Color is a very important aspect of human psychology. Every color represents a different aspect of human emotion and by understanding this we can influence our web visitors. Color psychology must be recognized in web design.Take for example fast food, almost every fast food logo uses red and yellow. Why? Because these are warm colors that stimulate the appetite and create a sense of joy and happiness. Every color has a different psychological meaning to humans and that’s why if we better understand the deep psychological meanings of color we can better accomplish our design and conversion goals.
Special Thank you to http://www.realcolorwheel.com/colorwheel.htm for the use of the color wheel image listed at the top of this blog post.
Let’s take for example two popular corporate websites Microsoft and Apple. Apple has an almost all white web page. Do you think that was on accident? Now look at Microsoft’s main site; all blue. Each of these companies is using color psychology to create depth in their branding and to influence users. Microsoft is choosing the calm, elegant, and peaceful approach while Apple is choosing the pure and simple theme.
Below is a list of the most common core colors and some of their basic psychological associations. They can be used in your web site design for any purpose.
Gray : Boredom, reverence, wisdom, dullness, mourning, neutrality, urban, subtlety, decay, dust, pollution
White : purity, innocence, simplicity, security, humility, cowardice, winter, cold, snow, reverence
Black : power, strength, evil, wealth, mystery, death, sophisticated, remorse, sorrow, unhappiness, elegance, style
Red : Love, sex, passion, strength, energy, fire, excitement, heat, anger, hunger, heat, power, danger, inspiration, masculinity, blood, speed, radicalism, revolution, communism
Blue : peace, unity, harmony, tranquility, calmness, coolness, confidence, water, ice, cold, winter, dependable, royalty, nobility, truthfulness, idealism, depression, wisdom, seas, sky
Purple : royalty, harmony, good luck, youth, wealth, money, vigor, fertility, greed, corruption, renewal, growth, hope, sincerity, harmony, stability, inexperience, envy, generosity
Yellow : joy, happiness, optimism, intelligence, sunlight, hope, idealism, wealth, weakness, cowardice, illness, hazards, dishonesty, sociability, hunger, fun
Orange : energy, balance, fire, heat, enthusiasm, playfulness, aggression, arrogance, flamboyance, warning, danger, desire
Brown : nature, richness, stability, dirt, filth, poverty, heaviness, tradition, calm, deep, appetite stimulant, simplicity, friendliness, dependability, steadfastness, wholesomeness
Pink : sympathy, gratitude, spring, admiration, femininity, health, love, marriage, appreciation
There are of course variations in the meaning of certain colors according to which region of the world you are in. For example, in the United States black is the color most tied to death but in China white is the color most tied to death. Blue and red are the political colors in the states but in Europe black and red are the primary political colors. Again you can see the difference in the meaning of colors based upon country or region. While it is commonly used most professional psychologists consider color psychology as “alternative medicine” and not as any kind of science.
The critics say that the theories are not justified by research and contend that since cultures vary so much in color psychology there could not be a coherent science. Regardless of this contention there are still those who work in the field of color psychology, many with great success. Color consultants work with public and private institutions to accomplish a variety of goals. Color consultants are the ones who created the pink pain in the drunk tank. This color is also known as “drunk tank pink” or “pepto bismol pink”. Physiological tests prove that various colors make an impact on behavior. Consider what your goals are and what you want to accomplish and from there you can analyze which colors should be used in your web design. It takes practice and further research but a basic understanding of color theory and psychology can go a long way for you in the web design world.