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Psychology of Color, for Designers

Psychology of Color, for Designers

While we all know design to be vastly subjective, how an audience perceives a design can strongly be influenced by color psychology.

In fact, up to 90% of snap judgments made about products or services can be based on color alone. By incorporating different strategies, designers can enhance the outcome of their projects, help target audiences perform desired actions, and increase client satisfaction.

Perceived Appropriateness or how fitting colors are to the company and corresponding target audience(s). Different colors can impact how an audience psychologically reacts to the product or service.

Brand Personality is the set of traits and characteristics that the company’s brand represents. The accent colors chosen can also reinforce the company’s brand personality and overall feel the project needs to elude.

Competitors Colors or the brand identity of your client’s biggest rivalries. Designers need to be aware of what colors their client’s competitors use and avoid them at all costs. While this may seem obvious, it’s crucial to not confuse audiences with a competitor’s product or service. This way, you distinguish the company brand and boost client’s satisfaction..

The Isolation Effect, or the idea that when something that “stands out like a sore thumb”, it is more likely to be remembered. This is useful when trying to get people to draw their idea to something, i.e. a sign up button that sticks out blatantly from its surroundings.

The Aesthetic Response to Color Combinations is a study which found that people favor palettes with a highly contrasting accent color. This would mean creating a visual structure consisting of a base of analogous colors (three colors that are next to each other on the color wheel) and then contrasting them with accent complimentary or tertiary colors. Kissmetrics highlights the different kinds of color coordination in this graphic here.

It is crucial to stay true to the client’s brand and create a design that appropriately reflects its personality. Although creating marketing collateral is sometimes less experimental than other areas of design, paying attention to color choices and using images/graphics that match the “feel” of a company are important decisions to make and require a careful understanding of design principles.

Implementing these ideas can drastically increase the success of the project you’re working on for a client. Take into account the common example of a how changing the color or button boosted conversions by 21%. The button was part of a site that featured green as the main color, and by changing the button to red (the opposite color), conversions greatly improved.  

This infographic from Carey Jolliffe breaks down your "ROYGBIV" spectrum into a variety of shades, for more specific moods and feelings evoked by each. 


Read more on the power of visuals here, or on color psychology in Psychology Today’s article, Color Psychology: How Colors Influence the Mind.

Nature's Neutral

Nature's Neutral

DYK (did you know)...a thing called "Reverse Image Searching" exists?

DYK (did you know)...a thing called "Reverse Image Searching" exists?