Color plays an important in our lives. Whether we realize it or not, how we perceive color in the world affects our emotions. This can be organic as we explore nature or eat a meal, or it can be something that is carefully orchestrated in a commercial setting. The use of color is critical to a successful user experience and is something we focus on here at Alliance Systems. We often rely on the Psychology of Color to help guide us to craft a meaningful UX and UI.
“When it comes to communication, color is unbeatable. Unconscious or otherwise, color can evoke emotions, inspire reactions, and change modes of thinking.”
by Hailey van Braam @ colorpsychology.org
What’s Color Psychology All About?
Color Psychology has a wonderful explanation:
Color psychology is the study of how colors affect your behavior, mood, and impression on others. Research shows that colors can greatly affect our moods and the way other people respond to us. Amazingly, colors can even change our heart rate, blood pressure, and respiration.
Color perception is subjective, and certain colors have a very universal significance. This is coded into our reptilian brain, giving us that instinctive feeling of fire being dangerous and the beach being relaxing.
Color psychology is a very important tool used by artists, interior decorators, and as a marketing mechanism in many industries.
Taken from colorpsychology.org
A Brief Example
Examples of Psychology of Colors
Why School Buses are Yellow
Colors & Global Perceptions
These psychological principles have a profound impact on our design process. Going beyond selecting colors to evoke emotion in a user, we apply these principals to branding, accessibility, the application’s user experience and user interface.
- Blended with Storytelling
- Consistency is Key
- Freedom of Expression
- Understanding Challenges
- Partial to Full Impairments
- Color Blindness / Contrast
- Design Systems for Scale
- Segmentation for Functionality
- Hierarchy for Navigating Flows
User Experience Design
- Error Recovery
- Interface Simplification
- Targeted Modalities for Roles
LAW OF UX: Aesthetic Usability Effect
Users often perceive aesthetically pleasing design as design that’s more usable. And colors can play an important role for organization.
- Creates a Positive Response
- Better Perception of Function
- More Tolerant of Minor Issues
- Pleasing Design Can Act Like a Mask
- Prevent Other Issues Being Found
As you can see, color goes beyond just the aesthetics. Its use is important to crafting a successful user experience. Whether you’re designing a new logo, marketing collateral, or an internal application, knowing how and why to use colors needs to be a core competency. By understanding how color affects a user’s perception and emotions, we can design applications and websites that successful communicates to the target audience and drive project success.