How Color Psychology is Used in Design

“Color” is a subjective experience determined by the way our eyes and brains interpret light’s effects on our surroundings. However, there are general effects that each color or type of color seems to have on a majority of the population.

The Psychology of Color

Marketers, especially when it comes to online marketing–have to keep the psychology of color in mind when creating ads, websites, and other content to maximize their reach and accessibility, and doing so can deeply influence a viewer’s feelings on the subject matter.

Thanks to the information that our eyes send to our brains and the resulting effects on our hormone releases, colors can dictate our mood, our emotions, and other factors of our state of being. A good designer will always keep color psychology in mind when creating content, logos, and branding materials.

Factors that Influence How Colors are Received

Color psychology is far from an exact science, even if certain generalizations can be argued. Because there are numerous sociological factors involved in how people perceive color, it’s important to keep your audience in mind when determining what color schemes you want to use in your content. Some key factors that can influence a person’s response to colors are:

  • Gender – Color has become a highly gendered subject in society, and regardless of your stance on gender stereotyping, it’s important to keep this factor in mind. For example, men may find pinks uncomfortable or unappealing, and studies have shown that men have a negative response to bright yellows, finding them distasteful. As such, you wouldn’t want to use these as primary colors on a website for men’s products or health.
  • Age – Children are far more fond of bright, “happy” colors like yellow and orange than adults seem to be. In fact, orange seems to be one of the most disliked colors among adults, yet a commonly-liked color among children. Brighter, warm colors are often best for materials that will be provided to younger children, including games, learning websites, and even advertisements.
  • Culture – Colors have vastly different meanings and associations from one culture to another. Colors that one culture might find soothing or clean might be abrasive or unpleasant to another. If your content is aimed at a particular demographic, be sure to research which colors have the best responses among that demographic.

Additionally, you have to consider whether or not the colors you choose will be considered appropriate for the content itself. Consider the general meanings of different colors–you likely wouldn’t use a bright pink and yellow design for a medical facility’s website or a corporate banner.

Colors and Their General Meanings

As mentioned above, there are some generalizations that can be made about the basic colors, even if there are going to be some exceptions here and there. These generalizations can form a sort of guide for those wishing to create their content accordingly and influence conversions.

  • White – Pure, calm, sincere, modern.
  • Black – Corporate, serious, formal, conventional, expensive, sophisticated.
  • Red – Passion, danger, power, love, excitement, action, strong emotion.
  • Orange – Warmth, energy, enthusiasm.
  • Yellow – Happiness, optimism, creativity, fun.
  • Green – Nature, freshness, morality, money, health.
  • Blue – Corporate, calm, intelligence, competence, high quality.
  • Purple – Elegance, luxury, authority, power, femininity.
  • Pink – Femininity, sophistication, sweetness, candy, sincerity.
  • Brown – Ruggedness, nature, earthiness.
  • Gray – Solid, stable, emotionless, composed, immovable.

If you’ve already created your content and chosen a target audience, use the above descriptions to assign a color to the content as effectively as you can. Your choices might not positively impact 100% of your viewers, but knowing the basics of color psychology will help you reach significantly more people than you would otherwise.

What does website redesign really mean?

Black / Dark as a Go-To Design Choice

Black is an incredibly versatile color, able to be used in a variety of situations and genres without losing any of its power and effect. It’s authoritative, convincing, rational, serious, sophisticated, and timelessly stylish.

It can also have negative connotations, though, being the most common color used to portray grief, evil, and sickness.

These negative associations are largely thanks to representation in entertainment, but it might be best not to blanket a medical facility in the color black, or use it to highlight something that’s meant to be cheerful and lively.

However, dark backgrounds can be the perfect color choice to use in the corporate world and for specific website design as the website, Collectiveray explains. In fact, a dark background, against a lighter color has been a staple in design.

Among all of the colors used in the design, black and white combinations are seen as the most “reliable” or “stable.” Be it text, logo, or image design, black portrays a sense of excellence and formality that serves businesses and educators well. It feels definite, classy, and professional, which makes it a popular choice for most companies and businesspersons.

That being said, be careful not to completely overwhelm your viewers with too much black, since it’s also a very strong, emotionally powerful color.

Black is often accentuated with other, less aggressive colors like light blues and greens to balance out the strength of the colors. Even lighter grays can be used to help find this balance stylish homes.

It’s also unwise to use black as a background in online designs and pages, as it can be painfully overwhelming to people’s eyes.

Even if it makes for great contrast with brighter colored texts and images, it can make it difficult for a person to stay looking through such a page for long periods at a time. As a background for a logo or some other such smaller design, though, black is an excellent way to make a statement.

Conclusion

Ultimately, color psychology comes down to knowing your audience, your content, and the basics of the ways in which color can affect both. Using darker or more sophisticated colors will help convey a sense of seriousness and professionalism whereas brighter colors can bring a feeling of vitality or enjoyment to the content.It is not only the color psychology that is interesting but to study psychology as a subject is different and thought-provoking. The human mind is very complex and the way it acts is unbelievable. Read some interesting psychology facts and watch out how amazing our mind is.

Research what color schemes are being used in content that’s similar to yours, or even run a small trial with a focus group if you’re able to (even if that group is comprised of your peers). Once you’re confident that you’ve found a combination that will work, create content that will best suit the message you want to provide and the reaction you want to receive!