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by Domenico La Tosa

What if I would tell you something like “we design your website choosing the right colors and you win“? And what do I mean with that?

When you see a color, your eyes send certain signals to your brain. The brain sends back a flow of inputs to the thyroid, which release hormones that change your emotions and, so, your behaviors. That’s why color wields enormous sway over our attitudes and emotions!

A research from Neil Patel’s QuickSprout indicates that, most of all, product assessments have to do with color:

Color accounts for 85% of the reason why you purchased a specific product

What is Color Psychology?

Color psychology is the science that determines how color affects human behavior and is a branch of the broader field of behavioral psychology. A proper use of color psychology produces a competitive advantage that can improve your business, both online and offline.

Color is critical. The success of our project and website depends also upon how we use color. Colors represent the first visual impact that your company exhibit on your potential clients.

Where Should You Use Color?

We need first to understand where you should use these color tips – colors are everywhere. This article displays some cases of the optimal use of color schemes on a website: headers, buttons, borders, headline type, backgrounds and popups.

The most important thing to know first is that color is a tricky matter. You have to use color schemes in the right way, with the right audience, and for the right purpose. For example, if you are selling toys you should better not to use a black website. Look at the following webpage, NinjaJump.com.


In the example above, NinjaJump uses a green-yellow-red color scheme in their logo, phone number, video CTA, menu bar and category menu. For an ecommerce that sells such kind of products, you need lots of bright and vibrant colors – some greens, reds and maybe a little yellow. On the other hand, if you are selling a product to women, you don’t want to use brown or orange. L’Oreal, for instance, uses black and white, with light violet overlay, in their website.


Here are some tips that the professionals use when dealing with conversions and color.

Color Tips that Will Improve Your Conversion Rate

Women don’t like gray, orange, and brown. They like blue, purple, and green

The differences between color preferences and gender is a whole branch of study unto itself. Patel got it right when he cited the colors preferred (or disliked) by the two genders.


In a study on color and gender, 35% of women said blue was their favorite color, followed by purple (23%) and green (14%). 33% of women confessed that orange was their least favorite color, followed by brown (33%) and gray (17%). Other studies have corroborated these findings, revealing a female aversion to earthy tones, and a preference for primary colors with tints. Look at how this is played out. Visit nearly any e-commerce site whose target audience is female, and you’ll find displayed these female color preferences, like Milani Cosmetics. They have a primarily female customer base. Thus, there’s not a trace of orange or gray on the homepage:


Most people think that the universally-loved female color is pink. It’s not. Just a small percentage of women choose pink as their favorite color. Thus, while pink may suggest femininity in color psychology, this doesn’t mean that pink is appealing to most women. Use blue, purple or green to improve the appeal of your e-commerce website to female visitors. That will improve conversions.

Men don’t like purple, orange, and brown. Men like blue, green, and black

If you’re marketing to men, these are the colors to stay away from: purple, orange, and brown. Instead, use blue, green, and black. These colors – blue, green, and black – are traditionally associated with maleness.

Use blue in order to cultivate user’s trust

Blue is one of the most used colors, with good reason. A lot of people like blue. Read the literature on blue, and you’ll come across messages like <> or <> and <>.

There is wide agreement in the research community on the psychological effects of the color blue: it conveys trustworthiness and serenity. You can use this to your advantage: think about the fact that the world’s biggest collector of sensible private data si blue. This probably is not a mere accident.


For the same reasons, a company that moves billions and billions of dollars, PayPal, also prefers the color blue. If they were to try, say, red or orange as the theme color and branding, they probably wouldn’t have the same level of conversion.


Blue is, in fact, a color heavily used by many banks. Here’s Nordea, a major Swedish bank:


and, of course, Danske Bank.


Although blue is pretty much a color with multiple applications, it should never be used for anything related to food. Dieters have used blue plates to successfully prevent them from eating more. Evolutionary theory suggests that blue is a color associated with poison. There aren’t very many blue foods besides blueberries and plums. Thus, never use blue if you’re selling foodie stuff.

Yellow is for warnings

Yellow is a color of warning. Hence, the color yellow is used for warning signs, traffic signals, and wet floor signs.



It seems odd, then, that some color psychologists declare yellow to be the color of happiness. Business Insider reports that “brands use yellow to show that they’re fun and friendly.” There is a chance that yellow can suggest playfulness. However, since yellow stimulates the brain’s excitement center, the playfulness feeling may be simply a state of heightened emotion and response, not exactly sheer joy.

