What is color psychology, and why is it important?
Have you ever noticed how specific colors can impact your mood? Or how some colors can make you feel calm and relaxed? We can assure you, you are not alone.
Color psychology studies how different colors affect human behavior, perception, and emotional responses. Findings suggest that different colors evoke different responses that can then be influenced by factors such as age and cultural background.
Understanding color theory and psychology is a vital part of Webflow design. Understanding the psychological effects of different colors help designer influence mood and physiological reactions. Successfully leveraging the right colors can help brands convey messages and emotions to attract and engage specific audiences. For example, a designer will choose the color red to promote a big promotion or the color yellow in a children's toy to convey cheerfulness and fun. By considering the psychological effects of color, designers can effectively use color to communicate and evoke desired emotions and responses in their work.
The psychological effects of color
To learn how to leverage the psychological effects of color, you must understand the distinction between color symbolism and psychology.
Color symbolism is the associations we form around specific colors because of cultural, religious, and life experiences. Simply put, different cultures associate different meanings with particular colors, and these associations can vary depending on context.
The color red, for example, is often associated with love and passion in western culture, but in China is associated with happiness and long life. The color white may be associated with purity and innocence, but it can also be associated with death or mourning.
As you can see, the perception of colors is subjective from culture to culture. Here is the list of symbolic meanings that are often associated with different colors:
- Red: Passion, excitement, love, anxiety, health, power, protection, strength, arousing, and life.
- Pink: Soft, reserved, earthy, charming, cheerful, feminine, gentle, nurturing, sincere, soft, and sophisticated.
- Purple: Mysterious, noble, glamorous, authentic, sensual, stately, upper class, exclusive, spiritual, regal, and charming.
- Blue: Wisdom, hope, reason, peace, comfort, competence, coolness, dignified duty, efficiency, logic, reflection, security, serenity, trust, and tenderness.
- Green: Nature, growth, freshness, calm, comfort harmony, health, hope, nature, outdoorsy, peace, prosperity, and relaxation.
- Yellow: Hope, joy, danger, arousing, cheerful, confidence, creativity, excitement, friendliness, happiness, optimism, self-esteem, and spirit.
- Orange: Warmth, kindness, joy, arousing, comfort, daring, excitement, extraversion, friendliness, happiness, fun, and spirited
- White: Truth, indifference, calm, clarity, cleanness, down to earth, happiness, innocence, purity, sincerity, hones, heavens, and hygiene.
- Black: Noble, mysterious, cold, elegant, powerful, ruggedness, tough, efficient, glamour, innocent, soothing, tender, hygienic, and calm.
Color psychology studies the feelings specific colors evoke in us. Designers can use colors as the core element of the emotional and cognitive impact on the target audience.
However, Flux Academy makes an excellent point on the strategic use of strategic in design. Their takeaway is that color always needs context to have a specific association with target users. Webflow designers must thus create a context for brand color by using layout, typography, and imagery.
A big part of creating a successful business is finding market fit and understanding your audience. The purpose of Web design is to enhance value and attract prospective clients. To get ahead of the competition and create a website that converts, you must understand how to pick the right color for your branding.
Depending on your audience, different colors will bring different results. Based on their age, gender, and cultural background, users have different perceptions and reactions to colors.
Did you know that as we age, we slowly lose the ability to perceive different colors? Findings show that color preferences change from early childhood to adulthood. Your target audience's age will thus play an important role when considering the right color for your marketing materials and Webflow design.
A study comparing native Germans aged 19-90 years and their color preferences shows blue as the most desirable and yellow as the least desirable color throughout life. An interesting finding also shows the popularity of green and red with advancing age.
Young children can be very easily overstimulated, meaning you should avoid bright and strong colors when engaging with them. Their comfort colors are pinks, peaches, pale almond beiges, and lavenders since these equate to love and security.
Teenage years are mostly associated with rapid emotional and physical changes. Most teenagers go through an identity crisis and prefer colors like black to hide their emotions. Teenagers prefer strong, vibrant colors such as red, citrus green, and purple.
The elderly audience often feels lonely, meaning they like colors that address warmth, security, and harmony. They prefer soft pastel colors that help bring up the energy and mood.
Women prefer pink, and men prefer blue. It is that easy. We might think there are gender differences that are obvious, but the study finds mixed results. James Owen writes for National Geographic News that women are better at discriminating among colors, while men have better attention to detail. Those differences may be rooted in hunting and gathering.
Studies show that men prefer bright and contrasting colors, and women prefer softer shades and pastel colors. Both men and women like blue and green, but many women adore purple while this color repels men.
Last but not least, another factor that influences how we perceive colors is our cultural background. In Japan, purple represents wealth and power, but in Ukraine, it signifies trust and patience. Red evokes excitement, urgency, and love in Western countries. In China, red symbolizes luck and happiness. In some parts of Eastern Europe, red can still evoke associations with communism.
As you can see, the symbolism of one color can drastically change from country to country. Sometimes perceptions can vary even from region to region. There is no universal rule to pick the right color that will be the best for all your audiences.
Webflow designers must understand their audience and how they perceive different colors. To avoid misconceptions, they must put color in the right context. They can achieve this by picking culturally appropriate copy, fonts, and imagery.
Leverage color to boost conversions
Understanding color psychology is one of the most popular ways to boost conversions. Colors are the first thing we see on a site and grab the attention of our visitors. Appropriate colors make the CTA stand out and encourage clients to convert.
Once the user land on your page, the first thing they see are the colors. Studies show that it takes users less than two-tenths of a second to form a first impression. It takes up to 3 seconds to see the area of a website that most influences their first impression. You can see that you have a thin window to convince them to stay on your page.
The correct use of colors can help you increase the chances of getting visitor attention and making them stay on your Webflow page.
First, use contrasting colors. When users scan through your page, they want to convey information as quickly as possible. Meeting accessibility standards will make your site more user-friendly and will thus keep them engaged from top to bottom.
For your CTA, choose the colors that will stand out from the rest of the webpage. This will help it catch the eye of visitors and draw their attention to the CTA. You can use WebAIM to see if your background and foreground colors have a sufficient contrast ratio.
Visitors will explore your page and site messaging that captured their attention. Color must be a supporting asset to your copy to keep the visitors engaged and hooked. This is where color psychology comes in. Appropriate use of colors can evoke different emotions and associations. For example, red is often associated with urgency or excitement, while green is associated with calmness and nature. Choose a color for your CTA that aligns with the desired emotion or association you want to evoke.
The next thing to keep in mind is how you use your vibrant and catchy colors. Use them sparingly. Using too many colors or using very bright or bold colors can be overwhelming and may actually distract from the CTA rather than drawing attention to it.
Understanding color psychology is a fundamental skill for every Webflow designer. Applying this knowledge helps designers create cohesive, visually appealing websites that attract desired audiences.
Color theory investigates how people perceive color and how color can alter mood and emotions. Choosing the right color can thus help create the desired tone and atmosphere. The color red may create a sense of urgency in the western world, but it may evoke a feeling of happiness in China.
Additionally, strategically using the right colors can help you attract customers and improve conversions. By using contrasting colors or colors that stand out from the rest of the webpage, you can guide the visitors toward the most important parts of your site.
All in all, the effective use of color can greatly impact the user experience and effectiveness of a website. By understanding color theory and how to use color effectively, designers can create visually appealing, emotionally impactful websites that effectively convey their desired message.