Color Theory and UX Design

Color Theory and UX Design

Do you know the color theory behind UX (User Experience) design? Here we discuss the different color meanings and when they are used.

What is Color Theory?

When you paint a room in your house, you may think about how the color you choose will affect the mood or lighting in that room. You might paint a game room a fun color, however you’re not likely to paint the entryway by your front door bright red.

The same goes for the color scheme of your website.

Color can help elicit a subconscious emotion or feeling from your users. For example, blue tends to bring feelings of security and trust, while red may influence energy and activity.

And while it’s common for us to gravitate towards colors we like personally, it may not be the best for your business.

Think instead about the personality and message of your company’s brand. How you want your users to feel when visiting your site?

Color Theory & UX Design - color wheel

Color Theory Examples

  • Red – energy, power, vigor, leadership, courage, passion, activity, joy, danger, evil, anger, blood, highly visible

  • Orange – cheerful, passion, pleasure, enthusiasm, fascination, creativity, fun, frivolous, flamboyant, crass, low Class

  • Yellow – optimism, childish, freshness, law, education, arrogance, cowardice, illness, betrayal

  • Green – wealth, money, calming, trees, ambition, endurance, healing, calm, generosity, natural, completion, protection, envy, jealousy, immaturity

  • Blue – security, trustworthy, stability, loyalty, wisdom, trust, friendliness, preservation, courage, science, sadness, depression, cold, staid

  • Purple – magic, mystery, spirituality, the sub-conscious, creativity, dignity, royalty, mourning, cruelty, arrogance, conceit

  • Black – powerful, mysterious, elegance, sophistication, functionality, death, morbid, aloof


How to Work with Your Chosen Colors

Once you have your main color choices, there are a variety of ways to enhance your color palette with different shades, tones, hues, etc. 

This can be very powerful on your website. You can use certain action colors to direct users to specific things you want them to do or areas you want to bring to their attention – espeially for buttons and other CTAs (Calls to Action).

Whichever direction you choose to go, remember that you can help influence the emotional response of your users just by using these color theory concepts.


Want to read more? Check out all our UX (User Experience) blog posts!

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