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How to Use Color Psychology in Web Design for Marketing

Most people are visual creatures. That’s why when many of us see an aesthetically pleasing product, we have to buy it.

What do you think makes up a product’s visual appeal? A lot of it has to do with color.

The same is true for web design. Marketers use color psychology to attract their audiences’ attention and stand out among the sea of noise.

We’re going to explore the benefits of using color in web design and uncover a few tips and tricks for using color psychology to drive conversions and sales.

What Is Color Psychology?

Color psychology is the process of using colors to incite action or emotion. Often, visual stimuli influence how we feel and perceive things.

How is this possible? Well, without getting too scientific, there’s a pretty intricate connection between the visual cortex and the limbic system, which regulates emotions in the brain.

That’s why many people can have a strong emotional response just by looking at something, including colors. These include warm colors, cool colors, and neutral colors.

Different colors evoke different human emotions.


We tend to associate red with energy, passion, and excitement. So, red has the power to stimulate the senses and convey feelings of urgency. It’s a dominant color. 

red colors
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Orange is also a vibrant and energetic color. It can evoke feelings of warmth and creativity. Orange is a popular choice for grabbing attention, perfect for times when red’s intensity can be too strong.

Orange colors
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Yellow represents happiness, sunshine, and optimism. When people see the color yellow, they may feel joy and excitement.

yellow colors
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People tend to link green to nature, growth, and harmony. It’s a calming color that symbolizes freshness and balance.

Green colors
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Blue can evoke feelings of peace, trust, and reliability. Like green, blue also has a calmness about it. Companies often use blue in their digital branding to convey professionalism and dependability.

blue colors
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Purple is a versatile color. It can either be calming or stimulating, depending on the shade. Purple often adds a sense of elegance to a design.

Purple colors
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Pink is a soft color. For that reason, it often instills feelings of love, nurturing, and compassion.

Pink colors
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Brown conveys a sense of groundedness and authenticity. People tend to feel warmth, security, and comfort when they see the color brown.

brown colors
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White and black aren’t technically colors. But they still play a key role in color psychology.

The presence of all colors in the light spectrum, white symbolizes purity, cleanliness, simplicity, and innocence. In design, people associate white with minimalism and airiness.

On the other hand, black, the absence of light and color, absorbs all colors on the spectrum. It represents mystery, power, sophistication, and seriousness.

Why Is Color Psychology Important in Web Design?

So, what does this all mean? Why do colors matter so much in web design? Can’t you just choose a nice-looking color scheme and call it a day?

Sure, you can. But you could be missing out on a big opportunity, especially if you’re trying to achieve a certain look or convey a particular message.

Nearly 40% of consumers focus on color schemes when visiting a website. So, when potential customers land on your website, they’ll typically form their first impression of your business based on what they see.

Do the colors go well together? What human emotions do the colors evoke? These are some of the questions marketers and web designers ask when they consider color psychology.

Let’s look at an example.

Adidas heavily uses black and white in its branding. Black helps communicate the brand’s commitment to timeless style and premium quality.

White gives Adidas’ branding and web design a modern look and feel, whether it’s through white space or a hero image.

This sense of timelessness, luxury, and exclusivity is what draws customers to Adidas.

Take a look at the brand’s webpage. Notice how it doesn’t fully rely on black and white to evoke strong emotion. Adidas still incorporates color to bring balance and avoid appearing sterile and cold.

Screenshot of Adidas new arrival page that uses monochromatic colors
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How to Use Color in Web Design

Now, let’s talk about some strategies to use color in web design to ease navigation, create a connection, drive conversions, and improve the overall user experience (UX).

Choose Colors That Reflect Your Brand Personality and Values

Branding can increase a website’s conversion rate by 33%. In a study on logo recognition, 78% of participants were able to recall a logo’s primary color, while only 43% could remember the company’s name.

The moral of the story? Choose colors that make your brand memorable and stand out. And use those colors throughout your marketing materials and strategies, including your website.

It’s okay to vary your colors to keep things interesting and prevent your branding from becoming two-dimensional, but try to keep a general color scheme.

Creating a color palette can help you choose colors that allow you to have creative freedom and set standards at the same time.

The different types of color palettes are:

  • Analogous: Colors that are opposite each other on the color wheel and complement each other well (aka complementary colors).
  • Contemporary: A mix of bold, vibrant hues and light/muted tones to create contrast.
  • Monochromatic: Consists of different shades, tints, and tones of a single color.

Tip: Combine primary colors, secondary colors, and tertiary colors to give your website a dynamic look and feel.

Orange, for example, symbolizes enthusiasm and optimism, which could be perfect for a nutrition program that seeks to inspire optimism in patients.

