Its one of the first questions we get asked as kids, what is your favourite colour? Each of us probably had a different answer, and what’s more it probably changed over time. But why, what effect does colour have on us? It is a widely discussed topic, what impact colour has, especially when it comes to emotions. So can colour influence how people perceive your brand or the impression they have of your website? What impact does colour have on your website?
Lets look at what is generally perceived to be the effect of each colour:
This one is fairly well known. Red is a dominate colour and can elicit feelings of passion and anger. It is also widely used to signify that something is important or dangerous. The colour red can actually have a physiological impact on us, increasing blood circulation, breathing rates and metabolism. For this reason, it is a colour that should be used with caution, whilst a great colour for attracting attention its other side effects can cause tension to the viewer.
Orange is a happy colour, it brings about feelings of warmth and excitement. It is a fairly playful colour and is often used to signify youthfulness. Orange can create haste and stimulate acting on impulse. It is a colour of comfort and can focus the mind on things that provide physical wellbeing such as food, warmth and shelter. It is a fun colour. However, be wary of over-usage, too much can suggest frivolity or a lack of serious intellectual values.
Yellow is a bit of a contradiction when it comes to the effect it has on our emotions. It is often seen as a happy and friendly colour, however it also activates the anxiety centre of the brain. The shade of yellow in use is very important. It is an energetic colour and can be used to stimulate and revitalise. It is also a common colour of warnings. Use the right shade of yellow and it will boost self esteem, confidence and optimism. Too much or the wrong tone can have a very negative impact causing feelings of fear and anxiety.
Green is another one that has very common connotations, particularly for being natural, stable and prosperous. Because of its tie with nature it is a colour of growth and is often used in financial markets. It is a colour of balance, it is the middle of the spectrum, and is reassuring to us on a primitive level. It is a good choice for calls to action because it stands out but more softly than the likes of red and orange. However, like most colours green can also have a negative impact if incorrectly used, it can generate feelings of boredom and stagnation.
Whilst often considered a cold colour, blue is probably one of the most popular colours in the world of web design. Blue is the colour of the mind and effects us mentally, in contrast to the physical reaction we have to red. Blue elicits a feeling of calm and serenity, and inspires feelings of security and safety. It is often seen as a colour of trust, which is probably why it is seen on so many bank websites. Despite not being the easiest colour for us to see it is often used for clear communication. The only thing to be cautious of with blue is, because of its connections with coldness, it can be perceived as unemotional and unfriendly.
The colour purple has long been associated with royalty and luxury. The use of purple is a quick and easy way to create a sense of elegance and communicates the finest possible quality. It has the shortest wavelength and can take awareness to a higher level of thought. It is, therefore, also connected to wisdom, spirituality and mystery. The colour purple is also highly introverted, and can be used to inspire feelings of deep contemplation. Beware, excessive use of purple or using the wrong shade could bring about too much introspection.
Of course, there are many more colours that you can chose from, including:
Pink, which is linked to femininity, youth and innocence. But, can also be physically draining and somewhat emasculating,
Brown, associated with the earth, being rustic and sturdiness, can evoke feelings of reliability and support. But can also be linked to heaviness and lack of sophistication.
Black, the strongest of the colours, adds sophistication and elegance, but with bold confidence. It communicates absolute clarity and creates a perception of seriousness. Be careful, however, as black can be perceived as menacing.
White is probably the most used colour. It pairs well with every other colour and draws out the elements of more stimulating colours. White is associated with being pure, clean and sterile. It adds a perception of space. Sterility can also be a negative connotation so use wisely.
Thinking about your website, what colours have you used? What impact does colour have on your website? What emotions and perceptions are you creating in your customers? It is hard to take our personal preferences away and to look at these things objectively. Think about what you want customers to feel about your brand and work backwards, in both colour and content.
If you would like to know more about the impact colour can have on your website or any other aspect of website design and content visit our website design section or get in touch with us today.