Psychology of Colors in Web Design

Imagine a life without colors. It would be so dull and boring. Scientific research suggests that our perception of color is controlled much more by our brains than by our eyes. Colors are powerful. It influences not only how people feel, but what they do. 

First impressions do matter. The first impression a user gets from your website depends on many factors, such as the structure, the spacing, the fonts and, of course, the colors and color combinations you display on your page.

Color Psychology

Colors are one of the most impactful ways that we perceive the world. Because of that, it’s not surprising that colors are an essential consideration when it comes to marketing as well.

With the help of color psychology, you can form strong connections in your prospect’s mind from the moment they first interact with your brand.

Color psychology is the study of hues as a determinant of human behaviour. Color influences perceptions that are not obvious, such as the taste of food. Colors have qualities that can cause certain emotions in people. Which is why colors play a crucial role in graphic designing.

Other color associations are cultural specific and determined by our cultural background. Therefore, choosing the color theme for a site can become a crucial factor that ultimately decides how the users respond.

The Color Wheel

A color wheel is an abstract illustrative organization of colorhues around a circle, which shows the relationships between primary colors, secondary colors, tertiary colors etc.

Color wheel is a very helpful in aligning your website with the color psychology principles. You can mix and match various colors, analyzing their behavioral response, and make sure that there are no color clashes that could cause confusion or irritation among your site’s visitors.There are powerful color wheel picker tools that allow blending of various colors, experimenting with combinations, and finding the perfect balance of colors for your website.

However, before using color combinations you should know what each of these colors signify. Here is the interpretation of some basic colors.

The Main Colors of the Web

Primary Colors: blue, red, yellow
Secondary Colors: green, orange, purple

White

  • Promotes: cleanliness, virtue, simplicity, safety, fairness and equality.
  • Associated with doctors, nurses, and dentists which makes it great for websites related to the health care industry
  • It can also work for high-tech and science sites. When paired with black, gold, silver, or grey, white can also be great for luxury goods.

Black

  • Promotes:  power, sleekness, stability, strength, formality, intelligence and edginess.
  • It can also symbolise death, mystery, evil, and rebellion.
  • Black can be great for luxury goods, fashion, marketing, and cosmetics.
  • Too much black can quickly become overwhelming. It can also feel menacing or evil, making people feel uncomfortable or even afraid.

Red

  • Promotes: excitement, love, joy, vitality, energy and passion.
  • Red is the color of choice to emphasize promotional messages. When you have a great deal that’s only available for a limited time, red is perfect for making the reader feel the urgency on a visceral level.
  • It also has some potentially negative associations including war, violence, fire, anger, and danger.
  • Not suitable for luxury goods, nature-related content, or professional websites/services.

Blue

  • Promotes: masculinity, competence, quality, calmness, dependability, steadfastness, wisdom, loyalty, strength, productivity, trust, and security.
  • Good for health care, dental, high-tech, medical, science, government, legal, and utilities.
  • Darker shades of blue stimulate the mind into thinking more clearly.
  • These darker shades can also create feelings of depression and coldness for some people.
  • Not suitable for the food industry.

Green

  • Promotes: growth, health, nature, wealth, money, calmness, masculinity, generosity, fertility, envy, good luck, peace, harmony, support, energy and relaxation.
  • It has a relaxing effect.
  • It is the easiest color for the eye to process. Use it to create a relaxing, calming effect or to represent new beginnings, nature, or wealth.
  • It’s less appropriate for luxury goods or tech.

Orange

  • Promotes: fun, happiness, energy, warmth, ambition, excitement and enthusiasm.
  • Draws attention to your call to action (subscribe, buy, sign up), clearance, sales, or other content you want to make sure people notice.
  • Good for ecommerce, automotive, technology, entertainment, food, and childcare.
  • It’s a dominant color and can become overwhelming when used without restraint in your web design.

Yellow

  • Promotes: competence, happiness, cheer, optimism, youth and warmth.
  • Stimulates the nervous system, creates a sense of optimism and grabs attention.
  • Can be great for drawing attention to call to action text and buttons.
  • It can strain the eyes and can quickly become overpowering.
  • Too much yellow or the wrong hue can feel cheap or spammy.

Gray

  • Promotes: professionalism, sophistication, practicality, timelessness, neutrality, formality, and melancholy.
  • It’s a great choice for professional websites, luxury goods, or to create a balancing, calming effect.
  • Certain shades of grey may feel dull and detached, or even cold. Grey is not ideal for grabbing people’s attention.

Color Harmony

  1. Complementary color schemes use two opposite colors on the color wheel which creates a powerful contrast. Web designers use this scheme to set the background of a website while putting in evidence the content
  2. Monochromatic color schemes use three different values of the same color
  3. Analogous color schemes use three adjacent colors on the color wheel. This scheme is often found in nature and it’s pleasant to the eye because they match well therefore creating comfortable designs
  4. Split complement uses a color and the two adjacent tertiary colors of its complement. This color scheme has a high degree of contrast but not as extreme as the complementary. It creates a sense of harmony
  5. Triadic color schemes use three evenly spaced colors on the color wheel. This color scheme is considered to be the best because you could use one color for the background while the remaining two can be used to highlight the content and other important areas
  6. Tetradic color schemes use two complementary pairs. This color scheme works at its best when you choose one color to be the dominant one. When using this scheme, pay attention at the balance between your warm and cool colors

Where Should You Use Colors?

The key areas where you must be careful about colors are:

  • Pop-ups
  • Borders
  • Headlines
  • Background hues
  • Primary web banners or hero graphics
  • Buttons, especially call for action

In conclusion, keeping in mind the concept of color psychology and how it associates with the content of your product is important for successful design of your website. You can create your own combinations using the color wheel and come up with the best design for your website. Hope this article helped in making this process smooth and easy.

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