The Science Behind Color; What Color Means In Design

Does your favorite color make you calm, or energized? The psychology of color is an intricate science, and can make your web design more in line with your company or organization’s brand. Here are some of the most utilized colors and design tips to make the best use of each.


Color Meaning: The color red has almost as many meanings as it does shades. Red has been associated with love and passion (think the reds of Valentine’s day cards) as well as violence, anger and war (like the blood of war.) Red stop signs and stop lights signify danger and caution, while a red carpet at prestigious events signifies importance. In Eastern cultures, red symbolizes luck, prosperity, and happiness – in fact, Chinese brides often wear red on their wedding day.

Red has a psychological and physiological effect on visitors to a website. Studies have shown that the color increases heart rate, raises blood pressure and leads to high breathing rates.

Design: Red can be a powerful design color, but use it sparingly in the purest, brightest form. Use red as an accent color in your website design to appear energetic and bold, or tone it down for a regal, elegant feel. Use bright red against a black or white background or a darker tone with grey and cream colors.


Color Meaning: Blue is an extremely versatile color, and has different meanings depending on the shade. A dark blue or greyish blue is often associated with sadness (feeling a little blue?), and a light blue represents calmness and duty. Teal or aqua brings to mind the blue water of the Caribbean, bringing a sense of peace and relaxation to your design work.


Design: The color blue is a great choice for religion, health care or corporate designs. Many males report blue as their favorite color, so it can work well for a masculine website. Using dark blue text instead of solid black can be easier on the eyes. Use light blue accents to bring lightness and a fresh feeling to your website design.



Color Meaning: When you think of the sun, you think of the color yellow, the brightest and most visit of the warm color palate. Yellow is associated with hope, happiness and brightness. The color is often described as cheery and warm, and studies have shown yellow brings up feelings of happiness and an increase in metabolism.

Design: While yellow is considered a very happy color, it can also be hard on a viewer’s eyes, especially on a computer screen. Use this color as an accent and stay away from lots of bright yellow in headers or images. Choose lighter shades of yellow for a more calm design, or a dark yellow for an antique look.



Color Meaning: If you’re looking for an earthy, organic design for your website, green is the perfect choice. Green signifies renewal, growth and nature, and can have a fresh look. Green can also symbolize wealth and affluence. Because green is a mix of blue and yellow, it retains some of the feel of both colors; the energy of yellow mixed with the calm of blue. The harmony between the two colors leads website readers to feel tranquil, and has been reported to relieve stress and lower heart rate.

Design: Green is the go-to color for many designers of financial websites, lawn care or nature companies, recycling companies or environmentally friendly product companies. Using a dark or pale green for the background can help your website readers better comprehend the content – plus, it’s easier on the eyes. Use a lighter green in your website header to bring some energy to your design.

Abigail Turner is a revered tech writer who specializes in web designing. When she’s not busy writing about the best that the technology industry has to offer, she spends time reviewing architectural landscapers in Chicago, which correlates with her passion for botany.


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