blog

The Importance of Colour Schemes

posted on Monday 9th March, 2020


Did you know that as babies, we do not start seeing in colour until we are around 5 months old, and that red is the first colour we see?

Without us realising, colour is intrinsically linked to how we perceive the world around us, triggering emotions and encouraging us to take certain actions.

Colour is a powerful form of communication; red means “stop”, green means “go”. Without this, public order would be a lot more confusing.

Colour schemes and choices are so important to a brands’ identity. Colour can represent a brand, without even having the name in front of us.

Think of Coca Cola, Facebook and Google – their colour schemes are recognisable across the globe. Cadbury’s even tried to patent their exact shade of purple (Pantone 2685C, as an FYI).

Okay, so what does that have to do with my website?

Colour is one of the most powerful tools we have in website design, as it grabs the users full attention. A slick, clean colour scheme ties a website together and increases user experience, whereas colour schemes that contradict your brand’s philosophy doesn’t go down so well.

This is because different colours convey different messages!

Colour meanings & psychology behind it

  1. RED. The colour of passion and drama. Red is the most attention grabbing colour, and is associated with strong emotions (love, anger and hate). It creates urgency for its viewers. It’s commonly used in entertainment, sports and food industries.
  2. ORANGE. Encouraging, optimistic and adventurous. “Get ready to go” per traffic lights. Orange is a mixture of both red and yellow, creating warmth; it is an inviting colour. Orange tends to appeal to younger people and therefore is used in industries such as art, food and entertainment.
  3. YELLOW. The colour of optimism. It triggers emotions of enthusiasm, opportunity and positivity. Yellow is often used when we want a viewer to feel awake and stimulated; the colour yellow actually stimulates the left side of the brain, helping with clear thinking and decision making. Often used in leisure industries.
  4. GREEN. “go, go, go!” The colour of growth and health, associated with the renewal of life in nature, it has a strong association as a refreshing and peaceful colour. It’s often used in banking, real estate and environment industries. Note banking and real estate trying to link to the idea of growth and health for their customers, making us feel secure
  5. BLUE. The colour of the sometimes-calm sea, it makes us feel at peace. It reduces stress and helps us to feel relaxed. Blue induces feelings of trust, loyalty and responsibility, and this is why it is often used in security, finance and accounting – industries that require a lot of trust from us.
  6. BLACK. Mysterious, powerful and elegant. Why is black mysterious? Because black is the lack of colour. It implies a barrier, that something is being hidden. It signifies control, and although an unfriendly colour, it is still viewed as refined and elegant. Black is used in virtually any industry in combination with other colours.

Colours in practice

So, how can colour psychology be applied into businesses?

For a doctor’s surgery, you probably wouldn’t want to use a red colour scheme, as it indicates strength and intensity. Plus it’s the same colour as blood. Not the best message.

However, a blue or green colour scheme may help to create a sense of calmness, relaxation and peace. This is because we associate these colours with nature.

For a luxury brand, we may opt for a purple colour scheme, as it represents glamour, luxury and power. Violet has been associated with royalty, quality and luxury throughout history.

Cadbury’s is recognised as a high quality, delicious chocolate brand, despite costing as little as 12p per bar to produce; that shows the importance of a good colour scheme!

Colour meaning and the psychology behind it is one of the most useful references to provide you with detailed information, allowing you to identify correctly the best colours and colour schemes for your website.

It is dependant on how you want your customers to feel, and what message you are trying to convey to them.

Colour theories

Understanding basic colour theory is a good place to start when choosing a colour scheme for your business. The colour wheel is made up of 12 colours, broken down into 3 sub-categories; primary colours (you guessed it, red-yellow-blue), secondary colours, and tertiary colours. These are the basics to colour.

Primary colours cannot be created through the mixture of other colours, however secondary colours can be created through the mixture of primary colours. Tertiary colours follow the same method.

But where do we go from there? There are 4 main principles to create the perfect palette; analogous, complementary, monochromatic and triad colour harmonies.

Colour harmonies are extremely important, as these create something which is pleasing to the eye. If the harmony is not balanced, your colour scheme, and therefore website, comes across to the user as boring or chaotic.

The human brain rejects either schemes that are too bland or visuals that are so overdone that the mind cannot process them properly.

Choosing the right colour scheme for your website

If you already have an established brand, great! Stick to these colours and incorporate them with a couple of new colours. This will keep your brand recognisable, but fresh.

It may be helpful to do a little research into colour trends prior to making your website live; this can help you create a website which is innovative and progressive.

The most important thing to consider is your audience. How do you want them to feel when they arrive on your landing page? What actions do you want them to take? What story are you trying to tell them?

A good example of a sophisticated colour palette is The National Waterproofing Group. The stand out colours are hues of blue, white and greys.

Blue is an excellent choice in this circumstance because of the water element to their services. It is also a calming, relaxing colour (“Don’t worry, we can sort all your waterproofing worries!”). Their colour palette cleanly conveys the nature of the services provided and creates an enjoyable user experience.

As mentioned, blue conveys feelings of security, relaxation and a sense of order. This is exactly the type of service The National Waterproofing Group are trying to achieve, and how they want their customers to feel when viewing their website or working alongside them.

Still stuck?

Colour schemes are extremely important for any website. It is the visual output of your business to your audience, so it must be spot on to communicate in the correct way.

There’s nothing worse than putting your heart and soul into a business, then letting a poorly designed website to let you down right at the end.

Make sure your impression is the right one!

Here at Sleeky, we are professional-colour-schemers. Get in touch with us to create your perfect blend today!

Let's Work Together

We are passionate about innovation, ideas and experience. Tell us about yourself and your project and we can start the ball rolling.

By pressing "request quote", you are permitting us to contact you in relation to your enquiry and confirm that you have read and agree to our Privacy Policy.

Contact Us