Can color have a negative impact on your website?


Color plays an important role in your non-profit’s brand and website, maybe more than you realize.

Before we jump into things, let’s define color psychology. At it’s core, color psychology is the science of how color affects our brains and our behavior.

So what happens when you look at colors? Your eyes take in a color, they communicate with your region of the brain known as the hypothalamus, which in turn sends signals to your pituitary gland, on to your endocrine system and then to your thyroid glands. The thyroid glands then signal the release of hormones, which cause fluctuation in mood, emotions and behavior.

Now, not everyone agrees that colors can greatly impact our thoughts and behaviours, and past research has shown that it’s difficult to test these theories. However we can all agree that color does indeed affect us – and can be used to our advantage when it comes to both online and offline marketing. When it comes to your website design, one of the critical decisions you’ll make involves choosing the correct colors, this choice can essentially make or break your website’s marketing efforts.

Here are some color tips that the pros use when tackling effective website designs that increase conversions rates and targeting your ideal audience better:

Certain genders generally dislike certain colors

While we’re all for breaking gender stereotypes and roles, it’s worth noting that according to KISSmetrics and their sources, the most unpopular color for men is brown and the most unpopular color for women is orange. Blue ends up being the winner and is the most popular color for both men and women.

Why is this? We innately associate shades of blue with reliability, security and it helps promotes trust in brands (that’s why all the gigantic corporate brands like to use it). The goal here is to clearly understand what colors appeal to your target audience, thus allowing you to make insightful design decisions.

Image of Colorful Umbrellas

It’s not just about what “looks good”

When it comes to your website, color is a conversion issue, not just a design issue. As much as it pains us designers to admit it, color aesthetics are not the be-all and end-all when it comes to your website conversion efforts (getting your users to perform desired actions like signing up or donating), though it does help. Thoughtful color selection on your website and landing pages will help improve your conversion rates, this year’s Pantone color most likely will not!

Remain culturally appropriate whenever possible

An understanding of cultural color and symbolism is essential to any non profit organization that works within other countries and societies. For example, if you are marketing to a particular ethnic group we would highly recommend to do some research and take into account their color associations (both negative and positive) to maximize your marketing impacts and hopefully increase your conversion rates!

Stick to the classics for your call-to-action buttons

A color’s ability to affect conversion rates has far more to do with context than the color itself. This statement is supported by cognitive research, specifically a phenomenon known as the Von Restorff effect. In layman’s terms, the effect predicts that whatever stands out gets recognized and easily recalled, and what blends in gets ignored.

You can see that choosing the right colors for your NGO’s brand and website definitely takes some consideration, and maybe some trial and error. When in doubt, it always helps to have a trusted designer to help provide you with insights. If you have a project that you think you might need a hand with, feel free to schedule a quick chat with us on our contact page.

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