Color psychology is closely tied to memories and experiences. So, if someone had a very pleasant experience with someone wearing a yellow shirt, eating at a fast food establishment with yellow arches, or living in a home with yellow walls, then the yellow color may cause joy by memory association. That is also the reason why at McDonald’s they host birthdy parties for kids: they know that when those kids will be adults, they will look at a McDonald’s logo and colors and feel somehow happy, at home. Those former kids will be more likely to get in and buy an hamburger than under any other circumstance.

Green is ideal for environmental and outdoor products

Perhaps the most intuitive color connection is green – the color of outdoors, eco-friendly activities; the color of the natural environment. Green essentially is a chromatic symbol for nature itself. Apart from its fairly obvious outdoorsy suggestiveness, green also is a color that can improve creativity. Labeled “the green effect,” one study indicated that participants had more bursts of creativity when presented with a flash of green color as opposed to any other color.

If the focus of your website has anything to do with nature, environment, organic, or outdoors, green should be your color of choice but green isn’t just about nature. Green also is a good call to action color, especially when used in combination with the von Restorff effect, known also as the “isolation effect”. The “Isolation Effect” states that you remember things better if they stand out. You remember the Statue of Liberty because it’s big, tall, green, and there aren’t a whole lot of them in the New York. In color psychology, the isolation effect occurs when a focus item, such as a conversion step, is the only item of a particular color. The technique works wonders for calls to action, and green is an ideal choice – if it fits the design color palette, of course.

You can see that Mozilla Firefox’s conversion elements are green


By the way, the word “green” itself – no matter the color – is a buzzword for environmental awareness and appreciation. Using the word and the color itself can lend an environmental aura to your website, improving your reputation among those who are passionate about environmental concerns.

Orange is a fun color that can create a sense of haste or impulse

The positive side of orange is that it can be used as the “fun” color. According to some, orange helps to <>. This may be why orange is used heavily by sports teams and children’s products. In fact, there are a ton of sports teams that use orange.

Amazon.com uses orange in their “limited time offer” buttons. The color suggests urgency, which makes the message more noticeable and actionable:


Orange means active. Orange means fun. It’s a loud and warm color. Sometimes, orange is interpreted as “cheap”, specially when in comparison with black. Forbes posed the question, “Does orange mean cheap?” in an article on the “Effect of Color on Sales of Commercial Products.” The resounding answer was “yes.” If your product offering is cheap, or if you want it to be seen as such, orange may be a good choice.

Black communicates a sense of luxury and value

The darker the tone, the more lux it is, says our internal color psychology. An article from Lifescript describes black as “elegance, sophistication, power,” which is exactly what luxury designers and high-end e-commerce sites want you to feel. The article goes on to describe black as the color of “timeless, classic” which helps further explain the use of black in high-value products.

In a Business Insider piece on color and branding, the author relates the significance of black:

“Black can also be seen as a luxurious color. ‘Black, when used correctly can communicate glamour, sophistication, exclusivity.’”

Versace’s products are pretty expensive. As you can see, colors and designs of fun and excitement are totally absent from the site:


at Dolce&Gabbana, as well, they use the black in their logo, menu entries, buttons and outlines of their website:


Lamborghini does the same thing. Black for the luxury, orange for the excitement:


If you are selling high-value luxury consumer items on your website, black probably would be a good choice.

Use bright primary colors for your call to action

In strict testing environments, the highest-converting colors for calls to action are bright primary and secondary colors – red, green, orange, yellow. Darker colors like black, dark gray, brown, or purple have very low conversion rates. Brighter ones have higher conversion rates.

Don’t neglect white

Very often, behavioral studies focus on the effect of colors and forget about white. Maybe that happens because some color theorists does not consider white as a color. Anyway, no matter the specific definition, it is important to underline that the use of white space is a powerful design feature. Take, for example, the most popular website in the world. It’s basically all white:


White is often forgotten, because its primary use is as a background color. The more white the website it is, the more its element will be visible by contrast, of course, but most well-designed websites today use plenty of white space in order to create a sense of freedom, spaciousness, and breathability.

Domenico La Tosa
About Domenico La Tosa
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Selling with Colors: How We Choose the Right Color for Your Project