Welcome to our Empathy in Design series, where we help you to understand your companies voice and begin building your brand. We will start the series with one of the most basic and important concepts, color.

Color provides a first impression of who your brand is, and what it stands for. Colors convey emotions, feelings, experiences, and each color can mean something different. Color psychology is the study that deals with colors and their effect on human behavior.

Color psychology has been around since ancient Egyptians studied the effect of colors on mood and used them for holistic development. In more modern times, Swiss psychiatrist Carl Jung has found that colors and humans have a special connection. Jung has said, “humans have universal, bodily response to color stimulus” and “colors are the mother tongue of the subconscious”. Most recently, marketers and academics have begun to take note of the relationship between colors and humans.  A study called “Exciting Red and Competent Blue” revealed that the purchasing intent of customers is greatly affected by the brand color because the color speaks for the brand’s identity and personality.



Marketers see color as important, as color can influence consumers’ emotions and perceptions about goods and services. Take a walk through the mall and you’ll see color psychology at play. Stores aimed toward a younger audience, such as Forever 21 or PacSun have used colors like orange and yellow to attract a youthful audience where more “sophisticated” brands like Aldo and Express have branded themselves with black.

Depending on what your business is, there may be a very obvious choice for color. For example, our client Revolution Farms, a year-round lettuce farm, needed a website that reflected their passion for lush, fresh lettuce. To create this, we gave Revolution Farms a monochrome color scheme consisting of different shades of green, which creates a sense of health, good taste, and eco-friendliness.

Although having only one color for your branding is perfectly fine, many companies have 2-3 colors in their logo. Because it’s sometimes difficult to know what colors will pair well, it is common to refer to the color wheel to help make your decision. You may remember the color wheel from art class. A color wheel is an abstract illustrative organization of color hues around a circle, which shows the relationships between primary colors, secondary colors, tertiary colors, etc.



Complimentary colors are colors sitting opposite of each other on the color wheel. One benefit of using complementary colors is that the opposing color naturally draws the viewer’s eye. Because of this, complementary colors (red and green, orange and blue, yellow and purple) are used often for logo design or mascot colors. Complementary colors hold such high marketing value, that you likely have already associated certain color combinations with certain holidays or brands, such as red and green with Christmas or blue and orange with the Detroit Tigers. To avoid having your brand associated with one of these, play around with different hues to find a color scheme that works for you.



If you’re not looking for a palette quite so bold, perhaps analogous colors are for you. Analogous colors are like best friends who sit really close to each other on the color wheel. In design, the pairing creates a seamless flow that’s easy on the eyes. The design concept will work well with most ideas, especially if you’re going for a peaceful, smooth effect. Analogous colors are a very easy way to promote a sense of flow on your website. Rather than looking for bold, complementary colors, a more understated scheme can be used to promote a sense of security and serenity.



Looking for help with finding the right color scheme for your brand, check out our resources for color here:

Grand Rapids WordPress Website Design and Development


We’ve created many colorful sites at CurlyHost. Check out these colorful sites!

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