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Do pink bananas convert? An excursion into color psychology in web design.

Written by Mariah

Do pink bananas convert? An excursion into color psychology in web design.

Today I want to raise awareness about a very important and controversial topic: The psychology of colors and how it helps us to increase our web audience and conversion rate.

Colors, like features, follow the changes of the emotions.
– Pablo Picasso

Once upon a time I wanted to have my room painted in pink. I would only wear pink dresses (I is Mirjam by the way :). I would dress my precious Barbies in glittery pink outfits. Pink here, pink there. This obsession with pink, which many girls have, is due to the habitual image we project onto little girls. “Oh, she is so cute, look at you, little princess.”  Pink – that’s what a girl supposed to like.

Our environment and cultural background have a big influence on individual color taste. And the industry knows it. Walk into a toyshop, look at the girls section – ALL PINK. It’s the most girly and most feminine color of all. Pink is used a lot in product design for girls and young women. And it sells.

Knowing the psychology of colors and using it for our business and branding is the ultimate art of persuasion – the same is true online.


Spoiler: It all depends on what and to whom you’re selling.

Does the right color seriously sell?

How much it influences your target group, and whether they going to buy your product/service because of the color design, depends on many factors. But all we know, visual appearance is the most important factor in why people buy something. And color plays the most crucial part in it.

So what factors are crucial for figuring out the right website/branding color for higher conversion?

Know your audience

Different audiences need different color concepts. Your chosen branding and web color design will always have different effects on different people. But a certain group of people might all respond similarly to a certain color pattern. That group is your target group. What gender are they? Where do they come from?  Know your audience in and out.

Know your audience values

Know what values your audience has. What’s important to them? How would they like to be seen and treated?

As an example: A black color scheme for a luxurious and slick condom brand in the US makes much more sense than pink. Your target group is obviously men, who value a luxurious and masculine condom experience. You don’t want to use a feminine branding. That’s pretty clear, right?!

Ask yourself: What do you want people to feel when they see your website?

Let’s have another look at the condom brand. Firstly the company wants their consumers to feel it’s safe and serious, because it’s primarily a health product the consumer needs to rely on, and secondly, it’s a bit of an intimidating product when bought in the supermarket. So the more serious and classic the better. Black also produces a certain distinctiveness, and symbolizes masculine strength and stamina. Aspects the customer wishes to have when having intercourse.

Know your personality

The question of what you want people to feel when they see your website/brand is especially important in branding (logo & color scheme). The color branding will radiate a certain personality for your brand. And the impact of how a brand is perceived affects the will to buy the product/service tremendously. A study has found the stronger the personality of a brand the more likely people are to make a purchase [4]. Know the personality of your brand. And let color design radiate your personality as much as possible.

Know the basic ‘meaning’ of colors for your brand

Colors never have exactly the same effect on people due to their personal experiences [2]. But there are broader messaging patterns to be found in color perception. Especially when it comes to branding. It’s crucial to ask if the color fits what is being sold [3]. Because people perceive a certain appropriateness of the color being used for the particular brand.

The following associations are not written in stone, but are useful for vital branding:

Red evokes aggressiveness, passion, strength and vitality
Pink evokes femininity, innocence, softness and health.
Orange evokes fun, cheeriness and warm exuberance.
Yellow evokes positivity, sunshine and cowardice.
Green evokes tranquility, health and freshness.
Blue evokes authority, dignity, security and faithfulness.
Purple evokes sophistication, spirituality, costliness, royalty and mystery.
Brown evokes utility, earthiness, woodsyness and subtle richness.
Gray evokes somberness, authority, practicality and a corporate mentality.
Black evokes seriousness, distinctiveness, boldness and being classic.


Use a color hierarchy for your site

You know your main color? Good, you know your starting point. But where to use your main color? And what about the colors for your other web content, such as the paragraph text, boxes, quotes, hover, links, other graphics, background…? To avoid color chaos create a color scheme first. Coming up with a good color scheme is never easy, though. The good news is that color theory works like math. There are great tools for you to use. Our favorite is Adobe Kuler.

So on a more basic level, as it’s explained by StudioPress, you’ll need to choose a background, a base and an accent color.

Background Color
This color generates the general feeling and tone of your website. Subtly visible in the background, it is the one used most.

Base Color
The base color is used to “break up the background”. Just as in music the baritone brings the harmony into play. Not too bright, not too subtle, just enough to hold it all together.

Accent Color
This one is your main color. The accent color stands for your personality. It’s used the least – that’s why it needs special treatment. Often it’s used for logo, name branding, important graphics. As long as it stands out. Bold and brave.

Know your best call-to-action color

Sometimes your main branding color might be great from an emotional and personality point of view. But from a conversion and optimization aspect it might not be so great. There is a lot of debate about which color is the best for call-to-action buttons. Simply do your own A/B test as Hubspot did. Be aware that the reason why people buy or click is not only about color per se, it’s also about your content of course. And also very important: never sell your soul (or your brand’s values) because of the results of an A/B test. It’s an interesting indicator, but not a decision maker.

Know and Be

Nowadays you won’t find much pink in my closet. I’ve grown out of it. As Picasso described it nicely – colors follow the change of emotions. Each audience has a different demographic, interest and background.

Know your audience. Know your product. Choose the right color scheme. And simply – Be.

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