Significance of Colour Psychology in Web Design

An effective web design is one which looks good, is easy to navigate and is capable of garnering sufficient interest from the user. A colourful web design might be attractive to look at, but it also needs to generate the right emotion in the minds of people. Picking the right colour will helps organizations get the desired response from their audience.

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Colour has a strong influence over the behaviour of users; it plays a major role in stimulating the human brain and generating a positive response. Using the right colours in web design guarantees an enriching user experience. For this reason, a multitude of web designers today are investing sufficient amount of time and money in understanding the psychology of colours and the impact they have over people. Different colours have different bearings on different people depending on personal preferences and cultural backgrounds; making it imperative for web designers to choose the most appropriate colours in web design.

color psychology

Importance of the Colour Scheme

It is vital for web designers to consider a variety of factors while designing a website – the company’s product line, the target audience and the ethos the company belongs to. Each colour of the spectrum is associated with distinct human feelings and hence it is fundamental to choose the right colours in web design in order to evoke the right feeling. The right colour can generate positive emotions like excitement, joy, trust, attraction, hope, love, gratitude, surprise etc. Whereas choosing the wrong colour can create negative emotions like sorrow, anger, embarrassment, frustration, fear, panic etc.

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However, a website cannot possibly be designed using only one colour. A good mix of the right colours in web design can lead to a rewarding user experience. Web designers choose a combination of colours by considering the overall colour scheme. This helps them in examining the colour wheel, studying each individual colour and determining how they work with other colours. Web designers today opt for certain basic methods of colour mixing:

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  • Complementary: Designers choose 2 colours that are opposite to each other on the colour wheel. These colours complement each other very well and help create a vibrant look.
  • Triadic: Using the colour wheel, designers choose any 3 colours that are evenly spaced around the colour wheel. This method is the most commonly used and results in a balanced output.
  • Analogous: In this method, designers choose any 3 adjacent colours of the colour wheel to make a combination. The right combination of colours will result in conveying the appropriate message to the users
  • Square: Designers choose 4 colours that are evenly spaced around the colour wheel. In this method, one dominant colour is complemented by 3 warm colours creating a good mix of vibrancy and peace.
  • Compound: In this method, designers use any 2 colours of the colour wheel with the 2 diagonally opposite colours. This method, when implemented correctly is considered to be very effective in designing websites.

Colours to Use

It is crucial for organizations to choose suitable colours in web design that not only reflects the ideologies of the brand but also generates the preferred interest in the minds of people. For example, the colour red is considered exciting and inspiring. It is associated with passion and authority and can be used to suggest power, grit and confidence. The colour blue reflects security, reliability and credibility and carries a sense of holiness. The colour green echoes serenity, positivity, prosperity and innovation. It is commonly used by ethical, health and environment-friendly establishments. Yellow if often considered the most energising colour as people associate it with the sun whereas orange is considered vibrant and energetic. The colour purple implies luxury and wealth and gives a very mysterious look to a website. Lavender on the other hand is associated with romance and spring. The colour pink too reflects love and femininity and is used for websites that target a largely female audience. They are also ideal for desserts and baby product websites. The colour white represents calmness and pureness whereas black reflects class and excellence.

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Colours to Avoid

Choosing the wrong colours in web design can be detrimental to your business. A large percentage of online users do not return to a website because the colour combination was lacklustre or it instigated a strain on their eyes. For example, a website with black background might look upmarket, but it is not easy to read. Also with a black background, no other colour except white can create a contrast thus limiting their options. It is therefore advisable to have a white background that allows designers to play with a lot of other colours and create an attractive web design. Furthermore, a soothing colour used for a wrong product leads to mismatched feelings in the minds of people. For example, even though blue generates positive emotion, it should not be used to endorse websites selling food products as the colour blue is known to supress appetite. The colour brown is generally the most disliked colour by men. Even though it denotes dependability, men are known to be turned off by it. As for women, orange seems to be the least favourite.

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Tools to Choose Better Colour

Organizations today are hiring experts who carry out research in the field of colour psychology and help them choose the right colours for web design. These experts make use of some of the best tools for choosing proper colours:

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  • Adobe colour CC
  • ColorSchemer
  • Flat UI color picker
  • Paletton
  • COLOURlovers
  • Color Scheme Designer
  • ColoRotate
  • Copaso
  • Check my colours
  • Mudcube colour sphere

In a Snapshot

Colours have the ability to induce a specific temperament or impression in the minds of people. Choosing the right colour for web design is crucial for organizations to send the right message to the audience thereby achieving higher website visits. Understanding colour psychology and the effect it has on people brings enterprises a step closer to launching a successful website.

Keval Padia is a Founder & CEO of Nimblechapps. Being an avid gamer himself, he has converted many game ideas into reality. He is an iOS Game Developer, with acute knowledge of mobile game design and user experience design.