Importance of Colors in Website Design
For the majority of affiliate marketers, website design is quite intimidating, especially if they have no previous experience in website design. When talking about the key to success for not only affiliate websites, design is as important as content and message you would like to spread to the world. One of the major elements of a killer website design is color. Choose the appropriate color and you will have a great website, choose the wrong color, and you may alienate your visitors! It is that important. Color symbolism must be taken into account in web and graphic design, however making the right decision is a big challenge.
Colors Stimulate Visitor’s Senses
The visual stimulation your web page evokes determines almost instantly whether a visitor will stay or leave. Using the right colors makes your site pleasing to the eye and helps the viewer to determine the purpose of the page and the desired action. The wrong colors may make your visitor leave or read with unease and avoid clicking. Colors are more than just a combination of red and blue or yellow and black. They are non-verbal communication. Colors have symbolism and color meanings that run much deeper than some might think. Research tells us that people form a subconscious opinion about a person, environment, or product within 90 seconds. It is said that between 62% and 90% of that assessment is based simply on color. On a website, the time you have to capture someone’s attention is much shorter than in a bricks and mortar setting. This makes the effect of your color choice even more important. Since there is no scent and currently very rare audio stimulation, sight is the most valuable sense online. The colors you use on your site can send your visitor packing instantly, or evoke any number of emotions and actions.
There are no rules regarding ‘good’ or ‘bad’ colors since the response to color is personal. However, age, gender and cultural background will influence the reaction to color, and every color has a very basic effect on people, whether they recognize it or not. Choosing the colors that will best motivate your visitors is the key to increasing sales. So, it isn’t just the selection of colors in general but also which colors to use with your specifically targeted visitors. Everyone knows that in the US, boys like blue and girls like pink but these sorts of things may not applied globally. For instance, white is often associated with weddings and creates a feeling of innocence. In some other cultures, white signifies death. If you export white wedding gowns to China, you’ll go broke.
Color Categories: How Colors May Affect Your Visitors
There are three basic color categories: warm, cool, and neutral, and we’ll add one category for colors that can go either way.
The way we mix those colors can add interest, enhance the design concept, or convey specific messages.
- Cool, or calming colors are blue, green, turquoise and silver.
- Warm, or exciting colors are red, pink, yellow, gold and orange.
- Mixed, or cool/warm colors are purple, lavender, green and turquoise.
- Neutral, or unifying colors are brown, beige, ivory, grey, black and white.
People with different backgrounds and personalities will perceive color moods somewhat differently. The below attributes may seem a bit contradictory, but one or more attributes will be perceived by certain types of people. Here are the basic color meanings of individual colors:
Blue represents peace, tranquility, calm, stability, harmony, unity, trust, truth, confidence, conservatism, security, cleanliness, order, loyalty, sky, water, technology, and on the negative side, cold and depression. Blue is said to slow the pulse rate, lower body temperature and reduce appetite. It is often used in business because it reflects reliability.
Black stands for power, sexuality, sophistication, formality, depth, style, elegance, wealth and mystery. On the negative side it suggests fear, evil, anonymity, unhappiness, sadness, remorse, anger, underground, mourning and death. Black is often categorized as the ‘technical color’.
This color represents nature, environment, health, good luck, renewal, youth, vigour, spring, generosity and fertility. The negative meanings are jealousy, inexperience, envy and misfortune. The cool quality of green is said to soothe, calm and have great healing powers.
Orange symbolizes balance, warmth, enthusiasm, vibrancy, flamboyancy and is demanding of attention. Orange is considered a warm color like red, but to a lesser extent; orange expresses energy.
Purple represents royalty, spirituality, nobility, wealth, ceremony, mystery, transformation, wisdom and enlightenment. On the negative side, it means cruelty, arrogance and mourning. Purple is considered an exotic color and often associated with sexual flamboyancy and wealth.
We associate red with love, desire, speed and strength. On the negative side, red means violence, anger and danger. Red can evoke a fight-or-flight response, raise blood pressure and make the heart beat faster. It is the warmest and most energetic color in the spectrum. It demands attention.
White symbolizes reverence, purity, simplicity, cleanliness, peace, humility, precision, innocence, youth, birth, winter, snow, good and marriage. On the negative side, in some parts of the world it stands for death. White is often used as contrast color.
