Designing websites it is a complex art. In addition to creating a welcoming user experience that will encourage shoppers to stay on the site and make a purchase, designers must also know how to write snappy content, design an effective and eye-catching layout, include key branding messages, and use color in strategic ways.

With all this in mind, let’s take a look at what different colors typically mean to consumers, how the colors can be used in websites, and how some well-known companies have used colors to help shape their messages:

How Colors Influence Emotions

If you feel peaceful while gazing up at a blue sky or alert when you spot a red stop sign, you are already well aware of the psychological impact of color. Color has a definite impact on our behavior and decisions — a fact which is well-known by website designers and marketers.

For example, red creates a sense of urgency and it also stimulates the appetite, while orange and yellow encourage us to feel more optimistic and inspired to act. Green is associated with tranquility and nature, and blue helps us to feel peaceful while also inspiring a sense of trust. Purple is usually thought of as a color of royalty and respect, and black is associated with strength and power. The color white brings to mind a sense of cleanliness and purity, and grey symbolizes practicality.

Thanks to its many variations, pink is an interesting color in marketing — while the color is typically thought of as a feminine color, in Japan pink cherry blossoms represent fallen warriors. In addition, bright pinks like fuchsia encourage confidence and vibrancy, while soft pinks inspire calmness.

Choose Dominant Colors Effectively

Choosing colors for a website is about a lot more than making it look nice — it’s also about creating a memorable brand. In general, web designers should choose one key color as the most dominant color, and then one or two accent colors to help create an overall scheme for the site, along with a background color. In most cases, the dominant color will be the one that is most associated with a company and/or its logo. For example, Starbucks uses a lot of green and Coca-Cola’s website has a lot of fire engine red.

Use Accent Colors

Next, accent colors will be used to help draw attention to certain parts of the website. It can also be a color that is part of a logo or a complementary shade from the color wheel. For example, if orange is a dominant color, you can use blue as an accent color. For the background color, it is important to select a shade that won’t overwhelm visitors to the website. If the site contains a lot of visuals, a white background makes a lot of sense, just like a white wall covered with lots of artwork in a home looks very nice. You can also use lighter tones of a dominant color and/or the main logo in the background — for instance, Coca-Cola’s website features photos of people wearing muted shades of red.

Companies that Use Colors Effectively

In addition to Starbucks and Coca-Cola, other companies have incorporated color very nicely into their websites. For example, T-Mobile uses pink, grey and black throughout the site. Magenta, which matches the ‘T’ in the logo, is used for the titles of each website section as well as the tabs at the top, whereas the grey, which is the color of the word ‘Mobile’ is prominent as a text color. Using black as a background color helps the information stand out on the site. Another company that uses color quite well in their website is UPS — its cheerful orange color from the logo is used as an accent color.

When creating websites, it is important to think beyond the personal preferences of the designer and learn about the psychology of the different colors. By carefully choosing different shades, as well as considering the dominant colors of a company’s logo and incorporating those in the site, businesses will have welcoming and attractive websites that help advertise their brand as well as encourage new customers to shop with them.