In a study by the Institute for Color Research, the average person makes a subconscious judgment about a product, website color scheme, or brand within 90 seconds of first exposure to it. Talk about the importance of first impressions…
As visual creatures, one of the main things that stick out to us about a website, in addition to the font of a webpage, the layout, imagery, is the color scheme present in the logo and on the page. Different colors subconsciously trigger certain emotions in us, and certain colors go better together than with others.
Website color schemes have the ability to generate a positive impact on the visitors to your website or target audience of your brand. You want the user who visits your site to feel comfortable taking action and positive about your brand. Even if users don’t realize how important colors are, it is often a subconscious reaction.
Different colors symbolize and evoke different emotions. So when choosing the colors to represent your brand and website color schemes, it is important to decide exactly what your brand is trying to convey and who your target audience is.
Common website colors and what they represent
White/Silver — White/Silver is often used to convey sophistication, style, and class. Some of the most sophisticated and high-end brands use this clean and monotone color to represent them. One of the most famous is Apple, widely regarded as being an industry thought leader and representing high quality design and form.
RED — Red is often used for excitement, entertainment, and in high-energy. Red is also commonly used as a strong call to action color. ESPN uses red for their logo to create excitement and energy.
YELLOW — Evokes a happy, cheerful, and creative vive. It is often used in products that are targeting children. Snapchat used yellow in a positive way, seeking to attract a large, diverse crowd and give off a comfortable and fun feeling.
When choosing a color for your brand or website, it is important to think of your target audience not only in terms of what they are looking for, but also what they need. If your target audience is older folks, yellow can often strain the eyes and inhibit readability. It is recommended to use dark or black text in most instances to give contrast. Also keep in mind people with visual impairments.
GREEN — Green is often used to convey health, safety, and freshness. Whole Foods is an example of a brand that uses green in their logo to convey a mix of freshness, health and nature.
BLUE — Blue is often used to convey honesty and trust. Regarded as soothing and dependable, blue is approachable and known to relax web users. Many social media sites use blue, including Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. It is a pleasing color for a site that someone plans to be on for long periods of time.
Your brand identity should consist of one of these colors that will be the main color representing your brand (Coca-Cola is represented by red; McDonald’s is represented by yellow). Once you have this color, choose four (max) additional colors to build your palette. There are various tools that can help you find colors that complement your primary color (for example, this Adobe Color Wheel and this free color scheme generator). For reference, you could also bookmark and save the guide below.
One of the most important colors in your brand is your CTA color. It is a best practice to choose a color that is the opposite of your primary color on the color wheel. This will be a color that completely contrasts with your primary color and stands out on a page. This color should be used as your CTA color to draw attention to any action you want the user to take. This color should be an additional color on your palette, to be used sparingly and only in situations where you want the user to take action. This will train the user to associate this color with invitations to take an action.
Consistency is crucial when it comes to your brand, so it is important to implement your color palette across all of your branded items.