The Psychology of Color and Website Design  

The Psychology of Color and Website Design  

The Psychology of Color and Website Design  

What color is your website?

It sounds like a strange question; for most companies, color choice is a combination of logo style and designer preference. However, this isn’t always the best path forward. While the colors you use on your site can certainly tie into your brand, you need to be sure the hues you choose are sending a message that resonates.

Why Does Color Matter?

The color scheme you choose for your website can set the mood for your entire operation. For example, pale pinks and purples with bubble font can create a youthful or even childish vibe, while a gray background with austere black text can be seen as cold or aloof. There’s obviously a huge range between these two scenarios, but the colors you use can send a strong message about who you are and what you represent.

But that’s not all color can indicate about your site. When determining colors for your website, more than your logo should factor into the equation. Here’s what your color scheme can do for your site visitors.

Enhance Brand Recognition

Coca-Cola has the iconic white script, and a partially red and white website to match. Target’s website is similar, embracing the bullseye logo and a matching header. The colors you choose don’t have to be identical to your logo – Coca-Cola uses a lot of gray, for example – but they should tie in to the brand you present to the world.

Influence Feelings

Color can play a drastic role in initial perceptions of a site, directly influencing the ways in which visitors feel upon encountering a page. In fact, 90% of initial perceptions are actually based on color alone. Some of these first impressions are driven by preference, but the psychology of color also plays a role. To this end, if your site uses a lot of bright colors, like blues and reds, it’s likely to be perceived as more lively and creative than a brown and beige color scheme. For example, studies have found that white can invoke feelings of fairness and equality, while red inspires action.

Impact Navigation and Understanding

Color is more than a way to add a little emotion; it can also provide direction as users navigate sites. For example, brighter colors often draw a viewer’s eye, so it’s a logical choice for headings and important information. Sticking to a single color for your entire page – or too many different colors – can complicate this; when viewers don’t know where to look, they’ll struggle to properly navigate your pages. Sticking to a few key hues for emphasis or choosing a complementary color palette can go a long way in ensuring your site is user-friendly.

Choosing a Color Scheme for Your Site

Color is not a one-size-fits-all solution, and the look you choose will likely be different than your competitors in the market. When creating color schemes:

  • Decide between complementary, analogous, and monochrome color palettes; analogous palettes utilize largely unrelated colors with similar underlying hues for a high-energy look, complementary palettes employ related colors in similar families, and monochrome palettes use one color in multiple shades.
  • Choose three main colors to avoid an overwhelming experience – primary, contrast, and accent. Many designers abide by the 60-30-10 rule, utilizing the primary color for 60% of the site, the contrast color for 30%, and the accent for 10%.
  • Carefully consider the brand reputation you already maintain, and how color can affect it. For example, a brand like Disney or LEGO can use bright and inviting colors, while a business entity like PricewaterhouseCoopers or Ernst & Young is better served by something a little more subdued.

There’s no right or wrong answer to choosing colors, but no matter what you decide, it should be accompanied by study and deliberation. With the ability to affect everything from site navigation to visitor perception, your final choice can be critically important.

Want to make sure your colors hit the mark? RivalMind can help, working with you to test different looks and feels until you find the right fit. Contact us today to learn more!

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