This might come as a surprise to some of you out there, but when it comes to the choice of colours and the colour schemes used on successful websites, there’s a surprising and quite impressive amount of science and psychology that goes into it. So much so, that we decided that one blog post wouldn’t do it justice when it comes to explaining the processes involved in choosing which colours convert, so we’ll be creating a second blog on the topic soon.

Here’s what we’ve found out so far:

First Impressions Count

We make incredibly fast judgements on what we see; in some cases, studies have shown this to be within a fraction of a second without us even consciously realising it. This somewhat discredits the notion that we shouldn’t ‘judge a book by its cover’: to be successful, websites need to instantly grab the attention of the viewer. According to research by Emerald Insight, up to 90% of these impressions are based on colour, so which colours are most effective?

Colour Responses in Humans

We can process millions of different colours and shades, and psychologically certain colours and combinations can have a significant effect on our mood and behaviour, which contributes to how we form our opinions on the websites we browse.

Here’s a small selection:

  • Red: These bold shades denote power and strength and are often used against less-imposing colours to highlight key points and symbols.
  • Yellow: Lighter yellows create a friendly and warm tone, whereas more intense shades stand out and promote a positive and optimistic quality to the content.
  • Blue: Another strong colour that is said to have a calming effect and at the same time gives an impression of trustworthiness.
  • Green: There are connections to nature and health that come with green colours and you often find them with content linked to such purposes. As well as this the lighter shades can also have a calming effect on the audience.
  • White/Grey: Often used for backgrounds, as these neutral colours can emphasise and highlight strong coloured content when they are set against each other.

Brand Recognition through Colour

It’s no surprise that the more memorable websites use carefully chosen colours and mixtures in their content and logos to improve their brand recognition.

Bold, bright and striking colours like the red and yellow of the McDonald’s logo can instantly catch a customer’s eye and stay in their subconscious. 


Similarly, the strong yellow and black of the AA’s website is very memorable and effectively presents them as a powerful and dependable service.

Making Links More Clickable

It’s not just about logos and content though; the colour of your hyperlinks can also determine how ‘clickable’ they might be. The underlined and blue coloured text has lasted since the creation of hyperlinks simply because it is what we are now used to seeing and it is what viewing audiences recognise and trust.

We’ve only just scratched the surface when it comes to looking at which colours convert. In our next post, we’ll look at more of the intricacies we encounter when it comes to the selections and designs we see on the most successful websites in the world.