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We know that colors do effect human emotions [webmasterworld.com]. I know there are a lot of psychology studies on humans and colors. Do these effect your designs?
Colors always speak differently to different cultures. Have you found that there is a common color scheme to the sites in your niche? Are you using color to its fullest potential or just making something pretty?
For example, Blue is considered a very safe colour to use design wise; it's the colour of holiness in Judeism, the colour of Krishna in Hinduism and the colour of immortality in China. It is, conversely, the colour of villany in Japan.
Black represents mourning, evil and dark spirits in many cultures, yet funnily it is seen as sophiticated and elegant in many cosmopolitan, prosperous areas.
White has associations with purity, holiness and salvation in most Western cultures, however, in many Eastern cultures White is the colour of mourning. Since white is such a primary colour for contrast, mixing it with colours that have a more positive significance (Blue, for example) can negate any negative associations.
Colours have very varied meanings in different cultures, and as designers I think that we have to take into account the cultural backgrounds of the target audience and use colour schemas that are sensitive to this. SURL (Wichita Universitys Software Useability Research Laboratory) did a colour comparison in their optimal web design study, which can be found here [psychology.wichita.edu].
<added>There are some excellent links to colour symbolism charts in the thread that you linked to Korkus, which have been added tout suite to my favourites!</added>
Are you using color to its fullest potential or just making something pretty?
Well, I don't use Red (text) over Black, or Orange over Deep Blue (they are somewhat intrusive on the eye 'ya know) and I tend to stay away from flourescents all together, opting instead for softer hues of earthtones.
So, I guess you'd say 'fullest potential' whilst being 'pretty'.
I tend to choose colors by what looks good together, depending on what a client wants for their basic color or color scheme. I don't tend to think in terms of the psychological impact of my color choices. Although having read some of the info provided in the thread referenced above, I seem to have good instincts in this area. Most of my color choices appear to have conveyed exactly the feelings they were supposed to.
I may think a little more carefully about some of my choices in the future, though. I hadn't really even considered the cross-cultural implications of color choices, though most sites I've done so far are mostly U.S.-oriented.
I also did a bit more research on the topic, too, and found several good links from a webreference article [webreference.com].
It is always amazing that something as small as a color can manipulate a person based on their background. Attention to the smallest details makes a project a success.
Pure blue is a great color because it is global. The sky is blue, water is blue, it is a primary color. Shades really can play a role though. Dark blue can be interpated differently than bright blue.
I tend to choose colors by what looks good together, depending on what a client wants for their basic color or color scheme.
yep, thatís what i am always forced to do. usually clients say these are my colors, and donít change them! itís a shame, because a good managed color psychology can enhance greatly a website.
btw, pantone declared the PANTONE 15-4020 TC [pantone.com] better known as cerulean blue as the color of the new millenium.
in an article here [business2.com] it is said to have improved the sales of varios items.
i havenít compared all the different ways of displaying the cerulean blue that pantone tells, iím almost sure theyíre not all identical!
The section is titled "Don't Take Color So Personally". He states that
Individual responses to color will also emerge from very personal experiences, most often those that occurred in childhood.
He states that one may hate the color green because it reminds them of the time they took a bite out of an apple and they see half a green worm still in the apple. This would cause them to have a negative connotation attached to that color. So a counterpoint can be made by saying that green can remind someone of nature and a great summer spent at camp etc.
I'm not going to draw conclusions from this I just wanted to mention it because it's interesting to think about it.
There's an old WebTechniques [newarchitectmag.com] article which offered some tips on picking colors, cross-culturally and cross-gender. Take it with a grain of salt-- EuroDisney's problems extended far beyond painting rides purple-- but it is food for thought.
Another thing to remember is that colors go in and out of vogue. Many of us associate an era with a set of colors or vice versa. Drab green is a 1970s kitchen. Fluorescent yellow or pink is a swimsuit in a 1980s Valley girl movie. About a decade ago in the urban US, dark forest greens ("British racing green") became a very popular color for automobiles; more recently, silver seemed to be the car color of the day. And judging from the new SUVs parked around our building, perhaps yellow is the new silver? Well, I hope not ;).
The WebTechniques article also mentioned [colormatters.com...] .
and the human eyes are not a industry standarized hardware - everyone sees color in his own way. there are some websites around where you can display your website like it would look if you can't see green for example. i think this is good to have in mind on this discussion, even it's more dedicated to color theory.