How Color Theory Could Save Your Sales

Color is powerful. In 2004, research from the Seoul International Color Expo survey showed that people make subconscious judgments about products within 90 seconds of their initial viewings, and that between 62 to 90 percent of those judgments are based on color alone. The same survey also indicated that nearly 85 percent of respondents thought color was the most influential factor in purchasing decisions.

Like we said, color is powerful.

If you are struggling with conversions or are just on the lookout for ways to get even more conversions, try tapping into color theory. We are not demanding that you change your brand colors or asking you to use colors that don’t reflect your brand appropriately – we just have a few (completely free!) colorful suggestions you can implement.

Color Theory in Less Than 50 Words

Color theory analyzes the relationships of pure colors. There are two specific ways that color theory relates to designing a website that converts:

  1. Psychological color associations
  2. Contrasting color combinations and readability

Psychological Color Associations

Psychological color associations refer to people’s general reactions to colors. While some colors indicate different meanings in different cultures (in China, white is associated with death and mourning, while in the United States, white often symbolizes purity and safety) they generally follow similar translations. For instance, red signifies fire, passion, power, and extreme emotion. The color yellow is often associated with thoughts of joy, excitement, and happiness.

Here’s one of the most helpful infographics we’ve found describing psychological color associations:


Contrasting Color Combinations and Readability

Using contrasting colors on your website doesn’t just make it easier to read, but it also helps deliver a stronger visual impact. Each example below has used its own interpretation of contrast, whether it’s in the form of a button, a border, or a search bar. Your eye is quickly directed to an actionable step, making it that much easier for a conversion to occur.

unbounce nav


amazon nav


bitesquad nav


google home


When in Doubt, Use Blue

If you look carefully at the examples above, one small – but distinct – similarity will become apparent: they all utilize the color blue. Overwhelmingly, blues are the most appealing colors to both men and women, and indicate trustworthiness, loyalty, and sincerity. While blue is not the primary color for Bite Squad or Google, it is used to highlight where the next step of the user’s journey should take place.

Where to Implement

While color can inspire users to feel certain emotions and take specific actions, too many colors may immediately direct them to the “Back” button. In order to make the biggest impact, we recommend adding color to:

  • Buttons and other calls-to-action
  • Element borders
  • Headlines
  • Background hues
  • Primary web banners or hero graphics

how color affects conversions


The Best (and Worst) Part of Color Theory: It’s a Theory

In the words of the omniscient Wikipedia, a theory is a “contemplative and rational type of abstract or generalizing thinking, or the results of such thinking.” Theories are great in… well… theory, but they do leave room for anomalies. We can’t give you the “perfect color palette for more conversions,” because there isn’t one. Numerous companies have run numerous tests on button colors – blue vs. orange, green vs. red, yellow vs. green, etc. What it all comes down to is that there is no perfect color to improve conversions.

The Real Solution

The best way to figure out how color is affecting conversions is to test because the only way to know what works is to see what works. Keep color theory in mind, but let those you are trying to convert let you know what’s actually effective.