Color psychology is an area of research which explores how colors affect human emotions and behavior. The direct applicability of this information to professional marketing has long been known and continues to be a cornerstone of advertising development.
In fact, at its core, advertising is simply the art and science of influencing human behavior via impersonal mediums such as printed ads.
Color psychology, as an area of academic research, lacks a coherent, accepted body of knowledge; however, information gleaned from marketing professionals who have put the principles of color psychology into real-world application, can provide some heavy artillery for your web marketing arsenal.
The following simple color key presents as a primer for understanding how web site color schemes can be employed to influence user behavior. It is important to note that there are sharp contrasts in color interpretation across various cultures, therefore doing your homework on your target market is essential.
Generally emphasizes professionalism when used as a document background. Users are more inclined to read any textual content that is on a white background.
Promotes the appearance of solidity and stability. However it also implies formality, officiousness and inflexibility and consequently should only be used in conjunction with a more visceral color such as red.
Suggests strength and weight, especially in terms of reliability. For example: “What can brown do for you?”
(deeper crimson as opposed to brighter) Best used to call action or convey emotional triggers. Red stimulates action, decision and excitement. Also stimulates appetite.
Promotes a sense of warmth and exuberance. Best used to highlight important information inside other information (such as charts).
(flatter, non-brightening shades) Can be used effectively to lull, relax and gently lead behavior, such as website browsing progression.
Can be used to convey sophistication.
(flatter, non-brightening shades) Select information presented in green is generally followed in its entirety and comprehended well. Green also suggests cleanliness.
(pale) Often conveys and promotes a care-free or worry-free experience. For that reason yellow can often be used effectively on purchase pages. Good for accenting not as a primary document color.
Can make information “heavier” and more serious, therefore more attention worthy.
Colors often identify flavors, brands and individual items. For branding choose colors that are either unique or already have positive associations relevant to your brand.
Incompatible colors can produce a disconcerting or unstable buying environment for visitors.
The use of Safe Colors, or colors which do not dither when viewed with different resolution and monitor color settings is another important consideration.