Form health with orange accents
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However, you can always combine colors. Let’s say this nutrition program wants to create a page dedicated to the weight loss medication Zepbound. They can combine both orange and blue for a better impact.

Combinations of colors
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Consider Your Industry

Because different colors can communicate varying messages and evoke certain emotions, your industry matters.

For example, since blue creates a feeling of trust, a law firm might use this color in its branding and website design.

This divorce mediation firm, specializing in a wide range of areas, such as medication, child custody, and child support, uses blue to demonstrate reliability and trustworthiness.

Blue colors in for divorce firm
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In this type of industry, this is key because clients put their future (and their kids’ future) in the hands of lawyers. And to do that, they need to trust them.

Looking at another example, let’s say a bride-to-be is looking for the perfect wedding bouquet.

What colors do you think the businesses that offer wedding flowers would use? You guessed it: soft, feminine colors like pink or purple.

Screenshot of pink in flower website
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Here are some other examples of different industries and colors that evoke the desired emotion:

  • Red: Fashion, cosmetics, cuisine, relationships, gaming, merchandise, automotive
  • Orange: Drinks, retail, fitness
  • Yellow: Automotive, retail, food, construction
  • Blue: Medicine, science, utilities, government, technology, dental, corporate, construction 
  • Green: Medicine, science, government, human resources, finance, sustainability, tourism
  • Purple: Yoga, education, marketing
  • Pink: Cosmetics, food, retail
  • Brown: Natural and organic products, outdoor creation, coffee and drinks, real estate
  • Gray: Automotive, software and programming, entertainment, construction
  • White: Fashion, restaurants
  • Black: Nightlife, entertainment, technology, fashion

Use Color to Evoke Emotion in Your Target Audience

As you saw in the section above, the colors you incorporate into your website design will depend on the message you want to convey, which strongly relates to your industry.

Now, we can get a little more granular with it by using colors to meet a certain goal or evoke a certain emotion. 

For example, if you run an online cosmetics store, pink is one of your brand’s colors. You also incorporate the feminine color on your e-commerce website to attract women, your primary target audience.

But let’s say you want to build trust because you know that a lot of consumers are hesitant to enter their card information online. So, you decide to incorporate the color blue somewhere. This could be a call to action (CTA) button or a trust badge.

Or, if you want to promote a time-sensitive sale, you might use yellow to draw attention and create a sense of urgency.

Use Color to Influence Conversions

When designing for conversions, color can be a powerful tool to guide user attention and influence their actions. 

Warm hues like red and orange often evoke a sense of urgency, prompting users to take immediate action, such as clicking a call-to-action button. In contrast, cool colors like blue and green can convey a sense of trustworthiness, which is crucial for building user confidence and encouraging conversions.

Take the example of Dyte, a react video SDK platform. Dyte’s website prominently features a clean, white background that creates a minimalist, modern aesthetic. 

The primary call-to-action buttons are styled in a vibrant blue, aligning with the brand’s color palette and helping these important elements stand out and capture the user’s attention. 

CTA button colors
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This strategic use of color helps to highlight Dyte’s key offerings and drive users towards desired conversion actions, such as signing up for the platform.

Conduct A/B Tests for Colors

You can make an educated guess about the colors that might resonate with your target audience. 

But there’s a way to make you feel more certain about your color choices, and that’s by conducting A/B tests.

Just choose a specific website element you want to test. That could be your CTA, headline, background color, or any other essential element you believe color could impact.

Then, create different variations of the element. Each should have a different color scheme to see which one gets the best response from your audience.

Split your website traffic so that some of your site visitors will see one color scheme (the control group) and the rest will see another (the experimental group). Evaluate the performance of each variation.

If one variation significantly outperforms the other, consider using it permanently on your website.

Select the Right Color Combos to Improve Site Navigation

Use colors to create visual hierarchies and guide users through your website. Implement bright hues and contrasting shades to draw the eye to important elements and drive action.

Notice how Shopify uses white text against a dark background overlay to draw users’ attention to its marketing message. This is a wonderful use of a monochromatic color scheme. 

You can also see that the menu options and the CTA buttons are white so that potential customers know exactly what to click to reach the desired page.

Shopify uses white text against a dark background overlay to bring users’ eyes to its marketing message.
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Colors are everywhere. They’re in the clothes we wear, the food we eat, the places we go, and the products we buy.

They’re also on the websites we visit. These hues, shades, and tones influence how we feel, how we act, and what we see.

Are you using accent colors in web design to serve a certain purpose or incite emotion? If so, then you’re already taking the first step to using color psychology in marketing and design.

What color combinations will you use on your next web project?

Featured image by Mario Gogh on Unsplash

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