Choosing the right website colors is not an easy process. If you choose the wrong colors, you run the risk of not only people abandoning your site but also making your site looking tacky or uninspiring. Even though it’s not easy, it certainly isn’t something that’s impossible to do.
When you set out to choose the best colors for your website, you need to get clear on the brand you’re trying to establish. In other words, you need to know what you’re offering as well as who you’re offering to and how you want them to perceive your website or brand.
Without knowing this, you’ll have a much harder time deciding on what colors you should use for your website. Keep in mind that your final choice in colors will not be the same if you’re targeting a male audience as it would be if your target audience is teenagers, women, or people who have recently retired.
Likewise, you should also be aware that different colors have different meanings. To make the decision even harder, color meanings are quite different from one culture to another.
In this post, I’ll share tips on choosing the best colors for your website as well as explain the basics of color psychology and color meanings.
Color psychology refers to the science that explains the impact of color on human behavior. It explains why we choose one brand over another or why the rooms in our house have a particular color scheme.
Color psychology also plays an important role in marketing. According to statistics:
Below, you’ll find color meanings that are commonly accepted in the western world.
Red – an emotionally intense color that’s associated with energy, action, passion, and love. Negatively, red evokes the feelings of war and danger. A few famous brands that use the color red include Coca-Cola, Target, H&M, and Youtube.
Orange – in between red and yellow and as such it is associated with joy, happiness, and overall positive feelings. Used sparingly, it can draw attention to areas on your website that need to be noticed. This includes buttons, announcement bars or calls to action. A brand that is famous for its orange color includes Amazon.
Yellow – another happy and bright color that’s associated with optimism, youthfulness, and cheerfulness. It’s often used in the food industry and products or industries that cater to children. Brands using the color yellow include McDonald's, BestBuy, and National Geographic.
Green – the color of nature, wealth, and health. It’s most often associated with growth, harmony, spring, freshness and used by brands such as AnimalPlanet, WholeFoods, and GoFundMe.
Blue – symbolizes trust, loyalty, wisdom, intelligence, and confidence. It is perceived as a calm color and often used by insurance companies as well as banks or other financial institutions. Brands that use blue include AmericanExpress, Chase, and Dell. Other sites such as social media networks, most notably Facebook and Twitter, have also adopted a blue color scheme.
Purple – combines blue and red and is usually associated with royalty. As a color, it symbolizes power, nobility, luxury, and conveys the feelings of independence, mystery, creativity, and magic. It is often used by creative brands and websites, websites that promote wellness services, and websites that target a female audience. A few examples include Cadbury and Monange.
Pink is a tint of red and as such, has some similarities to it. Brighter and more vivid shades of pink symbolize energy, youthfulness, fun, and excitement. A pink color scheme is frequently used for products and websites that target a (young) female audience or want to present themselves as modern brands. A few brands famous for their use of pink include T-Mobile and Barbie.
Brown – conveys simplicity, durability, and stability. A brown shade like terracotta can be used to symbolize a high-end look and feel. It’s not a color that’s a popular choice for websites but it’s still often used in marketing. Companies and websites that market food products such as chocolate or coffee use brown. Think Hershey’s or M&M’s. An exception to this is the brand UPS whose logo, uniforms, and trucks use the color brown.
White – it’s often said that white represents the absence of color. It symbolizes light, innocence, purity, and cleanliness. Most commonly, it’s used for website backgrounds or text color on a darker background.
Black – the combination of all colors and even though it can have negative connotations it’s also associated with power, elegance, and prestige. Negatively, if you use it too much, it can create a feeling of oppression and heaviness. Websites using black usually belong to brands that we associate with wealth and luxury such as Rolls Royce, L’oreal, and Chanel.
Gray – another neutral color that is associated with feelings of calmness, simplicity, and logic. It’s a good fit for technology or futuristic oriented websites and can be used to symbolize sophistication, industry, and precision. A few examples of websites and brands using gray include Apple, Tesla, and Mercedes Benz.
Now that we’ve covered the color meanings, you might be wondering how do they translate into what colors you should choose for your website.
The answer largely depends on your chosen industry as well as your target audience. Aside from the color meanings and industry associations, keep in mind that preferred colors also depend on the gender of your audience. For example, women prefer blue, purple, and green, while men prefer blue, black, and green.
Generally speaking, if your website is trying to convey an upbeat, energetic, and optimistic feel, you should choose brand colors that evoke those emotions. Similarly, if you strive for calm and relaxing emotions, then your choice of colors should lean towards shades of blue, green, or purple.
To get started with your color selection process, choose just one color to work with. This color should be your main color that will be associated with your website or brand.
Once you determine the main color, add at least two more colors that go well with it to create a nice color scheme for your brand. If you need inspiration for colors that go well together you can explore Pinterest to get ideas, Design Seeds which has premade color schemes that you can use, or Adobe Color that lets you generate color palettes from scratch or from an image.
As I’ve mentioned earlier, I also have a video that shows you examples of different websites using colors and talks about the psychology behind colors.
Choosing colors for your website may seem difficult but once you understand the basics of color psychology, you should have no problems picking out a color scheme for your website. Use this article to learn more about the meaning behind each color so you can create a powerful color scheme for your website.
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