Psychology & Design: How to Use Colors to Evoke Emotions
There’s a lot of thought that goes into creating your own website. While structure and functionality provide the building blocks of a great site, when you’re ready to wrap it up into the stunning package that it is, design becomes the main driver. There are many elements in design, but the most noticeable will be your use of color.
Color doesn’t just liven up a site and make it look pretty. It also has the ability to affect and evoke specific emotions from people. This tactic has been used countless times in marketing campaigns, all the way down to the logos of brands you see every day. Below, we’ll showcase some of the basics of color psychology so you can get an idea how to use it for your brand.
Color psychology basics
Before we jump in, let’s give you a rundown of some basic colors and what emotions they can evoke:
Think of the logos of some companies you know, like Coca Cola, Facebook and Apple. Three incredibly recognizable brands, all of which you can likely recall the color of their logos as red, blue, and white. While a logo’s color may seem like a casual choice made by the brand, you can be assured that the company selected it for reasons that go outside of simple color selection. The colors used in the logos of the three aforementioned brands exude what they stand for, or at very least, what they’re trying to stand for.
The largest social network in the world has been the center of privacy concerns for a majority of the time it’s been around. It’s logo however is seemingly designed to counter this very thing: a peaceful blue logo. Blue is the color of trust and dependability, which makes it an important color for a website that holds such sensitive information. Blue is also basically the most popular color around and is one of the easiest to look at.
Founded in 1892, Coca Cola has been an every-day name for quite some time and it’s almost impossible to forget its logo. The red background with the cursive writing hasn’t changed much since the 1950’s and for good reason: it works. The color red evokes excitement and energy, and it’s said that the color can increase pulse rates as well.
Red can create a sense of urgency, which is why you’ll see many “Sale!” signs either written in red or behind a red backdrop.
While Apple’s logo used to be more colorful in every way, it switched to a more simple color scheme in the late 90’s and it’s definitely more reflective of the company we know today. The simple, all-white logo is exactly that. Simplicity. The white logo also conjures feelings of clarity and purity.
What’s in a name?
Interestingly enough, the actual color name can affect the way someone can perceive it.
A good example can be found in Samsung’s smartphone, the Galaxy S7. Instead of using black, silver, gold, and white, it offers the S7 in Black Onyx, Silver Titanium, Gold Platinum, and White Pearl.
Adding another descriptive name to a color can increase its allure and intrigue, which may be helpful if you offer products on your website with multiple color options. Who knows, maybe this could help trigger that final synapse in the brain to make someone click “add to cart.”
Need another example? Take a look at any crayon box today that comes with more than the basic colors. While a big box of Crayons is filled with semi-ridiculous color names like Fuzzy Wuzzy, Tickle Me Pink and Inchworm, they’re pretty much unforgettable, and that’s exactly the point.
Choosing a template by color scheme
If you haven’t started your website yet, you at least now know how color can affect how your brand is perceived. This may help you narrow down your selection of templates before you start building. Let’s take a look!
The Boutique Law Firm template’s color palette achieves exactly what the template stands for: a trustworthy and professional law firm that’s straightforward and transparent. The use of blue establishes trust, where the corresponding white associates a clean and pure feel throughout.
Out of the gate, the stark palette of the Game App Website template stirs up intrigue. An imaginative purple contrasting with a subdued but cheerful orange makes the template feel out of this world. For a game called Space Alien, it ought to.
Among other things, purple is the color of imagination and creativity. Orange can also stand for creativity, but it’s more neutral tone compliments it’s purple counterpart while being inviting and friendly.
The Fitness Coach template keeps its color choices striking yet simple, and it should. For something like this, you want to express strength and power. You and your work should shine, not the colors of the site, but that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t have intent.
Black is the color of sophistication and always has a classic feel to it. The bright accent color contrasts and makes the goals of the site stand out.
Where color psychology might not work
Color psychology isn’t a one size fits all concept. There are several factors that could affect how certain people perceive any given color. Age, gender and culture can play a major role, so it’s essential to be focused on your target market.
Take the Tailor Shop template for example. Designed to be simple, straightforward, and aimed at professionals, there’s an elegance to the black and white scheme. It gives off a rich and classic vibe that will likely resonate with a more mature crowd. It’s a template that likely wouldn’t be suggested if your target market is children.
Don’t be afraid to expand your color scheme
We’ve showcased a handful of templates with rather tame color schemes, but this doesn’t mean you should limit yours. If your brand logo has more than one color, or you’re trying to play to more than one emotion, do it! Add, brighten, or subdue colors as you see fit.
Not sure what colors will work best for your site? Our complete guide will help you choose the right color scheme.
By The Wix Team