How Your Online Brand Can Benefit from Color Psychology

A red button beckons you to “read more now.” A hyperlink in blue encourages you to click through. A green “buy now” button entices you to just do it.

Color — it’s a critical element in how you design your website and present your brand. Studies from experts at Color Communications show that people make a subconscious judgment about a person, environment, or product within 90 seconds of initial viewing — and that between 62 and 90 percent of that assessment is based on color alone. Similarly, research from the Loyola University Maryland, shows that color increases brand recognition by up to 80 percent.

But how do you know which colors will resonate with your clients?

“Different colors evoke different emotions,” says Jeff Bander, general manager of EyeTrackShop. Bander and his team have conducted more than 250,000 studies using webcam eye-tracking technology to measure customers’ gazes. This enables clients to see immediately what their customers actually look at, helping them to develop and optimize their online communication. One study focused its follow-up questionnaires on the emotions different colors inspire

If you’re looking to keep your brand message on target — with the right tint — consider these color psychology guidelines culled from the experts.

Red is full of energy. It’s a rich color that sits up and says, “Take notice of me.” It inspires impulse purchases. Beware: Red also can mean “warning” and “danger,” so use it soberly.

Orange evokes a sense of fun and comfort. Bright like the sun, it draws attention to calls to action.

Yellow is seen by the human eye as the brightest color, so it’s a cheerful attention-grabber that’s often used to designate a sale or special offer. Warning: When used on a white background, it can be hard to read.

Green, the easiest color on the eyes, brings about a feeling of balance. It is regarded as restful and happy, associated with nature. Green is often used in logos because it shouts “stability.”

Blue engenders trust and loyalty. Because blue communicates security, it’s the dominant color of choice for many conservative, corporate websites.

Purple brings to mind an image of royalty and luxury. It’s a power color that can add an aspect of drama to your online message.

White represents a blank slate and a clean start. It is a stabilizing influence, the color that brings balance. “Whatever colors you choose, allow plenty of white space,” says Whitney Holden, co-founder of Zodiac digital design studio. “To avoid brightness/contrast issues, use a white background with interesting splashes of color to highlight important information.”

Black, a stock color for those seeking sophistication in their message, black can also read as glamorous and powerful. When used in contrast with other colors, it makes a strong statement.

The most effective websites strike a balance between ease of navigation, user experience, and on-target branding. Using the color chart above as a guide, take a fresh look at your website and ask yourself whether its current colors are consistent with the message you want to communicate. If not, consider changing its palette to paint a different picture.

About Karen Leland

Karen Leland is the best-selling author of six business books and a freelance journalist whose work has been published in Entrepreneur, Inc, The Los Angeles Times, Self, WebWorkerDaily, The Huffington Post and others. She is the President of Sterling Marketing Group, where she works with small businesses and Fortune 500 companies around the globe on building stronger brands and creating more effective organizations.
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It's a valid discussion, however you should also be mindful of differing perceptions of color in different cultures, in order to 'glocalize' your brand you can't expect warm user acceptance in every locale if you adopt a single palette across the world.


Great article. I like the mention of color and emotions. It would be great to see another article on the topic of color and emotion and the influence of both in the design of a website.


Hi!Very informative post!I like colors it adds meaning to business.


Very neat article. Color psychology is definitely an interesting field.  We've put a lot of thought behind color for @salesverge so that our user has the best experience possible. Color can mean the difference between an 'ignore' or a sale!

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I like the meaning of colors in business.I never thought of that before.


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