Color Theory



Choose your colors wisely

Did you know 85% of shoppers base their shopping decisions on color alone? 

Yup. Exactly. 85%. 

So, needless to say, it's crucial to choose your colors very well. Visual stimuli are the guides to everything we do. Think about it for a second and you'll come to see the same. 

Did you also know that it takes around 90 seconds for someone to decide whether they are going to buy from you or not? No pressure, right? 

You cannot choose the colors based on what looks good to you. You need to choose the colors that stir up an emotion in your visitors and drive them to buy. Every color gives off a certain emotion and you should be very aware of what those emotions are and we are going to walk you through that below.

How colors affect us

Every color is an emotion

  • Red: Love, warmth, vitality, power and passion. Can increase heart rate and raise blood pressure, and be overwhelming if used too much.

    Negative feelings: anger, danger, rage, annoyance.

  • Orange: Bright, fun, friendly and playful, anticipation, interest, freedom, warmth, vigilance. Commands attention without being overpowering.

    Negative feelings: ignorance, sluggishness.
  • Yellow: Positive, optimistic and energetic, serenity, clarity, warmth, joy, ecstasy, humor, happy, intellect. Good for point of sale messaging and calls to action. 

    Negative feelings: irresponsible, unstable.

  • Green: Fresh, new, balance, growth, rebirth, nature, stability, endurance and abundance, admiration, trust, amazement, surprise. Has a balancing or harmonizing effect and it's often used in relation to wealth.

    Negative feelings: envy, jealousy, guilt.

  • Blue: Trustworthy, calm and peaceful, dependability, strength. Often used in banking. Light blue can be relaxing, while dark blue can signify strength and reliability.

    Negative feelings: coldness, fear, masculinity.

  • Purple: Nostalgic, sentimental and sophisticated, imaginative, wisdom, quiet, meditation. Symbolises wealth and luxury.

    Negative feelings:  mystery, moodiness.

  • Pink: Luxury, power, mystery, royalty, femininity. Dusty pink can be sentimental, while a vibrant pink symbolises a youthful energy. 

    Negative feelings: weakness, immaturity.

  • White: Simplicity and purity. Considered neutral, it conveys cleanliness and minimalism.

    Negative feelings: isolation, pristine, emptiness.

  • Black: Bold, powerful, classic, confidence and sophistication. Makes designs feel edgier or elegant and is used for typography and other functional parts for neutrality.

    Negative feelings: death, evil, mystery.

  • Grey: Neutral, glamour, grace, security, reliability, intelligence, formal, calm. Often used when formality and professionalism are key.

    Negative feelings: gloomy, sad, conservative.

  • Brown: Honesty and simplicity. Often used for organic companies and can bring warmth and wholesomeness to designs.

    Negative feelings: dogmatic, conservative.

Basics in Color Theory

What you need to know

What are primary, secondary and tertiary colors?

The primary colors are the ones that make all the other colors. These colors are: red, yellow and blue.

The secondary colors are the ones created from primary colors alone. These colors are: orange (red + yellow), purple (red + blue), green (yellow + blue). 

Tertiary colors are secondary colors taken a step further. Those are two-name colors, such as "red-purple, red-orange, yellow-green, etc. They are created by adding more of one primary color than the other, thus not being a true secondary color. 

The Complete Color Wheel

How to choose your Brand Colors

Studies show that people prefer simple color combinations that relied on ONLY 2 TO 3 FAVORITE COLORS.

People love simplicity. The content is much easier to understand if they don't have to interpret it through many colors. And remember, color has a lot of meaning, so each additional color takes away from your message. Too many colors will make it confusing to understand the message. 

How do I choose those 2 to 3 colors?

We can go back to the color wheel for that!

  • Monochromatic colors. 

    Your whole color scheme is based on one single color, with tints, shades and tones. Currently, this is the most used technique for choosing your own palette. They are the soft and subtle and they work great paired with a single complementary color. 
  • You can use complementary (opposite) colors.

    Complementary color combos make things stand out. They are opposite each other on the color wheel. They provide the sort of visual tension needed to make everything work for you. 

    Example: orange and blue are opposite each other. 

    And this is a case where the old saying "opposites attract" holds true! When your eyes are looking at a specific color, they want to see the opposite to get a visual break. 

    WARNING: Use these colors with caution. You don't want to use them 50%-50% because neither wins and it becomes distressing on the eyes.
  • Use split complementary colors.

    This is a good way to add an extra color to your color palette. 

    Example: say we choose yellow-orange as the main color. It's split complementary colors are blue and violet. 

    Keep it mind, whilst it's milder on the eye, it's still visually exciting. It adds variety and you can use that in a very dynamic and meaningul way. 
  • Use analogous colors.

    What are they? They sit next to each other on the color wheel. They are related and you can create sort of a color family that's pleasing and relaxed to the eyes. Analogous colors will never clash with each other. They can create subtle and beautiful content. 

    Example: Red and Red-Violet are analogous colors.

How do I use these colors? 

  • Choose a primary color. This primary color will be associated with your brand. Think about Coca Cola, Amazon, Facebook, McDonalds, H&M, Cadbury, Dell, Bosch. 
  • Choose a secondary color to help bring out the primary color more. 
  • Choose an accent color. This accent color is going to be used on CTA buttons or special content alone, to highlight and convert your customers.
  • Choose background shades. These can be very faded variants from the primary or secondary color. Be careful though! They need to be very, very, very light, almost white, in order to look good.

Color Palettes We LOVE

As you will notice, there are 4 colors for each scheme, out of which at least 1 is a neutral/ very faded color. That can be used as an extra background besides white/black.

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