Choosing the right colors to inspire your visitors to action
The colors that you choose for your website need to tell your visitors “Stay, this information is for you.”
Choosing colors schemes are one of the most enjoyable things about website design. And it’s also one of the most important as well.
Colors evoke emotions and convey different messages. Once you identify your unique message, it’s time to choose a color. But …
When it comes to choosing the right colors for your website, how do you choose?
Do you pick your favorite color? Do you pick the color that everyone else is using? Or do you pick the color that resonates the most with your ideal client?
People usually consider the colors first when it comes to web design. While this is important, we have to take a few steps back to understand how to get it right the first time.
As a mission-driven entrepreneur, it’s even more important to consider your visitor because you want to inspire them to action.
In part 1 of this 3-part series, we’ll look into the psychology of colors as it pertains to your mission-driven website.
The Psychology of Colors
Did you know there’s a science behind colors? Fortunately, the fundamentals are pretty easy to understand. They are even easier to apply.
Different colors communicate different things. Before even reading your text, the visitor will scan your entire page before making a decision to read further. So the colors that you choose need to tell them “Stay, this information is for you.”
Here’s a brief summary of what each color conveys.
Positive associations: Passion Excitement,
Negative associations: Caution, Danger, Aggression, and Warning(There’s a reason why stop signs and the CNN website are read)
How you should use this: Use red when you know that your visitors are highly ambitious and motivated. If they are focused and not easily stressed, you can use red to get your visitors attention to a particular place on your website.
How you should not use this: Avoid using red as a primary color. It’s overwhelming and I’ve rarely liked a red website. Also, avoid red completely if your visitors suffer from anxiety, stress, depression, or a similar issue. It’s a very dominating color and may overwhelm your visitor. However, if you absolutely must use this color, try a darker or muted shade.
Positive associations: Happiness, Enthusiasm
Negative associations: Aggression, Immaturity, Boastfulness
How you should use this: If you are all about positivity, inspiration, and motivation, orange may be a good color for you. Use orange when you want to get your visitors excited. It’s a mentally simulating color and really gets attention without causing anxiety (unlike red). When you know your visitor is generally happy and ready to take action! Orange is one of the most clicked on colors and is great for buttons and calls to action.
How you should not use this: Do not use orange when you are dealing with a serious or solemn topic. Also, avoid using orange with an equally warm color (like red or yellow). Orange should be the focus and needs to be the center of attention.
Positive associations: Joy, lightheartedness, peace, hope, spirituality
Negative associations: Caution
How you should use this: Use yellow when you want to inspire your visitor. Yellow is also a very warm color, but is much more soothing than red or orange. Yellow pairs nicely with green, pink and neutral colors like beige and white. Yellow is great for spiritual entrepreneurs.
How you should not use this: Do not use directly with black or dark colors. The contrast will stress out your visitors.
Positive associations: Nature, health, renewal, serenity, money
Negative associations: Hardly any … maybe except for being associated with slime (yuck)
How you should use this: You can’t really go wrong with green. I may be a bit biased because it is my favorite color, but unless it’s a neon green, this color is a great choice for anyone. Health and wellness coaches, in particular, will benefit from the positive associations with this color
How you should not use this: Neon green should be avoided for obvious reasons.
Positive associations: Trust, calmness, water
Negative associations: Blue is not a color frequently found in food
How you should use this: Blue is an excellent color for mission-driven entrepreneurs! Blue is a trustworthy color and many banks use it for this reason. Blue is also a great primary color. Feel free to have multiple shades of blue in your color palette.
How you should not use this: If you are a nutritional coach, avoid blue. Blue is not a color associated with food and is generally unappetizing.
Positive Associations: Royalty, wealth, sensual
Negative Associations: Morose, melancholy, snobbery
How you should use this: Purple tends to be a feminine color and the favorite of many women. If it’s your favorite color, use it!. Darker purples are more regal as opposed to lighter purples. Use a light purple if your ideal client is female.
How you should not use this: If your client base is consists of men and women, you may not want to make it your primary color. But purple typically makes a good accent color, particularly when paired with blue.
Positive Associations: Femininity, Youth
Negative Associations: Barbie, bubblegum, mean girls, tacky, loud
How you should use this: If your ideal client is definitively feminine, pink may be a good choice as a primary color. There are multiple shades to choose from. Soft pink pairs well with orange, blue, and yellow.
How you should not use this: Loud bubblegum pink is yucky. Sorry. Tone it down or use it as a secondary color.
Brown, Grey, Beige, Black (The Neutrals)
Positive Associations: Masculinity, Neutral, Calm
Negative Associations: Can be a bit boring if used alone
How you should use this: Use neutrals to convey a sense of calmness. Like with clothing, neutrals go well with any other color online. Try different greys and beiges to mix it up!
How you should not use this: Do not use a neutral call to action, you want a color that stands out!
What I will say about white is that the majority of your background space will be white. Embrace white into your color palette since it plays nice with nearly everything.
Kimberly Inez Mays
Online Brand Strategist, Founder
With over 10 years of web design and development experience, I help entrepreneurs build and grow their online brands. I love everything tech and can’t wait to help you shine online!
I currently reside in NYC with my 2 selfish cats and I’m addicted to caffeine (which helps with the late night coding).
Fun fact: My initials are K.I.M 🙂