The Emotional Use of Colors on Your Website

by Brian Farrell March 3rd, 2011 

With the mass acceptance of social networking, the choice of colors on your website and logo are certain to make a stronger emotional connection with those making social referrals.

Colors create different impressions and moods, so it's important to understand the meanings of common colors:

Red

red

Usually used to represent power and aggression, red also means love, especially when mixed with pink.

Historically, red represented blood and was often a sign of danger (think about it — stop signs and stop lights are red, if you don't heed them, you'd be in danger).

Pink

pink

A very feminine color, and oftentimes is part of what symbolizes love of women by men.

Also a very quiet and calming color.

Orange

orange

A warm color, representative of summer.

When mixed with brown it can symbolize autumn.

It also has a variety of other strong meanings related to business, such as ambition, success, or goals. It also can represent justice or legal matters, or happiness and new beginnings.

Brown

brown

This color represents earth, it's often mixed with orange or yellow to represent autumn. In other contexts, it might stand for strength, togetherness, productivity and hard work (think of UPS' "What can brown do for you?" slogan).

Gold

gold

Usually, this color represents wealth or riches. However, it's also a masculine color and represents power. It can be used with other bright colors to represent playful humor.

Blue

blue

Shades of blue are among the most relaxing colors to look upon. Cool and calming, blue often represents the sky or the sea. It could also connote love, trust and devotion.

Green

green

The color of nature. However, darker shades of green have a completely different meaning"that of money, success and power.

Today, nearly all computers and devices display potentially millions of shades of colors. This list is just a small sampling of the more popular shades found on websites and logos. Make the right first impression"not with your words, but with your choice of colors.

Brian Farrell

Brian Farrell is the Managing Consultant @ FINDtheCLIENT - a sales consulting organization providing interim sales leadership as well as training, recruitment & sales coaching for B2B sales organizations.

FINDtheCLIENT

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8 Responses to “The Emotional Use of Colors on Your Website”

  1. [...] an very interesting post that could apply to color choice testing: The Emotional Use of Colors on Your Website. [Thanks Kikolani for tweeting this today. If you haven't read her blog, you're missing [...]

  2. Srikanth AD says:

    As an open ended question, do you think it's possible to retain the branding and stature of a website like facebook, Twitter or YouTube even after completely transforming the color set it is based on.

    For instance, changing the blue color on facebook to green or YouTube to blue ..

    • Ruud Hein says:

      Changing colors, logo's, layouts — changing anything that means something to others in the relation carries with it a risk.

      I like Google's way of doing it: slowly but surely change things. A bit here, a bit there.

      Complete, dramatic overhauls are very good to make a big SPLASH and have press and community talk about you :) It's online drama :)

    • Dramatic changes like you mention would only create, as Ruud says, online drama. And probably not the good kind.

      The only company I can think of that changed their logo's colors, and went on to incredible success, was Apple.

  3. Julie says:

    Hi, Brian. I'm curious as to what the colors yellow, purple, black and white repesent, what their message is, and what their impact on a site could be. Is there a specific reason why they are not included in this list? What do you think of Web sites whose designs are dominated by these shades?

    • Julie – no deliberate oversight. My thoughts on each color: yellow elicits a warming effect; purple evokes royalty; black means strength and authority and white dignifies purity. These four are powerful colors to use on a website.

      White and black are so basic, it's hard to find a website not using both. But purple and yellow are challenging — different shades mean very different things (think mustard-yellow vs. bright yellow or light purple vs. very dark purple).

  4. [...] an very interesting post that could apply to color choice testing: The Emotional Use of Colors on Your Website. [Thanks Kikolani for tweeting this today. If you haven't read her blog, you're missing out.] 3 [...]

  5. [...] an very interesting post that could apply to color choice testing: The Emotional Use of Colors on Your Website. [Thanks Kikolani for tweeting this today. If you haven't read her blog, you're missing out.] [...]