How Colours Influence Website User's Behaviour

Colour is probably the most important element of your web design. It gives the first impression without reading the content or looking at the images. Colours can result in loyalty, drive conversion and keep users on your website for longer.

Where to start?

As a business owner, you need to decide your company colours. These will be seen in your logo, and on your website. They may be seen on your business card, shop sign, or gift bags.  The colours you choose will influence how people consider your brand, and how they behave once on your website.

Colours evoke emotions which influence behaviour. The colours you use need to match the culture and messaging of your company to build trust. We can also use colour to assist with processing the information we are sharing and make details more memorable.

Our reaction to colours tends to be subconscious. It’s a complex science which means getting expert (that’s us) advice on what colours to use on your website is important.

There is no right or wrong answer to what colours to use in web design. The colours need to have a behavioural reaction that matches your brand message and culture.

Why is colour important in a website design

Colour can encourage brand loyalty, an emotional response, and even drive action.  Colour can be used in design to encourage a call to action to be completed.  Knowing your target audience can influence the colour palette that should be used to get the result that you want.

Brand Awareness through the use of colour

We tend to recognise the colour of a brand without needing any other information. It can prompt us to purchase when presented with competing items on a supermarket shelf.  Who doesn’t immediately think of Cadbury when they see purple, or Coca-Cola when they see red?  Consistency in the use of colour throughout your business will promote brand recognition and encourage loyalty.

What colours go well together

The colour wheel, which has been around since the mid-1600s, illustrates the relationship between 12 main colours – red, blue, yellow, green, orange, violet, blue-green, yellow-green, yellow-orange, red-orange, red-violet, and blue-violet.

Neighbouring colours work well together. These colours work well to create a feeling of calm, and expertise.

Colours opposite each other are complementary colours. The high contrast makes this a good choice for a call to action button, or to highlight important information.

Colours that are evenly spaced from each other (known as triadic) can also be placed together.  This can create a high-energy and vibrant feel.

How colour effects behaviour

Matching your core message to a colour

Having an understanding of what emotional response a colour evokes is important when starting to look at what colour palette to use on your website:

Blue – calm, stable, and trustworthy

Red – fast, motivating, and thrilling

Yellow – happy, optimistic, and engaging

Orange – fun, active, and lively

Pink – light, sensitive, and caring

Purple – creative, mystery, and luxury

Green – healthy, sustainable, and organic

Brown – robust, durable, and simple

Black – elegant, powerful, and strong

White – pure, minimalist, and clean

Grey and silver – practical, neutral, technological


Colours can mean different things to different groups of customers. For example, purple is more attractive to women, and can even have a detrimental impact on men.  Pink gives a different response in different countries.

Your target market should influence the colours you use.

More than an emotional response

White space allows us to process information more clearly, and quickly. White is a very important colour in web design to give the user the ability to “see” the information you are sharing. White improves readability.

Black and white images tend to be more memorable than coloured images.

The colour of the font needs to have a contrast to the background colour to make it easier to read. Some contrasts, such as black text on a white background, are difficult to read and should be avoided.

Avoid a rainbow

Your website should have a colour palette of three or four colours. This will give the design the ability to make content attractive, draw attention to key points, and be memorable.

We talk about a classic 60-30-10 rule to make it comfortable to look at but gives us the behavioural response we want from the use of colours. This means you use 60% of the main colour, 30% of the secondary colour and 10% of an accent colour.

Next Steps

Not sure the colours on your website are quite right for your brand message and market?   We would love to help to drive conversion through the use of colour in your website design.  Give us a call and we can have a chat.

This article originally published on our Cambridge Website at

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