The Psychology of Colour Harmony - How Colours Affect Our Emotions

By Sumeet Shroff
Last Updated On : September 15, 2023
The Psychology of Colour Harmony - How Colours Affect Our Emotions


Howdy, everybody! I'm a skilled web designer named Sumeet Shroff and I love the task of buidling websites that look good and communicate with colours. I'd like to talk in more depth about something that has always interested me: how our minds work with colour balance. For building successful websites, you need to know how colours affect the minds of your target audience.

People are biologically wired to respond to different colours. They change how we feel, what we remember, and what we decide to do. The success or failure of a website depends on how well the creator knows how to use colour. In this in-depth lesson, I'll show you how different colours can make you feel different things and how to use them to your advantage in web design. I'll also talk about the psychology of colour balance.

The Basics of Colour Psychology

Before we talk about colour balance, let's talk about some basics of colour theory. It is important to know how colours are seen and how they often make people feel.

Red: The Colour of Passion and Energy

Red is a colour that stands out. It makes you think of passion, energy, and excitement. It can also be used to warn or tell someone to hurry. Red can create a sense of urgency or draw attention to important parts of a web page, like call-to-action buttons, but it needs to be used rarely and smartly to do so.

Blue: The Calm and Trustworthy Hue

People often link the colour blue with calm, reliability, and trust. It's not surprising that names for many banks and IT companies are blue. If you use shades of blue on your website, people might feel calm and safe.

Yellow: The Colour of Optimism

People think of happiness and hope when they see the colour yellow. It's a bright colour that stands out and makes people happy. Too much yellow, on the other hand, can be overwhelming or even make people feel scared, so it's best to use it rarely.

Green: A Symbol of Nature and Growth

The colour green makes people think of new life, the outdoors, and growth. It happens a lot on sites about health and fitness, as well as sites about the environment. When used in the right way, the colour green can make people feel calm and peaceful.

Purple: Royalty and Creativity

In the past, the colour purple has been associated with wealth, originality, and even royalty. It's a classy colour that might also make you think. Purple is often used in fields that want to show that they are unique and sophisticated.

Orange: Energetic and Friendly

Orange is a warm, friendly colour that makes people feel happy and excited. It can be used to make the look of a website more fun and interesting.

Black and White: Timeless Elegance

Black and white are classic and beautiful, and they can make you feel like things are simple. If these colours are used right, they can give a website a beautiful and professional look.

Colour Harmony in Web Design

Now that we've talked about how different colours make us feel, let's talk about how they work together. The goal of colour balance is to create a piece that is both beautiful and makes you feel something. By following these rules, you can make sure that the colours on your website look good together.

1. The Colour Wheel

Students of art and design have been using the colour wheel for a long time. Red, blue, and yellow are the primary colours. Green, orange, and purple are the secondary colours, and tertiary colours are made by mixing two nearby secondary colours. Using the colour wheel, you can put together colour schemes that look good and work well together.

Complementary Colours

Simply put, complementary colours are those that are opposite each other on the colour wheel. When they are put together, they make a striking difference that helps draw attention to certain parts. Some colour pairings, such as green and blue or orange and red, can be quite shocking.

Analogous Colours

On the colour wheel, colours that are alike are next to each other. They help everyone get along and work together in peace. In web design, using colours that are similar to each other can help make a design that looks good and flows well.

Triadic Colours

To make a triadic colour scheme, pick three colours that are directly across from each other on the colour wheel. This gives it a look that is lively and interesting. But triadic colours shouldn't be used too much so they don't overwhelm the viewer.

2. The 60-30-10 Rule

The 60-30-10 rule is a way to make sure that colours in a design work well together. It says that you should use a dominant colour for up to 60% of the design, a secondary colour for 30%, and an accent colour for the last 10%. By following this rule, you can help make sure that the end result is symmetrical and looks good.

3. Consider Cultural and Contextual Factors

In addition to the broad suggestions made by colour psychology, cultural and environmental factors should be taken into account when making a website. Different cultures have different ideas about what colours mean and how they are linked. You should also think about the website's surroundings and who you want to visit it when you choose colours.

Using Colour Harmony in Web Design

Now that we know a lot about colour psychology and the rules of colour harmony, we can dive into how to use these things in web design.

