Every marketing professional knows that once brand identity starts to sink in, there’s no going back. When a major brand tries to reinvent itself, consumers are quick to shoot down the changes. Do you remember when Pepsi updated its logo to match a more modern feel? It was bold, but not stupid. Stupid would be trying to reinvent itself by changing the color of their brand identity. That almost never happens, as you can see in Hongkiat’s blog post about the evolution of major brand logos over the years. So with the idea of logos in mind, a company must always incorporate color branding across platforms, and that includes websites.
The color of your brand reflects the psychology of its product
Before anything, you have to be sure that your company is choosing the right color. In the case of an already established brand, if the execs had chosen the colors arbitrarily, then they’re either stuck with that color or they risk a dip in sales—or worse, failure.
There have been excellent studies that show how we as perceptive humans are inadvertently affected by certain colors. We’ll make clear the main points:
- Choosing your brand’s color depends on the context both in market and culture
- Women and men have different taste in color, but everyone loves blue
- Genders also tend to differ in their preferences for tint and vibrancy
- The effect of color varies from person to person
- We can however say that people tend to associate color with the personality of a brand
Have you ever thought what it would be like if a recognizable brand used the colors of its competitor instead? This article we linked to swept across the internet because it asks just that. The takeaway from all this is that color matters. No one can say for sure if red really does represent passion, or that green is peaceful. Still, some designers find comfort in accepted assumptions. But all we can say for sure is that deciding on a color is not a decision to take lightly.
Designing a website with a relevant color scheme
Now that we’ve established the importance of color, how the heck should a web designer use it? Every designer has learned about the importance of color across company material. In the digital economy it’s more crucial than ever. The brand’s identifiable color has to appear on the website, newsletters, company advertisements, stationary, social media pages, promotional material and of course on company T-shirts for family days.
When it comes to web design, color branding takes on a whole new characteristic. Not only does the colorful logo need to appear, but it needs to function alongside a theme of other colors. Sometimes these can be high-contrast, and sometimes they can be analogous. But on a website that requires visitor conversions for increased sales, your website color scheme serves as a tutorial for how to take action.
For example, say your color scheme is green, but you only use analogous colors, meaning that link text and menu bars are varying shades of the same green. The eye won’t understand automatically where to click in order to buy, because it can’t recognize any obvious accents. Getting visitors to click that call to action is going to be a lot harder than if you had a triadic setup where the button was a stand-alone hue. Accented elements that still correlate with the base and background colors of a website have the potential to increase conversion by 50% or more. This stuff really matters.
How many colors should a website have?
At the same time, web designers shouldn’t abuse their options. It’s important to decide on a color scheme that includes 3 or 4 colors for different elements of a page, but not more. This is where tools like Color Spire come in handy to experiment with color schemes, or use Check My Colours to test the contrast ratio, brightness difference, and color difference of the scheme.
In some situations, different parts of the same website might benefit from unique color schemes. A news website that has sections dedicated to news, sports, and weather might use unique color schemes for each section, or perhaps they could differ only by accent color (preserving the base and background colors across the domain).
As marketers we may be inadvertently increasing the associations made between color and product—it’d be interesting to see a study of how the internet and commercialization of the public sphere is affecting our conceptions of color—but that’s beyond the scope of today’s blog post. We hope this article has given you some insight into a topic that is often overlooked. And as always, if you have something to contribute, please do.