Color is part of a brand`s DNA (or it should be!).
Consumers, viewers, people in general absorb in their brains colors faster than they perceive visuals, and then text.
This of course applies to both the creative in Ads as well in Digital and Social Media pages, aiming at better conversion or recalling rates.
I am not able to tell you scientifically whether a Website with the right colours can convert better if it has a thought-through UX and UI, or colours. However I am positive that a combination of UX/UI and the right colours would enable faster, better conversions and/or recalling regardless whether your site or Ad objectives were focused on being mainly informative or commercially driven.
“Color is the place where our brain and the universe meet.” Paul Klee
Color can sway thinking, change actions, and cause reactions.
It can irritate or soothe your eyes, raise your blood pressure or suppress your appetite. When used in the right ways, color can even save on energy consumption.
The Psychology of Colors and how it affects conversion (in general): credit to KISSmetrics
Like we are universally used to the meaning of colours in a traffic light, colours though have different perceptions per product, service, logo architecture, and in general any medium in each country.
What are some of the more universal rules?
- Three colors is the best number to use in single document.
- One color grabs less attention than two; more than four detracts from the message.
- Yellow and black attracts more attention than any other color combination.
More often than people might think. Personal preferences rather than science or AB testing dictates the psychology of colors. And it often highly depends on the objectives of your communication as well as the audiences you are addressing/targeting. For instance purple might attract better gen Y in a specific country/market yet alienate everyone else.
How to find the right colors
To avoid the mistake of letting personal taste dictate color choice, there are three steps to determine the best color to improve retention, productivity and generate significant financial returns:
1. Analyze the timeless psychological effects of a color. This is easier than it sounds. Start by thinking about the evolutionary roots of a color – the context of a color before civilization introduced contemporary meanings. For example, if you are creating a document about your company’s financial growth, green is a strategic choice because it was first associated with thriving vegetation and renewal. A document designed to convince customers that your company is trusted and dependable should incorporate blue — the color of the sky – the one constant in our life
2. Evaluate the traditional colors used in your business sector. The best way to do this is to make a list of well-known businesses or products in your area and review their color choices in logos and marketing pieces. Once you have some basic color use facts, consider whether these colors are overused. Next, focus on your target customers. Are your customers more conservative and therefore more receptive to the traditional colors? Can a radically different color palette inject new life into your business communication? Take this research into consideration when selecting your color choice.
3. Consider an acceptable color alternative or a shift away from traditional colors. Some of the largest brands have made bold color choices. For example, look at H&R Block. It’s worth noting that H&R Block’s green broke the blue tradition for financial institutions and signaled a forward-thinking brand and fresh approach to their market. If you want to apply this to your business, consider whether a radical color will successfully communicate to your targeted audience. In some cases, “fun” colors – such as hot pink – might work to call attention to an upcoming sale or event, but if you take it too far, “shock and awe” colors might backfire.
Color accents are another way to achieve a distinct compelling color strategy. FedEx is a great branding example that demonstrates an understanding of timeless symbolism, alternatives and accents. The company selected a traditional green for their ground services and distinct red/orange for their faster and more powerful express services.
o what`s in a color? Plenty of emotion
Marketers and graphic designers have long known that color plays a major role in the success of any marketing campaign. Specific colors tend to stir certain emotions in customers, thus creating brand relevance and motivating purchases.
The following lists of top 10 colors that increase sales, along with the specific emotions they evoke.
Red is the color of power. It gets people’s attention and it holds it, which is why it’s the most popular color for marketing. Just don’t overdo it!
When you want to be viewed as trustworthy and cool, blue is the color for you. Mix blue with complimentary colors for best results.
Vying for the attention of a young female demographic? You can’t go wrong with pink. It’s fun, frilly and totally female.
Yellow is a powerful color, but it is also the most dangerous hue. Use yellow to command your audience’s attention, and let them know you’re confident in your abilities.
Green is a versatile color. It is warm and inviting, lending customers a pleasing feeling. Second, it denotes health, environment and goodwill. Finally, green is the color of money, so it creates thoughts of wealth.
Purple is the color of royalty, which makes it perfect for lending a touch of elegance and prestige to your marketing materials.
Gold is likewise elegant and prestigious, but adds an element of power purple can’t match. In combination with purple or green, gold is a powerful color that symbolizes wealth and pedigree.
Orange is energy. It has powerful attention-getting properties, it’s fun and cool, and it makes customers feel as though they’re dealing with a cutting-edge company.
Brown, an earthy tone, is known as a comfort color, lending relaxation to customers.
Black is another highly versatile color. It can be modern or traditional, exciting or relaxing. Used as a contrasting color, black most often adds drama to whatever mood you want to cast.
Many of the most recognisable brands in the world rely on color as a key factor in their instant recognition.
Brands and color are inextricably linked because color offers an instantaneous method for conveying meaning and message without words.
The JAL (Japan Airlines) image has several components: The bird symbolises flight and the color red communicates power. Red also symbolises good luck in Asia. The circle and the color red reference the flag of Japan. Therefore, the brand image communicates powerful air transportation from a Japanese company — and good luck with the journey.
