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The Psychology of Colour in Web Design

The importance of colour in web design is often understated. It has been scientifically proven that colour has a significant influence on the viewer psyche. Colour acts as a powerful visual stimulus which can have an impact on visitor buying habits. At Inovica we build our websites to incorporate this, in combination with the many other important aesthetic conditions required to make a visually appealing and successful website.
 
According to colour psychologists, colour impression can account for more than 50% of the acceptance or rejection of a product or service. They say you can’t judge a book by its front cover, but the statistics show that many customers do just that most of the time. An immediate visual impact is important in drawing attention, and colour is the first thing that registers in the mind of the viewer - certainly before any text is read.
 
Whether creating a new website or a design for print, colour is of huge importance. At Inovica, we know how essential it is that every design is tailored individually for optimal success. The target market needs to be considered for the particular subject area, and different colours attract different types of people. There is no one ‘master’ colour, but each colour has its own distinctive character.
 
Red is a bold and exciting colour which can also create a feeling of desire. Orange goes well with enthusiasm but also has a link to affordability. Yellow gives an aura of contentedness and comfort, but it is also lively and attention-grabbing. Green is a peaceful colour which has, in general, proven successful for websites of a natural orientation. Brown implies a humble, earthy richness, while blue commands depth, stability and a calm authority. Purple goes hand-in-hand with luxury and nobility. Grey is an unexciting colour, but does particularly well when mixed with other more vibrant colours, and black also implies professionalism and formality. White can help to create a feeling of innovation and modernism but also peace and simplicity.
 
The key is to get the right people interested, so a number of factors need to be considered in choosing the right colour. It certainly depends on what you’re trying to promote and who you’re trying to attract, but colour can also have a more subliminal effect on buying tendencies. For example, impulse shoppers tend to respond best to red and royal blue, while careful shoppers who plan ahead have been found to favour pink and light blue. There is a whole science behind the psychology of colour with specific reference to buying habits.
 
An appropriate colour scheme helps to generate confidence in what you’re offering, and it is an oft underestimated tool of customer conversion. If you are interested in further reading on the psychology of colour and related theories, we can recommend a few books:
 
The Beginner's Guide to Colour Psychology is a great basic resource for anyone who is interested in this topic. It covers everything from the use of colour in your wardrobe, right through to applications in the workplace and commercial design.
 
Colours for Your Every Mood is a book related to the use of colour in your home, but goes into detail about how colour can impact on your mood and thoughts.
 
If you're really getting into the subject, you have to read Interaction of Color by renowned artist and theorist, Josef Albers. Considered a masterwork of the 20th Century in terms of Albers presenting his unique ideas on colour experimentation.
 
A book that looks at the historical reasoning behind the psychology of colour is Colour and Meaning by John Gage. The study discusses how colour can effect feelings in light of the context in which they are experienced.
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Posted by Adrian, Friday 02nd July 2010

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