It’s a colourful world, and when it comes to choosing colours for a website there’s a lot of psychology involved – web designers know that the right colour combinations can actually increase conversions for a business website or PPC landing page.

Using colour as a communications tool is something not all designers consider when putting a website together – but our creative team at Dentons Digital are well aware that the colour palette and typography are among the most important aspects of website design.

The science of how we see colour is interesting. What our eyes actually receive are reflections from the surface of an object in different wavelengths, which the light receptors in the eye send to the brain, producing our perception of colour.

The psychology of colour is complicated, but it is a fact that exposing people to certain colours triggers actual physiological changes (this is known as chromodynamics). Colours can therefore excite, depress, increase the appetite, make you feel warmer or cooler, and so on. Certain combinations of colours can deceive us by creating illusions, and others can appear to be pulsing or vibrating (an effect known as colour fatiguing).

Studies on the impact of colour show that not only do different colours evoke different feelings and emotions, but our memory retention, attention focus and sense of enjoyment are all affected by colour – and these things are crucial to get right in website design. It’s all part of the quest to instil good UX and UI into a website, using colour to build a content hierarchy and focus attention on key information and calls to action.

Colour Theory

What colour palette you should use to shepherd your web audience into the conversion funnel is dependent on your product or service and what message you are trying to convey. It’s not all about being visually pretty, but rather using colour combinations that evoke the emotional response you want from your users. Then, too, a designer has to take into account the vibrancy and contrast of the colours used. There are some accepted colour theory rules which every good designer knows, such as that brighter colours use more mental energy, a high contrast makes text more easily readable, and that colours from opposite ends of the spectrum create more visual harmony.

We won’t delve too deep into colour theory, but if you consider that there are around 16.8 million colours to choose from when designing a website, you’ll appreciate that picking the right ones is a specialised task. All the available colours originate from the three primary colours – magenta, cyan and yellow (known traditionally as red, blue and yellow).

Getting back to the psychology of colour, here are examples of a few basic accepted meanings for colours that everyone can work with:

RED: Aggressive, passionate, exciting, powerful.

PINK: Feminine, caring, assertive, loving, nurturing.

PURPLE: Regal, grand, opulent, mystical, extraordinary.

BLUE: Calm, dependable, tranquil, strong, reliable.

GREEN: Serene, natural, healthy, growing, safe.

ORANGE: Creative, young, outgoing, enthusiastic.

You may be wondering where black and white fit in with this list of evocative colours. Well, technically, black is the absence of all colours and white is a combination of all of them! Black and white together – known as monochrome – is a combination of complete opposites, but it can convey a powerful message to use them together. Black on its own evokes authority and strength, professionalism and intelligence, while white projects cleanliness, purity and peace.

Besides the emotions evoked by different colours, there’s also the matter of gender to consider. Studies show, for example, that women go for blue, green and purple, but men prefer black and blue. The picture becomes further complicated if you factor in that different colours appeal to different ages, and colour preferences differ between cultures.

It is obvious, then, that when it comes to designing a website to have maximum impact for your business, there’s more to the colour palette chosen than meets the eye! That’s were our expert web designers and developers come in – they’ll use their skills to colour your business website for sales and success.

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