Color psychology for websites

How Colors Affects and Help your Website

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At this point, it’s common knowledge that color affects our perspective on what we see around us. We recognize familiar brand names and logos through their colors, we associate stores with their color design, and artists and musicians even have their own signature colors. From childhood, we all have a favorite color picked out and we tend to gravitate towards those colors when selecting an item that we like, and we lean towards color designs that feel as though they specifically appeal to our aesthetics.

How Colors Affects and Help your Website

There is a true psychology in color in that even interior designers carefully choose the type of colors to be painted within the buildings for the benefit of the people working within it. In the same way that most corporate areas tend to go for a soothing beige and taupe on their walls to keep their employees calm and working hard in enclosed conditions, creative companies like Google and other advertising startups choose bright and fun colors to foster creative juices.

When choosing the colors for a baby’s room and a bathroom, there is careful thought going into how you feel when you walk into them. In much the same way, colors must carefully be chosen for one’s website in order to give the customer a truly branded experience as a company prefers.

When designing a website, most designers would ask: “What color scheme did you want for your site?” It will all depend on the company or the brand as to how they’d like to be presented. So how do you choose the colors needed for your website?

Know what you’re selling and who you’re selling to

We associate certain colors with certain demographics almost immediately. If, for example you have a store catering to infant care or supplies, pastels are always the first thought to come to mind. If you’re aiming for a female user base, a generous amount of pinks or purples and other similarly feminine colors are often chosen. Tech sites tend to gravitate towards a slate or silver, evoking the metals of technology.

Remember that colors will tend to also have different meanings depending on the country. White, for example, is a very popular sort of color in fashion houses in the Western Countries, as color stands out very well against the white themes and backdrops. However, white tends to be more of a mournful color in East Asian countries such as China and Japan, which hold the color white as mostly used for instances of death and mourning. Yellow tends to be a repellent color to most Westerners (notice how most “hazard” signs tend to be black and yellow, the universal danger color), while again, in Asia, it tends to be more celebratory.

You also need to be aware of the average age of the expected visitors to your site. Understandably, the younger generations enjoy more saturated, bright colors. These colors can be anything that seem trendy and follow on the general style of popular culture as it changes from day to day. Older generations tend to go for more muted, calming shades, and would remain consistently that way as a sign of stability. Furthermore, young people are more receptive to the bright colors and can clearly distinguish features of a site given their age, but older generations would require more appropriate color contrasts that reinforce the readability of the website.

Prioritize the “user experience”

What kind of emotions do you want your website or your brand to reflect? What kind of user experience do you truly want your customers to have? Believe it or not, color has a very big impact on the user experience as colors evoke particular emotions for everyone, and often on a universal level.

Red is a color for passion, activity, and aggressive movement. This is why many brands feature this color in their logo. As the most striking of the colors, it immediately demands attention and makes sure that people pay attention. Sites using red often use it in order to truly capture and maintain the audience’s attention. Youtube and Netflix, for example boasts of red themes and a red logo, as they want their customers to keep paying attention to their videos and make sure they stay on their pages for as long as possible.

Blue is a color for calmness, security, and tranquility. Blue puts people at ease and allows them to proceed at a more leisurely pace. This is why most social media sites make use of a blue theme. Social media is where people come to interact and stay in for long durations in their online lives. They’re urged to post about their own lives and read about stories from other people. Social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, and tumblr, as well as blogsites like Livejournal, make use of the calming blue scheme to essentially “trap” their users within the website so they would browse and see entertaining posts at a leisurely pace for hours on end in respite from daily life.

Orange is an impulsive shade. It’s exciting and intriguing, and generally boost people’s interest and sense of need. This is why shopping sites take this color as their theme. Subscribe buttons, buy buttons, add to cart buttons—they’re all orange to spur a user into action. Famous sites that use orange are Etsy, Home Depot, and Shoppee. Orange is not often used as an entire color scheme for a site, given that it may have conflicting reactions, but it consistently calls to attention, which is why it features as an urgent yet not aggressive call-to-action color.

All in all, the choice of what color to brand your company website in remains completely dependent on what image the company would like to project. The website is the company’s online façade, and the colors chosen for it will not just provide a first impression but also remain as a cornerstone of the user experience within it. Remember to put the target customer demographic and the user experience at the forefront of considerations.

Now it’s time to put your thinking cap on. What message do you want to tell your users when they browse your website?

Peter A. Liefer II
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Peter A. Liefer II

CEO at PrimeView
Peter is the CEO of PrimeView, the leading Arizona Web Design Firm. A veteran in the Web Development and eCommerce industry, he is focused on delivering data-driven results. Learn more about Peter and PrimeView on our Profile. You may also reach us here.
Peter A. Liefer II
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