Communicate with color

A rainbow of colored pencils

Though it might seem as though the colors on a website are simply chosen by the designer and/or the website owner based on what they like, but the colors that web designers choose for their websites are far more important than they seem. A website can be beautifully designed, but with the wrong colors that might not matter because humans are more moved by color than we believe. Some colors evoke happy feelings, others evoke feelings of tension or aggression. If the design elements and colors do not work together in a way that evokes the emotions that you want from your website visitors, they might spend less time on your website and you might not retain them as potential customers.

Shades of red are best at conveying strong feelings or messages. Red is considered a very stimulating color, which can cause feelings of passion or the complete opposite, feelings of anger or aggression. It is so good at stimulating humans that simply viewing the color red can cause a person's heart rate to increase. When used properly, red can easily draw users in to important causes, as it is bold and very eye catching, and evokes a feeling of urgency. It can also evoke a sense of emergency or danger, which is why it is often used for error or warning messages. Red is also often used in websites related to food, as red is known to stimulate the appetite and cause hunger.

Orange and yellow are less stimulating as reds, but convey strong positive emotions. Their brightness conveys optimism and warmth in a way that red does not, as they are less harsh looking to the user. These bright colors feel inviting to users and do well at creating a fun environment on a website. These colors are perfect for adventurous websites, those aimed at a younger crowd, or any website with a positive or fun message, but these colors are less excitement inducing and may not do as well at conveying passionate messages as websites designed with more red tones. These colors still convey energy, but with less severity than red.

Green shades are best for conveying positive emotions of progress, health, nature, and wealth. While greens have some of the warmth that yellows share, they are much less calming rather than exciting. Hospitals and health related websites often use green as they remind users of growth and therefore health. Banks often have websites with green in the design because it gives users a sense of not only wealth, but progress and prosperity. Green, of course, is also perfect for any environmental themed websites, as it reminds the users of the greens in nature.

Blue is the most calming and relaxing color to include in your website. Blue does such a good job of calming that, where the color red can increase one's heart rate, the sight of the color blue can lower one's heart rate and relaxes those who view it. The calming feeling of blue can convey feelings of trust, intelligence, reliability, and peace. When used in web design, the calming and assuring feelings brought on by the color blue can help give users a sense that they are in the right hands when they are visiting your website, which is why it is often used by businesses. Doctors offices and banks often have the color blue featured on their websites, as the calming nature and way that blue evokes feelings of intelligence and reliability, making the user feel safe. Also, unlike red, blue is the least appetizing of colors, so much so that it is often advised to eat food from blue plates to help aid in weight loss, so while it may be calming it might be unadvisable to feature blue shades heavily on food related websites.

Purple can evoke many feelings, but is often associated with wealth, royalty, and luxury, but also feelings of mystery, magic, and creativity. These shades are great for showing the user how high quality your offerings are because when they see it, they are reminded of the use of purple by royals throughout history. Technology brands, high-end food and drink brands, and luxury car websites often design with purple for this reason. The mysteriousness of the color purple also adds value, as it gives your offerings a feeling of newness and excitement. The red tones excite the user enough to be intrigued by what they are viewing, and the blue tones of purple aid to calm the user and further relax them, causing them to spend more time on your website.

Pink is calming to users, and often evokes feelings of playfulness, love, youth, and femininity. Pink tones work very well for websites relate to women's issues and women's health issues, but also for websites regarding children and children's causes and needs. It is also used heavily in websites for businesses with lighthearted and youthful material, such as websites for businesses who make or sell candy and treats, toys, games, and other products that are considered fun. Pink also evokes feelings of sentimentalism, and works well for websites with themes of love, friendship, and caring.

Brown most often is associated with nature but also evokes feelings of support and trustworthiness. Brown also works well to convey a rustic or wholesome feeling. Websites that are about nature often use brown tones as the users are reminded of trees and nature, which is why national parks and outdoor sport and activity brands often use brown in their website design. The warm, rustic feel of browns also works well for history related websites, as the brown tones can cause users to be reminded of antique, aged items from history.

Black evokes very strong feelings of power, sophistication, and elegance. The color black is used to convey many different feelings in users because it is both bold and calming at the same time, and when paired properly with other colors, can be used to amplify the feelings of the other colors used. Because the color black exudes a timeless look, it can be used to convey both newness and sentimental feelings depending on how it is used on a website. When used prominently on a website, it shares the color purple's ability to create a feeling of mystery or supernaturality.

White, like black, can be paired with the other colors to convey completely different feelings, but white most often causes feelings of cleanness, purity, serenity, virtue, and clarity. When a website needs to have a fresh, clean look, white is the best at portraying this feeling. It is also used heavily on websites related to weddings, spirituality, and health. A website that is mostly white also allows the important details to stand out without the distraction of other bold colors to compete with the website's offerings, so white works very well for websites that display art and other specialty items.

Grey has the best of both worlds of black and white. Depending on the shade of grey that you choose, you can easily darken or lighten the theme and feel of a website without having to opt for the harsher choices of black or white. The color grey also evokes feelings of seriousness, business, professionalism, and formality, Businesses looking for a professional, no-nonsense tone for their website often rely on the color grey in their designs. Grey can have a dark, gloomy effect though when paired with the certain elements, which may work for some applications but not as much for others.

Colors are just one part of what gives a website the complete, cohesive look that it needs to keep users coming back. Font choice, picture choice and placement, artistic elements, functionality, and more all play a part in creating a well designed, user-friendly, engaging website. Whenever you are ready to start deciding what elements you need for your web design project, contact us! We're located in Southern Indiana in New Albany, Indiana, right next door to Louisville, Kentucky, and we're able to help anyone else, no matter where you are!

web design
visual communication
color theory