Image showing the colour spectrum
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Ways Strategic Use of Colour Boosts Conversions

High rankings in search results and increased traffic are signs that a website is enjoying a certain amount of success. However, it must generate high conversion rates as well. A conversion, after all, is a primary end goal for anyone doing business online. When more people subscribe to your feed, sign up for a webinar you’re conducting, buy your products, and engage your services, only then can your business be truly poised for success.

Several factors affect conversion rates, and how you use colour in your web design has to be one of them. If people behind colour psychology are to be believed, you can use colours to somehow influence the people who come by your website and make them feel or react in a way that will ultimately lead to a conversion for your business.

That may sound like a bit of sorcery, but colour psychology is actually a legitimate sub-field of industrial psychology. It focuses on the study of colours and how they determine human behaviour. Colour psychology makes associations between colours and our reactions, emotions, and attitudes towards it. And yes, for the longest time, marketing people have been using colours to elicit certain responses from us that will eventually lead to getting those much sought-after conversions.

Web designers are some of the biggest users of the associations being made by colour psychology, as they are crucial to the goal of earning clicks, subscriptions, registrations, and purchases for the websites they were tasked with creating.

Let’s look at some of the associations that colour psychology makes between hues and human behaviour, and see how web designers use them to bolster the web design ideas they come up with and ultimately boost conversions.

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We associate red with passion, and all the positive and negative things that come with it, like love, jealousy, and even violence. For decades, red has also been associated with communist ideology.

Image of red and yellow badge on bonnet of a Porsche sports car.
Red and yellow denote passion and fun.

Colour psychology also tags red as great for immediately catching the attention of people and creating a sense of urgency. Countless sales materials, especially those that promote clearance sales, use the colour red to grab readers’ eyes and make them feel like they are going to miss out on something.


Many people will agree that blue is the coolest and most relaxing colour. There’s even talk that the sight of the colour can lower a person’s heart rate and blood pressure. Blue is also synonymous with sadness and is even considered a colour of mourning in some countries.

Image of bonnet badge of an Armstong Siddeley vintage motor car.
Blue denotes solidity, security and stability.

The business world — the financial sector in particular — is quite taken by the colour blue. Perhaps it’s the close association with intelligence, reliability, security, safety, and trust that makes insurance companies, banks, cybersecurity firms, and other businesses in an industry that places a premium on the qualities above favour blue for their logos and web design palette.


Yellow is a sunny colour that you can use in your web design to give your readers that sense of warmth and cheerfulness. Websites with a focus on children, parenting, travel, and wellness are some of the most frequent users of yellow in their themes. You can choose to do the same, especially if you want your brand to be perceived as friendly, approachable, and welcoming. Don’t overdo it, though, because too much yellow can be off-putting.


When you mix red and yellow, you get orange, which carries all the great qualities associated with both its parent colours. Orange is just as good as red in getting the attention of people as well as in creating a sense of urgency. It also matches the ability of yellow to project warmth and good cheer. No wonder many websites choose orange for their CTAs (Calls To Action). You should do the same, too.


Any website or marketing material that has anything to do with the environment will always use green. Whether it’s for advocating a specific environmental cause or promoting outdoor activities, green is a perfect colour, as it’s easy on the eyes and fosters a sense of relaxation.

Even if your brand isn’t remotely connected with the environment, green remains a great colour to use in your website palette, mainly because it’s also associated with decisiveness. By using green, you can make people feel more at ease with the product or service you’re offering.


Nurses and doctors typically wear white, which denotes hygiene and cleanliness, qualities that are extremely important in the healthcare industry. Websites for news organizations also use white for their palette because it helps them foster an image of themselves as trustworthy, mainly because of the colour’s association with light, goodness, order, and cleanliness.

Using white in your website palette can make your content stand out and help you project a sense of honesty that people will appreciate, which could lead to conversions down the road.

Image of bonnet badge on a Mercedes Benz motor car.
Black denotes elegance and sophistication, while white denotes simplicity and trust.


Open a fashion magazine or website, and the sleekest, most elegant, and sophisticated ad you’ll see there will likely be black. Black may be synonymous with death and all things associated with darkness, but as far as the advertising industry is concerned, it’s perfect for representing the elegance, sophistication, and glamour of many luxury products.

Black can give your website a modern feel, especially when you’re mixing it up with vivid colours. It would also be perfect for highlighting how unique or even elite your brand or product is.

The colour associations as dictated by colour psychology are by no means definitive or that it applies to all human beings and every situation. The truth is, factors like personal experiences, our upbringing, and the specific cultures we were born and raised in have a significant bearing on the way we respond to colours. A given colour may be perceived positively by a person, and still have a negative connotation for others.

Still, the associations that colour psychology makes are a good starting point, as they give you a general idea of how colour affects human behaviour. Consider the behavioural associations, perform research on your target market, taking into consideration factors such as age, gender, and culture, and use the results to come up with the colour that will most likely help you achieve your conversion goals.

If you want to read still more about colour psychology, we can heartily recommend a great article called “Colour Psychology: How Meanings Affect Your Brand” over on the Avasam website — long read, but very comprehensive.

UPDATE: Our mates over at the US Chamber of Commerce have a number of great guides on their website, including a definitive guide to colour pyschology for marketing. One very important point that they make is the differences in meanings of colours in different cultures, and this is something that needs to be considered if you are marketing to different cultures.

For example, black is a colour for mourning in some cultures, but in others it is white that is used for mourning, and in still others, red is a colour for grief and mourning. So it is vitally important to consider the psychology of colours in relation to your intended audience.

Shawn Byrne

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