The AT&T image is an award-winning design. The globe symbolizes a world circled by electronic communications. More specifically, the symbol is made up of very carefully delineated ‘highlight’ and ‘shadow’ elements. As a result, the symbol may be reproduced to give the impression of a three-dimensional sphere that is lighted from a distance source.
The UPS (United Parcel Service) image is an excellent example of how a single color communicates meaning. Brown symbolizes dependability and solidity. (It is not a snobby color; it is not high technology; brown is grounded in the earth.)
Most of the most recognisable brands in the world rely on color as a key factor in their instant recognition. Below are snapshots of twenty of the world’s most recognisable brand marks cropped to show a clear representation of their brand colours, but only a fraction of their logo architecture use colours as a primary visual driver!!
Test yourself to see how many of the brands you can identify with color:
The last few universal suggestions:
Men don’t like purple, orange, and brown. Men like blue, green, and black.
If you’re marketing to men, these are the colors to stay away from: purple, orange, and brown. Instead, use blue, green, and black. These colors — blue, green, and black — are traditionally associated with maleness. However, it comes as a slight surprise to some that brown isn’t a favorite pick.
Women don’t like gray, orange, and brown. They like blue, purple, and green.
The sociological differences between color preferences is a whole branch of study unto itself.
Use blue in order to cultivate user’s trust.
Blue is one of the most-used colors, with good reason. A lot of people like blue.
Read the literature on blue, and you’ll come across messages like
- The color blue is a color of trust, peace, order, and loyalty.
- Blue is the color of corporate America and it says, “Chill . . . believe and trust me . . . have confidence in what I am saying!”
- Blue calls to mind feelings of calmness and serenity. It often is described as peaceful, tranquil, secure, and orderly.
There is wide agreement in the research community on the psychological effects of the color blue. Its subtle message of trustworthiness and serenity is true. You can use this to your advantage on your website and landing pages.
The world’s biggest social network is blue. For a company whose core values are transparency and trust, this probably is not an accident.
A company that serves as a conduit for billions of dollars, PayPal, also prefers the color blue. Chances are, this helps to improve their trustworthiness. If they were to try, say, red or orange as the theme color and branding, they probably wouldn’t have the same level of conversion.
Blue is, in fact, a color heavily used by many banks. Here’s CapitalOne.com
Black adds a sense of luxury and value.
The darker the tone, the more lux it is, says our internal color psychology. Black is often described as “elegance, sophistication, power”. which is exactly what luxury designers and high-end e-commerce sites want you to feel. Black as the color of “timeless, classic” which helps further explain the use of black in high-value products.
Don’t neglect white.
In most of the color psychology material I read, there is a forgotten feature. Maybe that’s because color theorists can’t agree on whether white is a color or not. I don’t really care whether it is or not. What I do know is that copious use of white space is a powerful design feature. Take, for example, the most popular website in the world. It’s basically all white:
White is often forgotten, because its primary use is as a background color. Most well-designed websites today use plenty of white space in order to create a sense of freedom, spaciousness, and breathability.
The Internet is a colorful place, and there is a lot that can be accomplished by using color in the right way, at the right time, with the right audience, and for the right purpose.
Naturally, this article leads to questions about making changes in your company’s context. What about if your company has a specific color style guide? What if the logo color dictates a certain tint? What if the lead designer dictates color requirements? How do you deal with that?
You may not be in a position to rewrite your style guide and pick your own website color palette or font colors on the email template. So, how can you use color psychology in these situations? There are a few options:
- If the colors really suck, campaign for change. In some situations, you may need to make a difference. If you’re a high-heel designer selling to upscale women, but have a crappy orange logo, share your concerns with the decision-makers. People sometimes make stupid color decisions. Kindly show them why and how a killer color scheme can make a conversion difference.
- Use psychology-appropriate colors that match the existing color scheme. Sure, you need to adapt to the color scheme, but you can still use a splash of strategic color here and there. Let’s say, for sake of example, that you have a blue-themed website. Fine. You can create a popup to harvest email addresses, and use a bright yellow button. The button is psychology-appropriate, and it doesn’t do damage to the company’s color branding.
The more freedom you have in your color scheme, the better. Here are some solid takeaways as you implement color psychology into your website:
- Test several colors. Despite what some may say, there is no right color for a conversion text or button. Try a green, purple, or yellow button. Explore the advantages of a black background scheme vs. a white background. Find out which works best for your audience and with your product.
- Don’t just leave color choice up to your designer. I have enormous respect for most web designers. I’ve worked with many of them. However, don’t let your designer dictate what colors you should use on your website. Color is a conversion issue, not just an “Oh, it looks good” issue. Color aesthetics is not everything. Color conversion effects are important! You should be heavily involved in the color selection of your landing pages in order to improve your conversions.
Avoid color overload. I’ve just spent over 3,000 words telling you how important and awesome color is. Now, you’re going to go out and color something. But don’t go overboard.
REMEMBER White is a color, and it should be your BFF color, too. Like the pause is a sound in Music.
Reign in your color enthusiasm with a whole lot of white. Too many colours can create a sense of confusion.
This article was written by Giovanni Montesanti; partly using research from various sources but mainly an article by Jeremy Smith, Brian Morris, Jill Morton, Cassandra Gill & studies from Xerox, Pinterest and Color Matters global survey.