A Guide to Website Colour Schemes (The Psychology of Colour)

A Guide to Website Colour Schemes (The Psychology of Colour) post images
Image courtesy of Christina Rumpf

Written By : Liam Webster

Posted 14/02/2022

Have you ever thought about what your website colour scheme say about you? Colour is an incredibly powerful tool is design. It can affect mood, evoke emotion, and even improve memory.

The psychology of colour – why it matters

In colour psychology, there are values, emotions and even physiological reactions linked with certain colour choices. Humans adore colour, and we tend to have an emotional attachment to different hues (we all have our favourites, right?).

Here are our top three reasons for why colour selection is important:

  1. Visual experiences rule – Vision is the primary source for all human experiences, and over 80% of what we assimilate through the senses is visual.
  2. Colours help people remember – A study shows that 80% of people consider colour to be paramount for recognising a brand. So in brand identity, it plays a major role in how businesses connect with their audience. That’s why we always use colour psychology in web design.
  3. Colour is persuasive – If you want your audience to feel a certain way or take a specific action, colour is your best friend. The right choice of hues can affect both perception and behaviour.

Colour meanings (and how they are used in industries)

When applying colour psychology in web design, there are different colour meanings to consider. Here are just a few colours you may consider for your brand identity and website:

  • Red – A colour that symbolises passion, energy and excitement. It’s also a colour of urgency, making it ideal for call to actions like ‘buy now’. Common industries: Entertainment, Food, Sport, Fire Protection
  • Orange – This is the colour of encouragement and positivity. It represents adventurousness, fun and creativity. Marketers consider orange a colour that appeals to younger people. Common industries: Art, Entertainment, Food, Transportation
  • Yellow – The sunshine hue, yellow represents spontaneity, opportunity and happiness. It’s also known to stimulate the left side of the brain, supporting clear thinking and decision-making. Common industries: Food, Sports, Transportation, Travel, Leisure
  • Green – Harmony, stability and balance spring to mind with green. It’s linked with nature, symbolises growth and health, and brings a feeling of security. Common industries: Environment, Wellness, Real Estate, Non-profit
  • Blue – This is the colour of trust and authority (and the most popular colour for both genders). It is thought to calm and relax people, while representing honesty, loyalty and reliability. Common industries: Security, Finance, Technology, Healthcare, Education
  • Brown – Not the most popular, but some likeable shades like caramel or mocha can bring joy and invoke feelings of comfort, cosiness and stability. Common industries: Construction, Agriculture, Transportation, Legal, Food
  • Black – Power, control and authority come from black. It can be seen as formal, elegant and sophisticated. Or interpreted as secretive and mysterious. Common industries: All industries (mostly used in combination with other colours)

Your website colour scheme can affect your positioning in the market too. For instance, black can denote luxury and high quality.

The same can be said for blue which represents authority, meaning many people trust it. While orange and yellow are considered to be the cheapest looking colours according to a study on consumer emotions. This makes colour an important consideration for a ‘Good, Better, Best’ product strategy.

How to choose the best website colour schemes

While the psychology of colour matters, it’s also important that preferences change over time. If you’re looking to update a tired brand identity or an outdated website, consider current trends. For instance, in 2022 we’re seeing a big increase in monochromatic colours (not necessarily in black and white, but the application of tonal hues).

There’s also growing popularity for natural colours, and simple shades that have been inspired by nature. Such as soothing and herbaceous greens or sky blues and oceanic colours.

When choosing a colour scheme, think carefully about complementing shades. That’s the key to deciding on the best website colour schemes – because colours also interact with one another and can completely alter the meanings once paired. This year it’s all about adjacent colours on the colour wheel, and creating soothing gradients that are comfortable, likeable, and easy on the eye.

Additionally, subjectivity of colour choice has to be considered for your particular market. Because colours hold different meanings to different customer segments and different cultures. For instance, red is often used to indicate emergency, danger and urgency in western culture. But in China, it’s the colour of good luck, celebration and joy.

Partnering with a web design agency

There’s clearly a lot that goes into web design colour selection. It’s important to keep websites updated every few years too, as branding can get stale and web design trends are changing all the time. Sometimes a simple colour change can be enough to give your business a fresh new look…

There’s an interesting case study on Heinz which really shows the power of colour. In an experiment, the brand changed its signature ketchup from red to green, and sold over 10 million bottles in the first seven months, reaching a whopping $23 million (USD) in sales (its highest sales increase to date).

So colour matters. If you need help choosing the best website colour scheme, partner with an experienced agency that is passionate about applying psychology to the art of design!

At Identify Digital, we provide website design services to businesses in the Yorkshire area looking to ramp up online success. We’re based in Wakefield but also offer web design in Leeds, Harrogate and further afield. We’re results-driven and we align our work with your business goals and objectives. By getting to know you, your company, your industry and your customers, we can decide on the right colour and design styles to make your website stand out.

Feeling inspired and looking to give your website a colourful revamp? Identify Digital is a forward-thinking web design agency offering website design in Wakefield, Leeds and the rest of Yorkshire.

To chat ideas, or to find out how we can help, get in touch with our friendly team. Call 01924 911333 or fill in our online enquiry form.

Other posts you may be interested in

Do I need a good Google Pagespeed score?

This story starts back in 2014. Identify had just started to find its feet, we’d expanded into a bigger office, acquired some sizable projects and a couple of quality retainers, the Arctic Monkeys hadn’t started doing awkward lounge music, things were going well.

Read more