The Underestimated Power Of Colour | Part 1

Colour could - arguably - be the second most important aspect of your website after its initial functionality. It plays a critical role within the graphical user interface as it helps users to interpret the website’s content, interact with the correct elements and understand the brand.

Every website should have a colour scheme so the question of which colour(s) to pick can be pretty difficult! Hopefully this blog post = a second installment to follow soon - should help get you thinking about  the meaning of various colours and how best to utilise them.

The gender split on colour preferences might be something to consider depending on your target audience. Studies suggest that women prefer purple and green whereas men prefer blue and black. 

Some of the more common colours used within websites are blue, yellow, red, green, orange and black. So take a look at our thoughts on the interpretation of these colours and how you might expect your own target audience to react when visiting your site.

Blue is one of the most common colours used on a website. This is largely because blue is in fact the world's favourite colour (according to YouGov, 33% of Brits prefer it to all other colours).  But there is more to it... Blue is associated with:

  • Trust, peace and loyalty
  • Relaxation, belief and confidence
  • Security and order

There is wide agreement within the world of psychology that blue conjures feelings of trustworthiness and serenity. After all, the world’s biggest social network uses blue and its core values are transparency and trust - we can’t imagine this was by accident. Similarly, PayPal also uses differing shades of blue to evoke trust and security which is essential to its business success. If it were to use yellow or red, it may well not achieve the same level of online engagement.

 

Colour Blog Post Image 1

 

Colour Blog Post 3

 

Yellow has various, contrasting connotations. One is for warnings (diversion signs are something we are all far too familiar with!). This use has undoubtedly been developed for pragmatic reasons as black writing on a yellow background is the easiest to for the human eye to see from a distance (which is also why it is used on wet floor signs and in airport signage). Yellow is also the colour of happiness, playfulness and friendliness as it stimulates the brain’s excitement centre.

Red is similar to yellow in the sense of  having a number of differing associations. One widely recognised interpretation of red is passion, love and in some cultures, luck. The other arguably polar view is red's links to anger, the devil and danger.

Green is synonymous with nature, the environment and the outdoors. Not only that, green has also been associated with creativity and (when used with other colours) has the “isolation effect" when something stands out from the crowd (interesting fact moment - this is also known as the Von Restorff  effect after Hedwig Von Restorff the German psychologist who first documented it). So green is the ideal colour for a “call to action” button, icon etc.

Orange is a very positive colour. It has associations with being fun, competitive, efficient and confident. Orange is loud and warm resulting in a feeling of togetherness. However orange should be used sparingly because it can be quite overwhelming. If used too much, it can be seen to be cheap.

Black adds a sense of luxury and value. Generally speaking, the darker the tone (of any colour), the more luxurious is its perception. Words that are associated with black include:

  • Elegant and sophisticated
  • Powerful and intimidating
  • Timeless and classical
  • High value and exclusive

And let's not forget white. White seems to be forgotten in the world of websites, but the most popular website in the world (Google) is basically all white!

Colour Blog Post 2

 

White space is a powerful design feature and most well designed, modern websites use white (or negative) space to create a sense of openness, freedom and 'breathability'.

So what do the colours of your website say about your brand? At Donkeylogic, we use orange as a feature colour as well as black, grey and white. We like to think we are a modern, efficient and warm company (and we have fun - a great orange association!) and the choice of colours in our branding echoes this.

In the next blog post, I will be answering a number of other questions:

  • How many colours should a website use?
  • What do we think about when creating a colour palette?
  • What do we consider when choosing colours and where they go on a website?
  • How does this all help a website’s user experience?