Yellow represents joy, happiness, optimism, idealism, imagination, hope, sunshine, summer, gold, philosophy, spirituality and inspiration. The negative connotations are dishonesty, cowardice, betrayal, jealousy, covetousness, deceit, illness and hazard.
Color Hints and Tips for Website Design
So you see that all colors have both positive and negative associations, and these will be perceived differently by different people. For the best psychological impact, choose the color that best describes the association you want to create in your visitor’s first impression, and add colors that symbolize similar attributes.
Avoid colors that have similar or complimentary negative connotations or you will increase the number of people who feel uncomfortable looking at it exponentially. That way, you will increase the number of visitors who feel the way you would like them to feel, and reduce negative reactions. But that’s not all. The appeal of color also varies with generations. One theory based on research describes generational differences are as follows:
Eco-inspired color combinations
These colors symbolize nature, the environment and organic harmony. The colors are light, warm and earthy, including greens, blues and neutrals. Mineral and metallic colors, such as copper, are also included.
These colors will target ‘Generation X’ (25-41 years old), the generation which is often described as responsible and balanced. It also appeals to those who are interested in the green movement.
Calming color combinations
These colors have a soothing and luxurious effect. They are often chosen for their ability to balance out the stress and insecurities of everyday life. The colors are rich and saturated, with deep brown, purple, grey and silver.
Successful individuals from all age groups respond to these colors. These people appreciate quality, luxury and originality. Many of them may be found in the generation of 42-60 years old, whose members are at their peak financial productivity. They also appeal to the ‘Primetime’ generation (60+ years old), particularly to well-to-do retirees.
Industrial color combinations
These colors are strong, clean, modern and fashionable. The corporate and industrial worlds thrive on colors in the red orange, blue, soft cream, beige and brown categories. ’Generation X’ (25-41 years old) respond very well to these colors, as do individuals who appreciate a more streamlined, clutter free environment with clean lines.
Information Age color combinations
This group consists of bold, explosive colors that are often associated with IT, computers and gaming. The colors are bright whites, electric blues, and vivid yellows and aquas.
Research indicates that ‘Generation Y’ (ages 3-24, the digital generation) responds strongly to these colors because they grew up or are growing up with computers. ‘Generation Y’ lives in the moment and multitasks. For this group, life moves fast, even if they don’t: they are the least physically fit generation.
Last but not least, we also need to consider countries of origin. Colors have different meanings in various countries:
Ireland: religious significance (Protestant)
China: nourishing, bad luck
Egypt: color of mourning
Western: hope, hazards, cowardice
China: good luck, celebration, summoning
Cherokees: success, triumph
South Africa: color of mourning
Russia: Bolsheviks and Communism
Eastern: worn by brides
Western: excitement, danger, love, passion, stop
China: green hats indicate a man’s wife is cheating on him, exorcism
Ireland: symbol of the entire country, Catholicism
Western: spring, new birth, go, Saint Patrick’s Day, Christmas (with red)
France: studies have indicated green is not a good color choice for packaging In some tropical countries green is associated with danger
Cherokees: defeat, trouble Iran: color of heaven and spirituality
Western: depression, sadness, conservative, corporate, ‘something blue’ bridal tradition
China: blue is associated with immortality
Colombia: blue is associated with soap
Hindus: blue is the color of Krishna
Jewish: blue symbolizes holiness
Middle East: blue is a protective color.
Blue is often considered to be the safest global color.
Thailand: color of mourning (widows)
Japan: white carnation symbolizes death
Western: brides, angels, good guys, hospitals, doctors, peace (white dove)
China: color for young boys
Western: funerals, death, Halloween (with orange), bad guys, rebellion.
Getting the color right is critical because using the appropriate color that harmonizes with your target audience, will increase their positive response to your site. In order to achieve this, you need to understand how color psychology functions, who is your audience and which color fits then. This will get you closer to running a successful website.
This article can help you pin down the colors you need to use on your site. When you have decided which one is the one which will work best, check out a color wheel to make sure your colors harmonize and you’re ready to start. You will see a dramatic improvement in your click-through rate.