Colour Psychology - How To Choose The Perfect Colour Scheme For Your Website Design
Published on 18th February 2019
Colours can transform how we feel about the world around us. The colour blue has the power to suppress your appetite. A red sign can immediately make you think of danger, while an open white space can have a calming effect.
This is why the colours you use for your website are so important: you can tailor a visual experience for your customers and influence how they feel about your product.
The first step is to identify who it is you are marketing to. Many business owners make the mistake of choosing their personal favourite colours, rather than selecting the colours that their customers will be the most responsive to.
Colour choices can make or break your website; it’s a more important decision than many business owners realise. If a company were to advertise a spa experience on a bright red and yellow website for example, the colour scheme would jar with the image of a spa as a serene, relaxing space.
Similarly, if a website uses a sombre combination of deep blue and black to promote an exciting new children’s toy, this will downplay the anticipation that a manufacturer will be trying to build up.
This is why it is essential for your company’s website to match the image you are trying to portray to your customers.
Understand the psychology behind colours
To successfully tailor your business’s website to customers preferences, here are some factors to consider:
Look at the overarching themes and patterns in your competitors’ colour schemes and see what is working, or not working, for them. You can then either move to fit in with industry convention or try something completely different to set yourself apart.
Also consider whether particular colours are regularly associated with existing organisations, such as political parties or movements. These associations could work in your favour or conflict with the image you are trying to create, so be mindful of other popular colour schemes.
If you’re specifically marketing to either men or women, then gender is another factor to consider when selecting a colour scheme.
Research from Joe Hallock’s Colour Assignments found that men dislike brown and purple, and women dislike brown and orange, while both genders favour blue the most. This information is important to consider to avoid blindly relying on stereotypes, such as exclusively using pink to market to women.
Colour preferences change with age, so if a certain age group dominates your target demographic then it may be helpful to research which colours this group statistically prefers.
Here are some common colour associations, and how these may impact your decisions when it comes to designing a website:
Optimistic, youthful, warm, inviting.
Yellow is associated with heightened emotion, be that excitement or alarm, depending on the circumstances. It is typically used to grab the attention of passers-by in a shop window, so would be useful to complement a call to action button on a web page.
Energy, urgency, excitement, aggression, passion, increased heart rate.
This is an example of how useful colour associations can be. Red is often used in clearance sales, so seeing red on a web page will capture the attention of someone hunting for a discount.
Trust, security, calm, dependable, loyalty, serenity.
Darker shades of blue instil feelings of strength and reliability, which is why it is so often used by banks and security companies.
Peace, health, growth, wealth.
This is the easiest colour for the eyes to process. It is used in stores to create a relaxing environment, and often used to brand healthy products.
Confident, impulsive, urgency.
The playful, large-than-life connotations of orange make it perfect for marketing children’s toys, and it instils a sense of urgency that makes it well suited as a call to action.
‘Living Coral’ is Pantone’s Colour of the Year for 2019, a softer shade of orange blended with pink and gold tones. The Pantone Color Institute analyse each year’s colour trends, paying attention to what has been used in advertising and entertainment.
If this shade is proving to be effective in major marketing campaigns this year, then including this shade or paying close attention to any other colour trends may prove to be beneficial for your website.
Elegant, sophisticated, powerful, sleek.
Often used to market luxury products, black can contrast with brighter colours for a more dramatic looking website.
Imaginative, decadent, soothing, calming, wise.
Often used in beauty and anti-aging products, purple also has an air of luxury with its long-term association with royalty and wealth.
Simplicity, cleanliness, balance, freedom, spaciousness.
Often overlooked as mere background colour, open white spaces on a website can create a minimalist, simplistic style and works with almost any combination of colours.
The perfect pair:
Once you’ve chosen your primary colour, now you need to determine which colours will complement it the best. Here are some suggestions for how to go about doing this:
The 60-30-10 rule will ensure you have the perfect balance of colours on your webpage. 60% of your page should be the dominant colour, 30% should be a secondary colour, and 10% should be an accent colour.
The colour wheel can spark some ideas: choose either complementary colours which are next to each other or contrasting colours which are directly opposite each other.
A light-coloured website with darker or more colourful images in the foreground can create an effective contrast, another element to the colour scheme that can make a world of difference.
Using any more than four colours can overcomplicate a page, so it can help to have plenty of white, neutral space on your page to prevent it from looking cluttered. It may also be beneficial to draft three or four different colour schemes and compare them side by side, to determine which combination will work the best.
A distinct colour scheme is a key part of brand identity, helping you to establish a trustworthy public image that customers will easily recognise and feel comfortable with. If you’re looking for a professionally designed website that will conform brilliantly to all the key principles of colour theory, contact the team at it’seeze today to learn more about our affordable web design services.
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