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The Psychology of Color and Website Design

Color matters: do the colors on your website communicate and reinforce your brand and messages?

Color psychology image

Color selection is a very important element in your web image because colors have an effect on your visitors before they begin to read the content of your site. Thus, it is very important for you to consider your target audience, the psychology of color, and the corporate image you wish to project BEFORE you construct your website.

When color is used correctly, it can add impact and clarity to your message and highlight important points. When color is used incorrectly, it can compromise your message and confuse your target audience.

Color can work for your website and printed materials in various ways:

  • Color emphasizes, highlights, and leads the eye to important points or links.
  • Color identifies recurring themes (i.e. titles and subtitles are usually the same colors).
  • Conversely, color can differentiate, such as different colors in pie charts and bar graphs.
  • Color symbolizes and triggers emotions and associations.

The interpretation of a color depends on culture, profession, and personal preference. In general, the colors red, orange, and yellow are "exciting" colors and the colors purple, blue, and green are "calming" colors.

Interpretation of color is not always a matter of personal preference. For example, in Western cultures the color white symbolizes purity; however, in China the color white symbolizes death.

The type of profession you are practicing also influences what colors you will select for your corporate image. The following table shows just a few examples of how the same colors are interpreted in different professions:

Color Finance Engineering Medical

Red

Red Loss Hot, Danger Healthy, Oxygenated or Danger
Yellow Yellow Important, Substantial Caution, Warning Jaundice
Blue Blue Reliable, Corporate Water, Cold, Cool Death
Green Green Profit Safe, Environmental Infection
Cyan Cyan Cool, Subdued Steam Poison, Lack of Oxygen


To summarize, it is very important for you to consider your target audience, the psychology of color, and the corporate image you wish to project BEFORE you construct your web site, printed materials, and logo.

Color resources

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