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How Color Affects Your Blog

Posted by on 10th Dec 2007 | 8 comments

There is an entire branch of marketing dedicated to color and how it affects a brand’s image, message and more.  In fact, there are groups and associations that operate with the primary purpose of analyzing color and trends in color.  Color is more important than you may think.

How does the color used on your blog affect your readers’ perceptions of you, your blog and your brand?  Let’s take a look at some colors commonly used in blog design to see what the psychology behind those colors could mean to your blog’s brand image.

RED: Red is an energetic color.  It grabs the attention of your readers and promotes an active environment.  However, red can also create an aggressive atmosphere as it is closely associated with anger (think of a bull charging at a red cape).  Therefore, you may want to choose to use red as a secondary color or accent color in your blog design.

BLUE: Blue is a calming color (think of the serenity of the ocean or the calming feeling a clear blue sky can create).  It is often associated with dependability and trust, which explains why so many financial companies use blue as the primary color in their logos (think Citigroup).  Blue is usually the safest color choice, but for that reason, some people might also find it to be the most boring.

GREEN: Green represents living, freshness and quality (think of thriving green plants).  These days, green also represents the pro-environment movement, and of course, it can also make people think of money.  It’s generally a safe color choice.

ORANGE: Orange conveys vitality and fun.  It’s often thought of as a ‘younger’ color better suited for less formal subject matter.  Orange (particularly a dark orange that is friendlier on the eyes on a computer screen than a brighter orange) is generally a safe color choice that can be a great primary color or secondary color for most blogs.

BLACK: Black is typically considered a serious, powerful color (think of a prestigious, luxury cologne packaged in a black box with just the brand name imprinted on the box), but it can also be associated with a sinister topic.  In online backgrounds, it tends to take on a different meaning.  In fact, black backgrounds can make a website difficult to read and thus, should be used sparingly.

WHITE: White represents purity and cleanliness (think of crisp, clean white towels used in laundry detergent ads).  Remember, white space is good.

PURPLE: Purple is often associated with royalty (think regal robes), but it also represents creativity.  Therefore, purple is a great choice for a blog about a creative topic or with innovative content featuring out-of-the-box thinking.

YELLOW: Yellow equates to warmth and happiness (think of the sun).  It is also the first color people notice (think yellow highlighter).  With that in mind, don’t overload your blog with yellow, or your readers won’t know where to look first.  Instead, use yellow to highlight certain areas of your blog that you don’t want your readers to miss.

BROWN: Brown is considered to be a very natural color most clearly associated with the earth (think of dirt and mud).  Hence, brown can also be thought of as unclean.  Depending on the topic of your blog, brown may or may not be an appropriate choice.

PINK: The most feminine color, pink can be associated with a variety of emotions and feelings from intense passion to youthful romance (think Victoria’s Secret).  With that in mind, pink is a good choice for a blog about women’s issues, relationships or other topics that invoke feelings of sentimentality or femininity.

Now that you know the basic psychology behind colors, take a look at your blog design to determine if the colors you’re using communicate the message you want them to.  Your blog is a representation of your overall brand, so the colors used in all your brand communications should use a consistent color scheme.  Start by selecting the colors that best convey the image you want your brand to portray to consumers, then modify your logo, blog, website, etc. to create a consistent brand image across all of your marketing communications and brand touch points.


My name is Susan Gunelius, and I am the author of three business-related blogs, www.MarketingBlurb.com, www.Brandcurve.com and www.WomenOnBusiness.com. I am also the Guide to Web Logs for About.com (a New York Times company) at http://weblogs.about.com, and I write three travel and family-oriented blogs at www.TheDisneyTraveler.com, www.PlayLibrary.com and www.OneBookTwoBook.com. I spent over a decade working in the marketing field for some of the largest companies in the world including divisions of AT&T and HSBC. Currently, I work as a freelance writer and copywriter, author and professional blogger, and my first two business nonfiction books will be published in 2008. I also teach a course about copywriting through the Absolute Write University (www.AbsoluteClasses.com). You can find more information on my website at www.SusanGunelius.com.

8 comments - Leave a reply
  • Posted by Michael Martine on 10th Dec 2007

    Some of these colors only have these meanings in Western culture. In Japan, white is the color of funerals, not weddings. In color trends, green is becoming the new blue. Blue was forever the color of business and business websites, but now we're starting to see a shift. Thanks for the great rundown of color associations! Very helpful.

  • Posted by ekowanz on 10th Dec 2007

    different culture hav a different meaning of colours…why don't you extend it and hav a little research in it..

    i relly love to read about that..

    but great topic u hav here.

  • Posted by Jennifer on 10th Dec 2007

    Now how did I know you wrote this :) My favorite posts of yours are the color minded ones. I like such weird colors. Posts like this remind me to keep my blogs in check. I do like brown though and may be using it for a new blog but I'll try to avoid muddy looking brown.

  • Posted by Susan Gunelius on 10th Dec 2007

    Thanks, Jennifer. I love color, too, and color marketing and branding is one of my favorite topics! I thought I'd start with a high-level color post on BloggingTips, and in the future I hope to provide some more details, trends, etc.

    Don't be afraid of brown, just be cautious. There's room for every color somewhere in the blogosphere!

  • Posted by Bong (JB) on 11th Dec 2007

    Hi!

    Since our blogs are in English, maybe we could safely say we are following western culture. We are partial towards black, white, and grey. Drab but clean and there's no evil in it, except maybe if we consider making money as "evil." :D

  • Posted by Qrystal on 11th Dec 2007

    Very interesting, and I loved what the colour analysis said about the colours in my blog's theme!! I have been trying to figure out whether there was anything I should tweak about my scheme, and thanks to this article, I'm keeping the blue and orange!! I might have to add just a few more touches of orange, to emphasize the fun, though! :)

    What would grey mean though? On my site, the grey is almost grey-blue, and I can see how it could be considered somewhat calming, but boring. Perhaps, like black, it could be considered serious… and it could also be compared to the "emptiness" of white ("grey space?")

    I grey it has its own implications too. Light silvery grey or dark steely grey can say "technology", or modernity. Grey can also be fuzzy and comforting, especially if it's a warm pinkish or purplish grey. A cooler grey could be soothing, or it could evoke imagery of a windy, stormy day. Nostalgia!!

  • Posted by Natasha on 8th Jan 2008

    Hi Susan, thanks for this post. Color has never been a strength for me so this is a very resourceful article that I'm going to bookmark. Thanks again. :smile: