Most bloggers [me being one of them] don’t have a clue what their website color scheme might be associated with. For me it has been enough that I “like” the overall site look. But as an online entrepreneur and consultant I felt that I needed to know at least the theoretical part [maybe I will come up with some testing in the future]. So being happy to enjoy a few days of free time during the holidays I did some research and got so excited with it that decided to share it here at my blog.
Color is a crucial element of a brand identity. I immediately associate skype with blue color StumbleUpon with green, Yahoo with red (due to its red Y letter in my FF search engine list). Website color scheme can make me to leave immediately or to stay for a minute if it looks appealing. Color evokes positive associations and thus forms my initial opinion of the brand. The choice of your brand color can thus stand for:
- your new visitors’ enrollment and participation (by attracting their attention);
- your brand awareness (by sticking into memory);
- your brand positive or negative associations (by boosting memories of what people like/dislike).
General “Color in Business” Theory:
|GROUP||COLOR||ASSOCIATIONS||NATURE OF ASSOCIATIONS||RECOMMENDED FOR|
|cool (calming)||Blue||secure and trustworthy||sky (therefore universally liked)||business related websites (e.g. banks)|
|Green||wealth (deep green)||money (“the color of success”)||finance related websites (e.g. Forex related)|
|calming (light green)||trees, spring||entertainment and leisure related websites|
|warm (exciting)||Red||grabs attention and makes you energatic
(by activating your pituitary gland)
|power (e.g. red carpet)||eye-catching logos, calls to action|
|Yellow||optimism||sun||attention grabbing (esp. using it in contrast
with other color)
|Pink||energy (hot pink)||feminine color||products for young women|
|romantic (lighter pink)||products for girls|
|Orange||cheerful||citrus fruit||kids’ websites|
|neutral||Black||powerful||“absence of color”||expensive products|
|White||simplicity and purity (catches the eye)||numerous (from brides to hospitals)||health related products|
[based on an article on brand colors and awesome Sensational Color blog]
Facts we should also know about colors:
- Color is a powerful promotional tool;
- Colors should be trendy and catchy (use “colors that pop”);
- Between 60% and 90% of website initial assessment is based on its color.
Here is also the graphical representation of how different colors are associated with trust:
Personal Approach to a Brand Color:
To me color perception is very individual. My favorite color is blue (more often that’s light blue but as a rule I like any variation). Whenever I see a blue thingy, I am going to like it. I don’t really think that’s the matter of “trust” or “security” associations. It’s rather the integral part of my personality. While I was searching for “color meanings” and “brand colors” I came across this pretty little color quiz [the quiz was removed, sadly], and I really liked what I got there:
You might also want to try this quiz and post here if what you got really matched your personality.
Modern Approach to Brand Colors:
Internet has got much brighter recently [have you also noticed that?]. There is no boring fixed color limitations (pink is not only for online women’s magazines and if you are running an online marketing blog, it is not a must that you should choose a dull dark scheme). With numerous funny “colorish” blog templates you browse daily, your eye is accustomed to bright colors and spotting a black and white design or a white-background template is somehow an unusual thing [ probably it can catch a visitor’s eye even more effectively than a colorful website – that is merely my assumption, I have not found any research supporting it].
Web 2.0 (online video, photo sharing, social networks, etc) and blogging changed the overall web color scheme dramatically. Colorful logos and buttons have become a new internet fashion trend – sometimes the eye even gets tired, I would say.
What is the color of social networks? Blue? Red? Maybe the palette of all known colors!
I still don’t think choosing a brand color according to the theoretical approach described at the beginning of the article is the wisest thing to do (though it is worth testing). What is more important is to be consistent and original in colorizing your brand. People will remember your website at first glance if you put a little thought and effort in designing your website. What should be taken into consideration while choosing your brand color, you should remember:
- Color can get people interested in your website;
- Color will make people remember your website;
- Brand color can be a niche marketing tool the way a movie poster finds the movie audience:
Which of these two movies would you prefer to see? 😉
P.S. Thanks to Funkyah for a nice post image.
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Blue… and shades of light blue work for me.
Annie, pass this one on to Susan (Brandcurve). I’m sure she’ll love it!
First time that I have been to your website… It is pretty nice, I will definitely have to come back sometime.
Your site is one of my favorites seen around blog explosion. Keep up the good work.
I enjoy reading your blog. It is great to find someone who can find the fun things in life!
I wish you all the best in all years.
Please take a look at my websites and increase your page rank, traffic as well. I look forward to developing a friendship and networking with you. Let me know if there is something I can do to assist you with your business.
You’ve certainly done your research here! If you want more in depth information about color, check out the International Association of Color Consultants website http://iaccna.org
They have a fantastic accreditation program – you can take your color knowledge to a completely different level. It’s absolutely fascinating stuff, isn’t it?
Coloring is Very important.
that is really cool thanx for sharing such information I love to do it
I always knew I was the playful type, but the orange, gray and white we use was more of an artistic statement.
Nice post Ann, your name fits you well…
You’re right about the colors, I put this webpage on my links toolbar, but for some odd reason I kept clicking on it, maybe because the icon is red.
@Tim: Thanks God it worked! 🙂 Honestly seosmarty favicon was created by myself and from my point of view looks really amateur but I am happy to hear it really works!
@everyone: Thanks for your comments!
I use mostly blue on my website with a red/blue mix on my logo. Then for ads I use red. It’s worked for me so far. I always get comments on how calm and busines-like my website is. Now I just need to fix my blog css and maybe get a new header. heh.
Red, grey and white work for me.
It works well with women too…
I took the color quiz. Funny thing about the result (Sun Kissed). It contains the basic colors of your site (red, black, light yellow) — inviting colors. Is that the reason why you used the colors on your site?
Still learning more about colors and other stuff. I sort of like the logo on my site, now I’m at a loss as to how a can put more of my personality to it.
Wish you can put a “track comments feature” so that people can track the responses to comments.
@ TxTu: Hmmm… a good question! I’ve been thinking about that but couldn’t find time to actually do that. You’ve encouraged me to get down to installing the feature!
As for my blog color, well, like I said, there wasn’t much thinking behind coloring the overall theme, but I did pay attention to header and elements…
My advice to you as per your logo and website… Your logo is great, I wouldn’t change it, but your overall site scheme seems too colorful (it might be attention distracting, you know). I would try to make it a bit more balanced. And try to do a bit of testing to find the best solution…
I don’t know what your point is with that ending note. I would obviously rather see Sweeney Todd, which I think is the opposite of the point you’re trying to make, therefore invalidating it.
This is great! I’ve always known that Color effects the way people view things but to have it broken down like this is great.
We are just redoing our site and I’ll make sure everyone checks this blog out. Thank you!
Interesting post, you might be interested in this article:
The lady seems to suggest that colour is culturally defined. So if you were making a site for a Chinese client you would need a different colour scheme than if you made on for an American client
I use mostly blue on my website with a red/blue mix on my logo. Then for ads I use red. It’s worked for me so far. I always get comments on how calm and busines-like my website is.
Culturally, colours carry different significances. Associations with colour aren’t inbuilt or genetic, and so it’d be wrong to assume that these colour associations would work in the same way for all cultures.
great post. i use light blue on my site for the very same reason. it brings out the trust in my content.
Well i feel it differs with the work/business you are in to.In case of restaurants use red table cloths and accessories so that people dont spent longer time. While using light shades of blue green and even white too, which makes customers sit for long, In turn reducing the sales.
the theories about colour represented here are way too blunt. a blue can be warm, cold, trustworthy, bold, modern, traditional, scary or nice depending on hue. never trust colour theory that include lesser colours than the human eye can tell apart.
Awesome article, thanks! stumbled…
Not sure if you’ve seen this, but you might find it interesting:
Jail cells painted pink to stop repeat offenders. BTW: Excellent article and definitely worth the read/bookmark. Thanks for putting this together!
i think blue is being overused on sites these days… why not more greens or reds or even darker tones of those same colors?
Thanks for your thoughts on branding and colors, and how that all relates back to website design. I’m writing about branding and color all week on my blog, and would love your thoughts or feedback. It’s at http://www.not-just-pretty.com/
very interesting… i’m in the process of writing my business plan and this came in very, very handy. thanks for the post
I thought the pie chart of color representations was a bit off… At least in Puerto Rico, we have a different meanign for the color blue.
Nice article. I studied color for a while as a hobby, and have known it to be very useful in our personal and professional lives. Color determines our mood. It can also make or break a sale!
Loved it, Ann – great to know before designing a blog.
I did know about the blue; hence, it’s the main color on my blog. LOL
However, there are so many different shades of each; I wonder if they all have the same effect or it differs from shade to shade?
My favorite colors are purple and lime green usually with black backgrounds which looks much better to me, than white, so I’m probably going to shock the system of most people here LOL
Took the quiz but I didn’t like any of the colors, dont have kids, and couldn’t recognize the room accents but here’s my take…
Interesting that you find white is out because it seems like that’s the majority of what I see and I’m wondering why with so many hues and variations out there. I prefer rich saturated shades to pastels so it really is very subjective regardless of what the experts say. I do like your use of ivory here as opposed to white.
In business it also comes down to knowing that you’re not a fit for everyone. My market is the artist where anything goes and obviously not for the more conservative minded entities 🙂 And I enjoy being out of the norm.
Be interesting to see a study on how people choose the colors for their sites, right brain vs left balanced with market, type of business, maybe? Thanks for an illuminating topic and discussion!
Great post about color and branding! Choice of color can be very important in corporate identity branding. The mind has so many associations with different colors, you must pinpoint exactly what your target is going to respond to.
I read your blog about the color branding, it was very interesting. I did not notice in your blog you mentioning about why in particularly eyes will choose that color.
I have an explanation for that, Blue is the shortest wavelength, which is highly absorbed by human eye and its not therefore acceptable by mind, immediately they seek for next longest wavelength (Green, Yellow, Orange and Red). Red has the highest wavelength, it is easily accepted by human eye, so its more attractive and easily understandable by brain.
Its how we manipulate the wavelengths, is how we generate brand color management!!
– Udaya Malla
I was unable to access the quiz it took me to a website for pratt & lambert paint and when I searched that site for a color quiz nothing came up.
Sorry! Looks like they removed the quiz. Sadly!
This article was published in 2008? The points made in it are still valid. I’ve never really thought about using colour for my brand and I should give it serious thought. Now I have another thing to add to my list of things to do. That list is becoming very long!