1. Establish a Clear Brand Identity

The colours on your website should show what your brand stands for. Think about what you want your audience to feel and what you want them to believe. Do you want to seem reliable and professional, or do you want to seem cool and fun? The colour scheme you choose should match the brand's personality.

2. Create a Visual Hierarchy

You can use colour to set up a visual order on your site. For example, you should use bright, clashing colours for headlines and "Call to Action" buttons. To create a sense of balance and unity, you should only use soft colours for background elements.

3. Enhance User Experience

Using the right colour choices can make the user's experience much better. For example, using colour to highlight the current step in a multi-step process or to point out mistakes in form areas can help users and keep them from getting confused.

4. Test and Iterate

Try out different colour choices and pay attention to what customers say. With A/B testing, you can find out which colour schemes work best with the people you want to reach. It's important to be willing to change your style based on what people say.

Case Studies: Effective Use of Colour Harmony

Some examples of colour harmony in the real world. Let's take a look at some real websites that use colour balance well to make people feel something:

1. Airbnb

Blue is the main colour on the Airbnb website, which has a calm colour scheme. This choice fits with the picture they want to show of being trustworthy and reliable. Red call-to-action buttons that stand out against the background tell users what they should do.

2. Spotify

Spotify has a lively colour design with many different shades of green, black, and purple. This approach shows how committed the brand is to offering a wide range of songs. For a more complete experience, the colours change to match the record labels.

3. Apple

Apple's website is a study in modest beauty, using mostly black, white, and grey. They care a lot about design and making new products, and this simple method shows that.

How advertisers and marketers employ colour combinations to appeal to consumers' feelings

Advertisers and marketers employ colour psychology to get into consumers' emotions and encourage action. Color's capacity to evoke particular emotions, express certain messages, and leave a lasting impact benefits branding, advertising, and design. Colour psychology is used by advertisers and marketers in a number of ways, including the following:

Emotional Associations

Different colours are associated with different states of mind. While red is frequently linked with excitement, haste, and passion, blue is also used to signify trust, serenity, and professionalism. Marketers utilise colour palettes to elicit various emotions in their target population.

Brand Identity

When organisations use the same colour schemes in all of their marketing materials, they build strong brand identities. McDonald's, for example, uses the emotional associations individuals have with the hues red and yellow to increase brand awareness and appeal to consumers' enthusiasm and delight.

Cultural Relevance

Colours may have diverse meanings in different cultures. When choosing colour palettes, marketers and advertising must consider cultural context. White is associated with chastity and weddings in the West, yet it is associated with death and mourning in other Asian cultures.

Contrast and Legibility

Use colour palettes that boost contrast and separation to improve the legibility of text and pictures. A message or call to action may be more effective if presented in a high-contrast colour scheme.

Seasonal and Trendy Appeal

Colour palettes are routinely changed by advertisers to match seasonal or fashionable themes. Pastel colours in the spring and warm, earthy tones in the autumn may be used in promotional materials.

Gender Targeting

Some colour schemes have long been associated with specific gender roles. Marketers can use pink and purple to target a feminine population, or blue and green to target a male demographic. However, more progressive colour palettes are replacing these outmoded stereotypes.

Color Psychology

Marketers also consider colour psychology, which is the study of how colour effects cognition and action. In restaurants, red and orange are utilised to stimulate appetite, but blue and green are employed in hospitals to ease patients' worries.

A/B Testing

A/B testing is a technique used by marketers to determine which of two or more colour schemes is more popular with customers. This data-driven method can help to optimise ads and layouts.


It is critical to ensure that colour schemes are usable by those with low eyesight. Marketers may reach more individuals if they consider factors such as colour contrast and word readability.

Complementary and Harmonious Schemes

Colour theory is commonly used by designers to create complimentary and harmonious colour palettes. Colours that are complimentary (opposite on the colour wheel) or similar (near to each other on the colour wheel) can be used to produce balance and visual appeal.

Finally, organisations employ colour psychology by purposefully picking colour schemes to evoke desired responses from customers. These decisions may have a significant impact on the effectiveness of advertising campaigns and customer perceptions of businesses.


Colour is a powerful tool in web design because it can make people feel something, give a brand a personality, and improve the user experience. Web creators who take the time to learn about colour theory and colour balance may be able to make websites that work better.


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