If your neighbor won the lottery, would you be yellow with envy? You might if you were German, where it is yellow, and not green, that is associated with jealously. Throughout the world, different cultures attach different meanings to color, and while some researchers say the specifics of color psychology is iffy at best, studies show it is evident that color has an effect on marketing.
Consumers decide within 90 seconds whether or not they want to purchase a product. About 62 to 90 percent of this assessment is influenced solely by color. Prudent use of various colors can go a long way to separate a product from its competitors, according to researcher Satyendra Singh of the Department of Administrative Studies of the University of Winnipeg.
What does this mean for website design? It means you should consider what I call the “triple – A’s:”audience, attitude and accessibility.
Let’s paint the bigger picture. When considering your website design colors you should:
• Work closely with your web designer. Be sure to communicate clearly, expressing what you hope to accomplish with your website.
What’s your favorite color? If you’re a woman, there’s a 58 percent chance that you said either blue or purple. Men tend to prefer blue, green and black.
Your audience should be the primary consideration when selecting a color for your website, brand, or logo. If you’re focusing on the global marketplace, remember that color and religion are closely intertwined. Businesses cannot afford to ignore even the most subtle effect that color may have on its clientele. If you’re marketing to a multicultural or global audience, you may wish to have different versions of your website or pick a color that is more culturally neutral.
Selecting a color appropriate to your audience is only half the story. Another consideration should be given to what “feel” or attitude the site should convey.
Here’s a great example: blue regularly pops up in the “favorites” category. It’s one of the most popular color choices for logos and businesses because research consistently indicates that blue is associated with trust, loyalty (as in a “true blue friend”) and security. In spite of this, blue should never be used for anything related to food. Studies have shown that the color blue works as an appetite suppressant—to the extent that dieters use blue plates to help prevent overeating.
Always consider what type of “attitude” you want to convey with your website and select the color associated with that particular facet. Following is an abbreviated list of the psychology of colors as it relates to marketing (in Western culture).
- Red: Excitement, youthful, bold
- Orange: cheerful, friendly, confident (and one of our personal favorites. Here’s why…)
- Yellow: optimism, clarity, warmth.
- Green: peaceful, growth, health
- Blue: trust, dependability, strength
- Purple: creative, imaginative, wise
In addition, remember that around 8 to 10 percent of the male population is colorblind. Those aren’t large numbers, but if your product is marketing primarily toward men, then color may be worth considering when creating call-to-action buttons.
When selecting a color theme for your website, be sure to pick one that is culturally sensitive to the needs of your audience, conveys an attitude you want associated with your business, and one that is accessible, and therefore complements the overall design.