Choosing colour for your website is more than just aesthetics. Colour can influence buying decisions and mood.
Breeze Development is a Liverpool digital marketing agency. When working on website design we talk to our clients about colour choices and how colour communicates with site visitors on an emotional level. Emotional responses have a direct impact on engagement and conversions.
Of course the colour you choose for your website should reflect your branding. If it doesn’t, it will confuse users particularly if they are already familiar with your brand and actively looking for certain products or information.
Negative responses to garish colours, or colour clashes with other visuals, make users click away from websites faster than you can say ‘red’! With so much content available from your competitors there would be no reason for staying on a site that makes a user feel uncomfortable.
What Does The Colour Of Your Website Say About You?
To decide on the best colour scheme for your website it’s important to understand colour psychology. This refers to how colours impact human behaviour.
Here’s a rundown of some basic colours, the emotional responses each is commonly associated with and the brands that use them.
Professionalism, seriousness, wealth, luxury, power.
Luxury brands such as Rolex and Chanel have black logos and black and white colour schemes for their websites. Other examples are premium brands Nike and L’Oréal. A contrasting bright colour adds energy to the sophisticated background so can be used for promotions that need to stand out.
Black says you’re a serious brand and financially strong as per the phrase “in the black”.
Danger, anger, love, intensity, passion, warning.
“Seeing red” is a phrase we’re all familiar with. Red is associated with anger, aggression and danger: think of the term ‘red flag’. But it’s also associated with love, intensity and passion. Red triggers powerful emotions, both positive and negative! Brands that use red want to stand out from the crowd. They include Netflix, Virgin, Levi’s and Kellogg’s.
Red attracts attention so works well as an accent colour as long as there isn’t a clash with other visuals.
Calmness, relaxation, loyalty, trust, security.
Blue is the colour of reason so it has a calming effect. It also implies knowledge which is possibly why it is believed to be the most commonly used colour across the internet. Big players like Facebook, Twitter and Ford have blue branding.
For brands such as VISA, Nivea, Nokia and Dell, blue branding helps to evoke a sense of trust and loyalty.
Happiness, energy, warmth, success, light.
Its association with the sun makes yellow the colour of happiness, fun and energy. Tread with caution, however, because some shades of yellow can look dirty and certain tints can be challenging for readability.
The M of the McDonald’s logo is yellow to reflect the brand’s ethos of joy and customer satisfaction alongside the company motto “I’m lovin’ it”. Other brands that have used yellow to represent them as energetic, customer-focused and successful are IMDb, Yellow Pages, Shell and DHL.
Creativity, enthusiasm, determination, warmth.
Orange is friendlier than red and doesn’t have the association with aggression and danger, but is still eye-catching and bright. Creative businesses like to use orange because of its association with creativity and enthusiasm. It shows eagerness and a willingness to think outside the box.
Some non-corporate brands such as charities also use orange, as do more earthy brands due to the association of orange with autumn and the outdoors. Brands that use orange include Muscular Dystrophy UK, TNT, easyJet and HubSpot.
Choosing Colour For Your Website
Your aim should be to choose a colour that will encourage your target users to interact with you. It needs to match your brand identity and show that you mean business.
The purpose of the colour of your website is to create desire and drive conversions as well as familiarising users with your brand.
Here are some pointers to consider when choosing your website colour scheme:
- Gender is not as binary as before so don’t rely on a colour thinking it particularly appeals to men or women
- Give as much time to choosing complementary colours as to choosing the main colour of the site to ensure they’re not distracting
- Use bright primary contrasting colours for CTAs (Calls to Action) such as ‘Download’ to grab users’ attention
- Red/green colour blindness is the most common and could cause issues with readability so avoid green on red or red on green
- Use three or fewer colours. Using a primary and a base colour is usually the best combination. If you think the overall effect is too plain, use images and infographics to lift the page rather than extra colours
- Green is strongly associated with the outdoors, nature and the environment so take care when using green for any other sectors.