Color psychology. Learn the meaning of colors on the website!
Colors have a significant impact on our feelings and decisions every day. This happens outside of conscious awareness, so we don’t even realize how often colors determine our lives.
An interesting example would be wild animals, whose colors can signal danger to other organisms (brightly colored snakes and lizards). The opposite is true for flowers, which attract insects with their appearance.
Make your website also influence users, tempting them to buy and enticing them to continue browsing.
What is color psychology
Color psychology studies how a particular color affects people. This knowledge can be used to create appropriate feelings in the viewer.
For example, using calm colors makes it easier to read long content shared on a website. An energetic color can be a good impetus to take a decisive step. On the other hand, strongly romantic colors will fuel emotions in people using dating sites.
Is the effect of colors universal?
However, using color psychology is not easy. In many cases, it only takes a slight change in hue for the reaction to a given color to change strongly. Besides, there are many factors that influence the perception of a given color.
For this reason, we can talk about colors firmly rooted in our consciousness, often thanks to cultural codes. Symbols, which have been developing in art since its beginnings, have often used a particular color and linked it to a feeling or idea.
Commonly in Europe, the color black signifies mourning. In Africa, the color red has this meaning. This means that if you want to make a version of the portal for the African market, you should avoid red, although in China this color is associated with happiness and in our culture it means passion and love.
This is just an example that shows how complicated color psychology can be. It should be kept in mind, also when creating websites targeted at local audience. What else influences the perception of colors?
How gender affects color perception
According to various studies, men prefer bright colors, while pastel colors work better in women. Additionally, shifting colors towards black works better in the male gender, while in the ladies, it works better towards white.
Joe Hallock conducted a study on preferred colors in men and women. His study also proved that there are huge differences between the sexes in terms of perception of many colors.
However, some points of commonality were also noticeable. In both groups, blue was the most frequently chosen favorite color (although a different shade of it), while orange and brown received the most negative ratings.
This means that the color scheme for sites targeting men, such as soccer or boxing sites, should be designed differently than for women. On the other hand, portals targeted at everyone should be based on several colors, which influence is not strongly dependent on gender.
Individual color preferences
As you can see, colors can be graded. Some of them are more universal, and their effect, often related to culture, is quite stable in a wide audience. Other colors are specific to smaller audiences and are perfect for theme pages.
However, there is also a plethora of colors, the reception of which depends primarily on a person’s private preferences. In such a situation it is difficult to determine what effect a particular color will cause. This is because the psychology of color depends on:
a person’s private experiences (colors evoke certain memories),
Personal preferences related to character,
the influence of the environment in which the person finds himself,
and even the mood of the moment.
The power of influence of a given color depends on how deeply it is stored in our brain. The longer and more often a color affects a person, the stronger will be his reaction to it.
The color blue or the color yellow? How colors affect site visitors
To make sure that the color scheme of the site will have the desired effect, it is best to use colors that are written in the cultural code. They have the greatest power of influence and at the same time it is easier to determine their impact on the website user. The hue of the color is also significant, whether it is cool colors, warm colors, or perhaps cold colors. However, the use of appropriate colors shows the most usefulness. Examples of such colors can be:
- Emotional Red. It is associated with passions and passion. This applies equally to positive emotions (love, warmth) and negative (anger, danger). The use of this color in traffic lights creates a strong association with stopping, thinking, and even avoiding such places. It works well as an exit button. If the user is acting impulsively, they will avoid pressing red buttons (cancel purchase, logout, etc.).
- Pink in Love. Calm romanticism, femininity, softness, delicacy.
- Enthusiastic orange. It is associated with action and enthusiasm. You can use orange buttons as an additional shot of positive energy and a strong incentive to decide to buy (CTA buttons). This is how the color orange is used by Allegro, among others.
- Warm Yellow. On the one hand, it is a warm and cheerful color, on the other hand, it can also evoke anger. Regardless, it attracts the eye quite strongly. Therefore, the color yellow is used to keep the attention of viewers of advertising on a particular point, and also in the production of warning road signs.
- Mild green. The color of nature and grass. The color green is also associated with the American dollar, which brings to mind money, happiness and wealth.
