of New Hampshire are stunning.

See also: The world's 10 best places to be in autumn

Rose Dawn

Jaipur, India

HAWA MAHAL: This five-storey building, curved so it could dispense with serious foundations (and resemble Hindu god Krishna's crown), was constructed so that the women of the City Palace could watch street processions while remaining in purdah. Never has an instrument of women's repression looked so striking. The pink sandstone fa???§ade of the 'palace of winds' is peppered with hundreds of balconies, niches and windows adorned with ornamental trelliswork, and is especially glorious in early-evening light, when it glows like a giant honeycomb. The interior, though, is best in the morning, when sun shines through its stained glass. See hawa-mahal.com

Hawa Mahal in Jaipur. Photo: Shutterstock.com

There's certainly good reason to visit the so-called Pink City, wrote Brian Johnston in a piece for Traveller.

"Jaipur blushes pink, from the reddish defensive walls of the City Palace to the pale cream-pink of the Moon Palace. The Hawa Mahal or Palace of the Winds is orange sandstone; multiple balconies and ornamental windows glow like a giant honeycomb at sunset. Regular houses and the bazaar are also flushed with pink.

"Pink is the traditional Rajasthani colour of hospitality and comes from Jaipur's sandstone and a wash first applied to the city to welcome Edward Prince of Wales in 1876."

Ocean Depths

?lüdeniz, Turkey

Best colours for Instagram photos
aerial view of Blue Lagoon in Oludeniz, Turkey

Photo: SHUTTERSTOCK

Given that it has adorned Turkish Ministry of Culture and Tourism promotional posters and the covers of legions of guidebooks for at least three decades, no one could argue that the beautiful, pine-fringed and mountain-backed lagoon of ?lüdeniz (Dead Sea) is an unspoilt paradise. Yet despite the rampant development, the lagoon and its environs are still spectacular. There's plenty to do, too, apart from swim in the azure waters of the lagoon or off the more prosaic adjacent beach, or take a boat to the pretty beach at Butterfly Valley.

The Telegraph, London

See also: The 15 most colourful travel destinations on earth

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