Colour Matters in Web Design

Brightly coloured lizard

Whatever the reason for putting up a website, the end goal is always conversion, when visitors respond to a call-to-action placed there. Conversion could come in the form of a subscription, or even the simple act of filling out a contact form. The ultimate conversion, however, has always been sales, when visitors fork out money to buy a product or service a website has on offer.

Conversions are the single biggest indicator of a website’s success, and the colors used in web design play a crucial role in bringing them in. At least that’s what color psychology is telling us.

Choosing the right colour palette for your branding and website design could be key to the success of your business.  Colour creates emotion and feeling, people really connect with certain colours in certain situations.

Choosing colours that are right for your business will be essential to connecting with your audience. Color is a powerful tool and can be used to guide your audience through your website and get them to click when it matters.

If you had your branding done professionally the subject of emotive colour should already have been taken into consideration and this can be taken through into your web design.

Whatever the situation and no matter how stunning your web design, if you have not got the basics right then it could all be in vain.

Colour Psychology – What Colours Represent

You may not notice it, but we actually respond to certain colors a certain way, and that’s what color psychology is all about. A legitimate sub-field of behavioral psychology, color psychology studies how colors affect human behavior. It associates certain values, emotions, and reactions with colors, and it is these associations that marketers and designers—web designers included—everywhere are trying to exploit to their advantage.
Let’s take a look at the human responses, behaviors, or attitudes that color psychology has assigned to certain colors.

Emotional Triggers of Colours
Source: Conversioner

Red

Associated with energy, war, danger, strength, power, determination as well as passion, desire, and love. Enhances human metabolism, increases respiration rate, and raises blood pressure. It attracts attention more than any other color, at times signifying danger.  Often used in food marketing.

Orange

Combines the energy of red and the happiness of yellow. Associated with joy, sunshine, and the tropics. Represents enthusiasm, fascination, happiness, creativity, determination, attraction, success, encouragement, and stimulation.  Often used to promote wellbeing, possibly as orange is representative of Vitamin C.

Yellow

Associated with joy, happiness, intellect, enthusiasm and energy. Produces a warming effect and arouses happiness and cheerfulness, stimulates mental activity, and generates muscle energy. Bright, pure yellow is an attention getter, which is the reason taxicabs in USA are painted this color. Yellow also indicates honor and loyalty.

Green

The color of nature, it symbolizes growth, harmony, freshness, and fertility. It has a strong emotional correspondence with safety and healing. Dark green is also commonly associated with money, suggesting stability and endurance. It also symbolizes trust, loyalty, wisdom, confidence, intelligence, faith, truth, and heaven as it is considered beneficial to the mind and body. It slows human metabolism and brings tranquility and calmness. Used to symbolize piety and sincerity.

Blue

Blue is the color of the calm sea and the clear sky, both of which are linked to inner serenity, calm, peace and clarity. Blue slows heart rate and breathing, so it can be a good color to aid in meditation or relaxation. Blue is associated with intelligence and it has been proven that different shades of blue can improve concentration, stimulate thinking, provide mental clarity and improve productivity. This is a good color for study and work as it offers relaxation and stimulation at the same time, which could be why so many corporate businesses choose it.

Purple

Combines the stability of blue and the energy of red. Associated with royalty. It symbolizes power, nobility, luxury, and ambition and conveys wealth and extravagance. Purple is more widely assoicated with wisdom, dignity, independence, creativity, mystery, and magic.

Associated with creativity, purple is the colour of my branding but was a natural choice without any knowledge of its meaning. I think very often we know in our subconcious what colours will work best for us.

White

Associated with light, goodness, innocence, purity, faith and virginity, plus safety and cleanliness. Considered to be the color of perfection, it has a positive connotation. It represents a successful beginning.  Used often in pure health website design.

Black

Associated with power, elegance, formality, death, evil, and mystery – a mysterious color associated with fear and the unknown (black holes). Often has a negative connotation (blacklist, black humor, ‘black death’) but equally it denotes strength and authority; it is considered to be a very formal, elegant, and prestigious color.  Many people love black and white in web design because is prestigious and therefore good to build trust.

Source: Color Psychology

Our reactions to color differ

It’s true that people react to certain colors in different ways. After all, our responses to color are often influenced by our upbringing, experiences, and inherent preferences or biases.

Still, color psychology’s associations between colors and human behavior are generally on the money, and it wouldn’t hurt to use color in web design in accordance with their behavioral associations. Color is a powerful design tool, and using them properly in web design may increase your conversions just the same.

Colour Usage in Web Design

Web designers worth their salt don’t just pick any color they want for their websites. What they do is study the target market first and consider factors such as age, gender, and culture. Doing so would give you an idea which color your target market would respond to best, and only then should you decide which colors to use.

Is the website for selling toys and other things children would love to have? Yellow, green, or any other vibrant color would be a good choice. Are your products or services aimed at a specific gender? Then you should find out what colors either gender would prefer.

There are some important messages that we need to portray to our visitors.  Particularly when it comes to things in our websites like calls to action, for example ‘call us now’,  ‘buy now’ and so on.  Red and Yellow are particularly affective attention grabbers for these purposes.

We need to make sure we use at least one dark colour in contrast for fonts and highlighted areas.  A strong colour close to black should always be used for readability against a light background. With a dark background white can be a bit stark so a light grey or light blue can often work better.

Backgrounds matter, light colours for backgrounds will portray clarity and cleanliness but also we need to think about the business.  Beautiful colour photography will look wonderful against the dark contrast so consideration needs to be given to what is actually on the page.  As a general rule of thumb white or light backgrounds work best.

In Summary

In nearly all cases the colour of the branding will lead the design and the elements will all need to work together to provide coherence and built trust for your visitors.

Infographic: Boost Conversions With Strategic Use of Color in Web Design

The Psychology of Color on Website Design

Recommended Reading

10 Reasons to hire a professional web designer and developer
Why web designers need so much information

For Interest – Pantone Colour of the Year

If you are looking at new branding here is the latest colour of the year. It might resonate with you.

The PANTONE® name is known worldwide as the standard language for color communication from designer to manufacturer to retailer to customer.

PANTONE COLOUR OF THE YEAR 2019
Living Coral

An animating and life-affirming coral hue with a golden undertone that energizes and enlivens with a softer edge

Pantone colour of the year, Living Coral

Source: pantone.com

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