Ginger Fox Studio - Ginger Fox Studio | Branding, Design & Digital Agency | Barnsley - icon in black

Colour Psychology in Web & Graphic Design

Man in front of Mac with brand guidelines on screen, discussing with colleague.

It’s no secret that colour is a key element of every design discipline. From animation and illustration to website and print-based design, the correct use of colour holds the power to draw attention, influence mood and, ultimately, play a pivotal role in the way that customers perceive and interact with your brand.

The facts speak for themselves; Research shows that people make subconscious judgements about a person, environment, or product within 90 seconds of initial viewing. As much as 90% of that assessment is based on colour alone.

Everything from personal taste to cultural upbringing can influence the way we perceive colour – for example, white is traditionally worn by brides in Western cultures, whilst in ​​East Asia, white is a colour of mourning. Western culture generally perceives colour in the following ways:

  • Red: Passion, warmth, excitement, urgency, energy, aggression, anger, danger.

    Studies show that the colour red can elevate blood pressure, enhance metabolism, and increase heart and respiration rates, naturally causing energy levels to spike – this explains why it is often used to stimulate impulsive decisions!

  • Yellow: Joy, optimism, hope, energy, caution, anxiety, cowardice.

    The most difficult colour for our eyes to process, excessive use of the colour yellow can quickly lead to visual fatigue and even feelings of frustration. However, as the most visible colour, yellow is commonly used to quickly grab attention; think post-it notes, highlighters, and warning signs!

  • Green: Nature, growth, health, good luck, jealousy, envy, greed.

    It is suggested that green is the easiest colour for our eyes to process and therefore is a calming colour. It is commonly associated with health and wellbeing brands, as well as positive actions, e.g. a green light for ‘go’.

  • Blue: Reliability, stability, trust, calmness, sadness, cold, distant.

    In contrast to red, the colour blue has been found to lower blood pressure and pulse rate, causing a calming effect. Because of this, it is widely favoured in branding for companies wishing to project dependability and trustworthiness – think of Facebook, LinkedIn and PayPal! However, it has also been shown to suppress appetite, so you won’t find it in many culinary brands.

Colour grouped brand logos to show different use of colour psychology in brands

Whether consciously or not, users are influenced by the colours used within a website. Some studies have indicated that web designers have a mere 50 milliseconds to make a good first impression. Before they’ve read the copy or even begun to process the imagery, they’ll see the colours. With pressure like that, it’s pivotal to make sure your colour palette is up to scratch. Do your CTAs have enough contrast against the rest of your site? Is your text legible against your background? Can you look at your site for more than a few seconds without experiencing eye strain?

However, it’s down to more than just visual appeal – It is estimated that more than 2 million people in the UK are living with sight loss and 3 million with colour blindness. It’s important to consider contrast ratios and colour combinations to ensure ease of access. Tools like Adobe’s Colour Wheel allow you to check whether a colour palette is colourblind safe.

From subtle nuances to bold statements, emotional associations to cultural connotations, colour can have a profound impact on user experience. By understanding some of the intricacies of the use of colour within website and graphic design, we can produce finished results that are not only visually appealing, but also effectively communicate, evoke desired emotions, and resonate with the target audience.

Ready to start your next design project?

Get in touch today to organise a chat about how we can help your educational facility achieve its full potential! Tel: 01226 720734 or fill out our contact form here!



Ginger Fox Studio - Ginger Fox Studio | Branding, Design & Digital Agency | Barnsley - icon in white

Digital Media Centre,
County Way,
S70 2JW

Tel: 01226 720734

Digital Media Centre, County Way,
Barnsley, S70 2JW

Tel: 01226 720734

Book your FREE Website Design
scoping call

Book your FREE Animation
scoping call

Book your FREE Wall Graphics
scoping call

Book your FREE Branding
scoping call