Web Design and the Psychology of Colors

Web design is not an easy task, especially if what you need is to create a business website in plain HTML, with a very simple layout, easy to navigate, fast loading and, above all, distinctive. To reach this purpose web designers don’t have too many options. Typically all they can do is blend colors harmoniously to create an appealing website that combines attributes of simplicity and logic while providing valuable content.

It is therefore important for any designer to know what colors mean and what subtle message hides within every tone.

Red is the warmest color, passionate and energetic: the color of romance, love and enthusiasm. Red is attention grabbing, alarming or charming: a mixture of paradoxes feelings and sensations. A good web designer understands red and its power: he or she will know where to use this color, how much of red means sales, how much will just drive visitors away. Take a look around and note how red is used on a daily basis: sales tags are red, a red Ferrari is anyone’s dream, a red rose is a passionate declaration of love, a red flag is often associated with war… Red is power, means power, inspires and motivates.

As red, orange is warm, happy and full of life. It’s the color of fire and light. Orange is usually used for websites related to the food industry, but it could also work for lamp manufacturers and other entrepreneurs from the light and energy areas.

Yellow is a dual color. It’s happy and inspiring but many people do associate it with cowardice and jealousy. Use it careful in web design, and never use it for fonts on a white background.

Green means nature, purity and freshness. It symbolizes hope and growth. Usually companies selling herbal products, nutrients and cosmetics use a fresh green – for example lime green – to inspire their visitors. World class companies such as Yves Rocher or Garnier employ green a lot in their web design because they sell products based on natural plant extracts. Used in the wrong context, green might have negative connotations. Money is green – too much green is often associated with greed or poison (Paris Green).

Blue is a already a standard business-to-business color. Navy blue, or dark blue is used for business logos, business suits and so on. Even hospitals and health sites use blue for their design. Light blue symbolizes happiness and Heaven, while some shades of blue are depressing. Use blue carefully for web design.

Violet is an exotic and royal color, associated with wealth, spirituality and meditation. It’s rarely used in web design, because it takes real skill to combine with other colors. Web designers use it mostly for ads and banners, as it grabs attention and calls to action.

White is not a color, but the manifestation of all colors as one. White is associated with purity, divinity, modesty and simplicity. For web design white is the ideal choice. However, although in life, white is complete, online it always needs to be completed with other colors.

Finally, black means the absence of white and the absence of all colors. Although, generally speaking, black has negative meanings (death, mourning, sin) it is still a very elegant color and, combined with the right colors it can make a great enhancement to your website. Anyway… you probably use black as the color of the fonts.