The Official HDM Color Guide
Do you ever notice how when people are sad, they say they're feeling blue? Or when they're angry, they say that they're seeing red? When it comes to visuals, colors are never random. Going back through the history of painting, cinema, and of course, marketing, you better believe that every single pigment is given a great deal of consideration.
If it's something people have to look at, and it's related to your business (i.e. your website), colors should be chosen very deliberately. In fact, you should look at your colors as another weapon in your arsenal as you establish your Marketing Persona, and ultimately win the hearts and dollars of your targeted traffic.
Although color associations may seem mostly subjective, different colors evoke different meanings and emotions. And you will notice that there is a surprising consistency in how people react to certain hues and tones. Below, we've listed some of the greatest hits.
And before we begin, perhaps we should note just how many varying schools of thought center around this subject. Of course, a psychologist may tell you something slightly different that a painter, and someone from the U.S. probably has a different perspective than someone from an eastern continent. Colors do mean different things to different cultures. As website designers, we'll be giving you an opinion that leads toward the context of western visual art and marketing.
Cool? Alright, let's dive in.
The three colors listed below would all be considered warm colors. Ultimately, these are best reserved for those moments when you want to incite action. They are energetic and a little in-your-face. You may not want to use them at all times, lest you overwhelm the eyes of your viewers. But a few well-placed accents can prove to be pretty effective.
You can dress this one up in a lot of different synonyms, but essentially, the color red equates to great passion. Whether it's a fierce anger, an uncontrollable excitement, or a deep love, red represents all things intense. The color of both blood and roses, the poets and the painters have been using this in unison over the years to translate the same meaning.
Red is an in-your-face color – it demands attention. If you are thinking of integrating this color into your business persona, it should be paired with passionate text and images. I don't mean you have to write a sonnet, but make your words heartfelt and true. The nonchalant phrases and the witty zingers do not belong here. We'll get to those.
Also note that red as a stand-alone color has the potential to be a tad aggressive. If you are going to use red as your primary color (pun intended), we recommend having a good accent color to balance things out.
Are you man enough to wear pink?
Well, perhaps, but as it stands, pink is strongly associated with femininity. It is the color of romance and tenderness, and we've found that this color works well for businesses like the these:
This color is most commonly reserved for products like cosmetics and jewelry. Paired with pink, the tone of your text should be soft and gentle.
Having said that, don't ever feel pigeon-holed. If you're a tailor that makes leather vests for biker gangs and you love the color pink, we can find a way to make it work for your custom website.
As a species that derives much of our energy from that great big sun up there, we automatically tend to associate the color yellow with sunshine. Consequently, the color yellow has been known to evoke feelings of happiness, hope, and of course, energy.
Those witty zingers I mentioned before would be well-paired with this color. That is to say, if the persona of your business is light-hearted and feel-good, then yellow is for you. It will naturally, and perhaps subconsciously, imbue your readers with a sense of optimism. Like the sun to our species, yellow will give zest and energy to your message.
The colors listed below have a soothing and calming effect. It's not a coincidence that interior decorators use a lot of cool colors in spas, bathrooms, and other quiet environments. While the use of warm colors grabs attention and incites action, cool colors can be used when providing more in-depth information.
Obviously, the coolest of them all. Blue imbues feelings of security and trust. Not surprisingly then, it is statistically ranked as the most favored color of our culture. It also seems to be the go-to color for authoritative figures (like police officers, and oftentimes, the President). Therefore, while this is ultimately a relaxing and friendly color, it still altogether radiates professionalism.
It should be noted, however, that an excess can lead to, well... The blues. Too much, and you'll leave your viewers with a cold and disengaged feeling. Like the color red, and its mighty, concentrated power, blue is best used in moderation, with aid from accent colors.
Calm your viewers, but not so much that they lose that call-to-action spirit.
Throughout history, the color green has always been associated with nature, and that trend continues today. Many businesses who focus on going green will obviously make use of this. And if your business has anything at all to do with the outdoors, you can be sure it's a safe bet. A lot of people will also tell you that green is easiest on the eyes, and can therefore be used to create balance with your design.
Furthermore, green is also used worldwide as a traffic symbol. No matter where you live, green means go, most likely, and this is worth considering. As a cool color, it is undeniably soothing, and it brings many positive meanings along with it.
Use green as a way to inspire possibility among your viewers.
Back in the day... I mean, way back in the day, dying your clothes a certain color was a bit of a luxury. It often required plants and roots that may have been hard to come by. As it happens, the materials needed for purple dye were rather exclusive, and expensive to obtain. Therefore, only the wealthiest folks (the kings and queens) could afford purple clothing.
As a by-product of this fun fact, purple is still strongly associated with royalty and luxury. You can integrate this color into your design to give it a more grandiose and opulent feel.
It also said that lighter shades of purple have a serene effect. Like the color pink, light purple is best used in conjunction with gentle tones, and is often seen accompanying beauty products. Furthermore, lavender is believed to incite feelings of creativity in your viewers. You can use this to your advantage as you map out your persona.
This collection of colors includes black, white, tan, and gray. They are easy on the eyes, and they make for perfect backgrounds. It's easy to use any one of these as a foundation to build upon with brighter colors.
Black has a mysterious and intriguing power, but is also associated with sophistication (Black-Tie Event, much?).
White has the power of purity and sterility. Apple is a good example of a company who has made great use of that power in their business persona. It's the classic backdrop color, and can make brighter shades truly pop if used as an accent.
So many good choices. Each color inevitably evokes it's own meaning, so any one that you consider is naturally going to have its own set of pros and cons. Narrowing down the list to find the perfect combination of colors that suits you is no easy ask.
But, it is an imperative task nonetheless. According to research, more than 90% of consumers place importance on visual factors when purchasing products. It is also said that color can increase brand recognition by 80%, compared to black and white counterparts.
Before asking yourself, which color is right for my business persona? you should be asking yourself: how do I want my target market to feel when they catch a glimpse of my website?
Regarding this here HDM custom website, the dominant black background with it's varying textures and subtle color compliments were weighty decisions that we arrived at after much deliberation. Over the years, we have refined the process that we use to effectively integrate the right color schemes into a particular business persona.
What do the colors of your website say about your business?