The psychological effect of color cannot be denied, it is part of our conditioning especially when it comes to how we behave and interact with the environment we are in. Colors invoke emotions, can change moods and experience and persuade. Product giants such as Mcdonalds, Pepsi, Coca Cola, Apple all spend big bucks on color theory specialists to research the colors they use. Color influences people on a deeper level and a website is no different.
It is by research and design that the branded colors of any Mcdonalds chain are Red, Yellow and white. The colors are specifically chosen to impact your perception and interaction inside their restaurants; red to invoke the feeling of excitement and speed, white for cleanliness, and yellow for happiness and optimism.
Color choice on your website can also directly influence conversions and the total user experience and understanding the basics of color psychology applied to web design can help you enhance the success of your online business. While Choosing the perfect color scheme for your website seems to be a personal choice and without a doubt requires a degree of creativity, it is even more important that you understand what color conveys to your website visitors and how it can affect a conversion.
What is the Psychology of Color?
Color psychology is the theory and science of how color affects human behavior part of the field of behavioral psychology. Color is known to have a physiological effect on people but the true impact of color is debatable and you should use this post as a guide or a theory that is based on some scientifical fact rather than true science.
There are however important facts of color theory that are undeniable. Credible statistical data states that it takes approximately 90 seconds for a website visitor to form an opinion about a product, service or brand. And, 62-90% of that interaction is determined by the color of the product alone. Again I cannot stress enough this has more to do with personal preferences than scientific fact.
What Are The Physiological Aspects Of Color?
Color and light and all its spectrums are not only used by major corporations but also in treatments or therapy. When our eyes perceive colors, it is transmitted to a region of the brain known as the hypothalamus, which sends messages to the pituitary gland and then to the thyroid glands. The thyroid glands are responsible for the release of hormones such as endorphins in the flight or flight response. These hormones directly affect emotion, state of mind, and behavior.
What Do These Website Colors Say About Your Brand or Business?
Tech and High Tech (Blue & Black)
If your business is in High-tech use color shades of blue and black or tints or blue mixed with black.
Blue is a color that is associated with trust, reliability, and security. Use shades of blue and black on your website in combination to evoke these emotions.
Warm and Fun (Yellow & Orange)
If your website is all about games and fun use Yellow to express your true inner child.
Using the combination of yellow and oranges to express low cost affordability, if you are selling items in this niche it’s a great color combo.
Excitement and Speed (Red)
Using red on a website is great for a call to action or to express quick service, you can use shades of red to also invoke excitement.
Luxury and Exclusivity High End (Shades Of Black)
Using black as the dominant color on your website will convey luxury and high end services or products, its also great for minimal website design and for readability against a white background.
Conservative and Reliable Trustworthy (Blue)
If trust is the emotion you want to convey most on your website use blue and shades of blue.
If your site is conservative, such as a medical site or deals with sensitive information using blue connotates security.
Harmony and Growth (Green)
Positive Messaging, Peace, and Stability
Green takes up most of the visual spectrum of the eye and can be tricky, darker shades of green are seen as more masculine, calm and traditional such as forest greens. Lighter colors such as lime as seen as refreshing and high energy. So if you’re looking for the grass is greener or positive message use greens on your website in all its glory!
What Colors Do The Big Brand Names Use?
Where To Implement Color Psychology On Your Website:
Lets put things into context. While color is universal, how to use color on your website can be influenced by many things, here I am specifically discussing the basics website elements. This includes the overall color scheme which encompassing font colors, background colors, hero images, navigation menus and the drops down backgrounds, headline titles and subtitles, sidebars, buttons and finally calls to actions. I use the research behind colors in my WordPress Design Services as well in my WordPress Ecommerce Optimization & Design when working with clients and here is where I implement color psychology into website design.
Color Palette & Overall Color Scheme-Your color choice should express your brand best and how it is represented with competitors if you’re looking to personalize your site a bit change up the colors by using accent colors and different shades or tones of the main color choice.
Typography-The best color for fonts is always black as the contrast on a white background it increases readability. You can also use shades of black such as graphite colors as well.
Menus and Sidebars- Your menus and Sidebars should always contrast the website or header background and be clear and visible, you dont ever want people to squint or get lost within your site.
Headlines and Subtitles- Heres where you can get a bit creative with your colors and envoke emotionality and express your personality. You can even use two different colors in a headline or one in a headline and one in a subtitle if you wish. Keep in mind what colors express what and be consistent on your website.
Website Backgrounds- Website backgrounds should always be simple. If you are going with a dark color scheme and contrasting fonts such as white keep the backgrounds simple and remember readability trumps all.
Hero Images- Once you have a good idea of the main focal image or hero image, use one of the great tools below to get some inspiration on the colors you will be using for that page and where.
Call To Actions-(Contact Us, Add To Cart, Download a Free Copy, Directions, Call No): Often in conversion optimization, the simple change of the color of a button or heading can impact conversions, professionally we call this A/B testing and most SEO professionals and Website designers practice, experiment with color for optimal website conversions. Keep in mind these are just generalizations what works for your business might not work for another, but it’s important that your chosen color scheme reflects the personality of your business and how the competitors use the same color palette so people identify your website as the genre and niche they are familiar with most.
Some Great Tools For Color On Websites
Your color choice should express your brand best and how it is represented in the competition if you’re looking to personalize your site a bit change up the colors by using accent colors and different shades or tones of the main color choice and need some great tools or inspiration here you go.
*Eyedropper for chrome a free extension. I use this personally to discover what colors competitors are using or to pull colors off a photo from the web. Once you activate the eyedropper simply hover over the element that has the color you want, click and use the Hex number to colorize the element or design you want: http://eye-dropper.kepi.cz
*Color Hunter is a great website for inspiration on color palettes. I use this in all my website designs to establish the main color I will use as well as accent colors. http://www.colorhunter.com
The Wrap Up And Final Thoughts
Understanding how color can impact a website visitor can not only bring your website design to its full potential it can also be used in experimentation with poorly converting pages and calls to actions. Big Ecommerce companies spend plenty of resources on the psychology of color on their websites and logos such as Amazon. They often go as far as studying how and where to position the add to cart buttons to improve conversions!
With a little knowledge of the theory of color and how it applies to conversions and website design, you can use the same resources they do to improve conversions, clicks, and sales on any website. Be creative, Be Purposeful the internet is a wonderful and colorful place where you can express yourself freely and experiment to success and use all the amazing colors, emotions and expressions under the rainbow.