What is Color Theory and Why Is It Important to Your Website?

It’s no secret that looking at different colors causes you to feel an array of emotions. For instance, whether you realize it or not, your sub-conscious reacts differently to the color green than it does to blue. Green is refreshing and invigorating, while blue is tranquil and steadfast. There is a psychological explanation behind how our brains react to color. This explanation is embodied in the Color Theory of design.

So, what is color theory? Basically, color theory is “how color affects the mind” according to an article in leadwithprimitive.com. The author goes on to say, “When it comes to websites, in particular, color theory determines how various color decisions or combinations can dictate how the user interacts with your website.”

Various colors evoke a wide range of emotions from the targeted user. For instance, the color red, embodies power, passion, or excitement (Is it any wonder why two of the most successful brands in America—Target and Coca-Cola—use red as the dominant color in their color scheme?). On the other hand, when a user sees blue incorporated into a website, it elicits feelings of peacefulness, security, or dependability (Think Blue Cross Blue Shield, the health insurance company).

There are two reasons why it’s important to consider and incorporate the color theory when designing your website:

  • It streamlines the user experience
  • It increases brand recognition and loyalty

It Streamlines the User Experience

By incorporating certain colors into your color scheme, you’re trying to evoke particular emotions from your users depending on what product or service your website is trying to sell. In other words, using the color red wouldn’t be very effective when trying to sell health insurance. Alternatively, if your market is lawn care, it wouldn’t be smart to use any shade of brown in your graphics. Keeping your target audience in mind will help you determine what color route you need to use in your web design.

How will you know what colors to use for your brand? This is a bit more complicated than just picking out what “looks good.”  It requires some graphic design knowledge and marketing expertise. But, to put it simply, the best color schemes can be found in nature. According to an article about color theory design published on Hubspot, “Nature is the best example of colors that complement each other.” From the blue and white of the sky, to the rich browns and greens of the forest, to the dynamic reds, oranges and yellows of changing autumn leaves, nature provides us with the most emotional and thought-provoking color schemes imaginable.

In summary, you want your customer’s experience to be as streamlined as possible when clicking through your site.  You also want your color scheme to move them organically through the site with the sole purpose of eliciting a positive response to your brand.

It Increases Brand Recognition and Loyalty

Think about your favorite brands. I’m sure you can envision them in your mind as clearly as if you were looking directly at them. For example, we’re all aware of Starbucks’ iconic green and white logo. It’s become easily recognizable and synonymous with great coffee (depending on who you talk to). The colors of their brand cause the loyal consumer to crave that Grande Soy Vanilla Latte whenever they see it. A brand’s colors sub-consciously command a response.


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