- Calming blue. Will work well when presenting an offer. It will make the user feel more calm when reading about the benefits they will get. Thus, the color blue will make the offer seem safer to him.
- Mystical purple. The color purple is associated with spirituality on the one hand and royal qualities on the other.
- Pure white. Going to communion, all children wear white outfits, associated with their purity. In hospital rooms, on the other hand, white takes on a more physical purity, complete with disinfection. The color is also associated with an unwritten page. Pages based on white will be more organized and clean.
- Dark black. Black has rather bad connotations: mourning, death, evil. It can also signify elegance, the upper classes (black suits) and class. Nevertheless, it is a very neutral color because naturally most printed texts are and have been in black.
The meaning of colors can change. Remember that different shades produce different results in the psychology of color. Sometimes a small change can turn a sense of security into elevated blood pressure. This is influenced by cultural backgrounds and individual aspects. The hue of the color also matters. Cold colors are more harsh, while warm colors evoke a good mood.
How to choose the right colors for a website?
Knowing the meaning of colors is not enough to make a proper color design for a website. Such design must take into account many additional elements.
It is also important that the website creates some individuality, is associated only with your service or product. The color scheme itself should already bring such associations. This is how color branding is created, which enables easy advertising of a given brand through the color scheme itself.
However, for many small entrepreneurs, this is too far horizon and they do not even have such goals. Nonetheless, a customized design that will be distinctly different from other sites increases brand recognition locally as well, and further enhances the appeal of the site. Therefore, choose your brand color before designing your site.
Aesthetics counts above all
When designing your site, keep aesthetics first and foremost in mind. Imposing all the colors just because of their impact, will quickly turn the portal into a brightly colored storm of colors, which will only cause fatigue and escape of the Internet user to quieter portals.
Color psychology should be a subtle complement to a graphic designer’s work. It is used to emphasize the most important buttons. To evoke a few emotions. Gently and subtly. However, the general selection of colors should be based on other principles.
Color wheel – what it is and how to use it
The easiest way to choose the basic colors for a website is to use a color wheel. It is a set of twelve main colors arranged on a circle.
If you want to have three main colors on the page, you just need to choose the main color, and the other two should be chosen according to the triad rule (move 120 degrees, i.e. four colors to the left and right). Operating the selected colors, it is easy to create a harmonious composition that will look impressive.
The principle of complementarity, on the other hand, allows you to choose a dominant and complementary color. They lie exactly opposite each other on the color wheel. Such combinations are characterized by high contrast, but they can also tire the eyes.
These are two basic ways of choosing colors. There are many other ways to use the color wheel, most often based on the ones described above.
What is your target audience?
Before designing your website, you should clearly define your target audience. It will determine which colors can be the best and which ones will immediately prove to be wrong. For example, a site for goths in snow-white colors will not bring the desired traffic.
Important color accents on your website
The psychology of color is to put strong accents. CTA button, like “buy” or “choose” are the best example. It is a decisive moment when the user is thinking about the final decision and it is worth helping him/her with the help of appropriate colors.
Playing with colors too much can dilute their impact. If from the moment the user enters the page every element of the page screams with its color and demands a reaction, the user will feel overwhelmed, so he will run away to another portal.
Use the advantage that color psychology gives you to make that one, most important move and encourage a purchase.
Be sure to remember about RGB colors!
Graphic designers work in two color spaces:
- RGB refers to the colors produced on the screen. It allows you to determine exactly how you want the color to appear on your monitor. It’s a good idea to calibrate your screen to get the best possible representation of all colors.
- CMYK, on the other hand, is important for printing and only used in this aspect. If the page owner uses colors written in CMYK space, it will display differently on each receiver.
To avoid randomness (differences can sometimes be quite significant), it is better to use proper color notation.
Don’t overestimate the impact of colors. Content and aesthetics matter too
Many people who get into the subject of color psychology think they have found the golden key to wealth. However, using the right colors can only put a customer in an extra mood or give them a small push to perform a desired action.
The use of the right colors is the crowning glory of the whole page, the icing on the cake, the decisive detail. But still the most important is the content of the portal and its aesthetics. Colors will never replace the basics of the whole website.