Why Facebook Is Blue: The Science of Colors in Marketing

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the science of colors in marketingWhy is Facebook blue? According to The New Yorker, the reason is simple. It’s because Mark Zuckerberg is red-green colorblind. This means that blue is the color Mark can see the best. In his own words Zuck says:

“Blue is the richest color for me; I can see all of blue.”

Not highly scientific right? Well, although in the case of Facebook, that isn’t the case, there are some amazing examples of how colors actually affect our purchasing decisions.

After all, the visual sense is the strongest developed one in most human beings. It’s only natural that 90% of an assessment for trying out a product is made by color alone.

So how do colors really affect us and what is the science of colors in marketing really? As we are also trying to make lots of improvements to our product at Buffer, this was a key part to learn more about. Let’s dig into some of the latest, most interesting research on it.

 

First: Can you recognize the online brands just based on color?

Before we dive into the research, here are some awesome experiments that show you how powerful color alone really is. Based on just the colors of the buttons, can you guess which company belongs to each of them:

Example 1 (easy):

the science of colors in marketing

Example 2 (easy):

the science of colors in marketing

Example 3 (medium):

the science of colors in marketing

Example 4 (hard):

the science of colors in marketing

 

These awesome examples from Youtube designer Marc Hemeon, I think show the real power of colors more than any study could.

How many were you able to guess? (All the answers are at the bottom of this post!)

 

Which colors trigger which feeling for us?

Being completely conscious about what color triggers us to think in which way isn’t always obvious. The Logo Company has come up with an amazing breakdown which colors are best for which companies and why. Here are 4 great examples:

Black:

the science of colors in marketing: black

Green:

the science of colors in marketing: green

Blue:

the science of colors in marketing: blue

Especially if we also take a look at what the major brands out there are using, a lot of their color choices become a lot more obvious. Clearly, everyone of these companies is seeking to trigger a very specific emtion:

the science of colors in marketing: color guide

 

On top of that, especially when we want to buy something, the colors can play a major role. Analytics company KISSmetrics created an amazing infographic on the science of how colors affect our purchases.

Especially the role of “Green” stands out to me as the most relaxing color we can use to make buying easier. We didn’t intentionally choose this as the main color for Buffer actually, it seems to have worked very well so far though.

At second look, I also realized how frequently black is used for luxury products. It’s of course always obvious in hindsight. Here is the full infographic:

the science of colors in marketing: buying

 

How to improve your marketing with better use of colors:

This all might be fairly entertaining, but what are some actual things we can apply today to our website or app? The answer comes yet again from some great research done by the good folks over at KISSmetrics.

If you are building an app that mainly targets Women, here is KISSmetrics best advice for you:

  • Women love: Blue, Purple and Green
  • Women hate: Orange, Brown and Gray

the science of colors in marketing: women

In case your app is strictly targeting men, the rules of the game are slightly different. Here it goes:

  • Men love: Blue, Green and Black
  • Men hate: Brown, Orange and Purple

the science of colors in marketing for men

 

In another amazing experiment Performable (now HubSpot) wanted to find out whether simply changing the color of a button would make a difference to conversion rates.

They started out with the simple hypothesis of choosing between 2 colors (green and red) and trying guess what would happen.

For green, their intuition was this:

“Green connotes ideas like “natural” and “environment,” and given its wide use in traffic lights, suggests the idea of “Go” or forward movement.”

For red, their thinking went like this:

“The color red, on the other hand, is often thought to communicate excitement, passion, blood, and warning. It is also used as the color for stopping at traffic lights. Red is also known to be eye-catching.”

So, clearly an A/B test between green and red would result in green, the more friendly color to win. At least that was their guess. Here is how their experiment looked like:

the science of colors in marketing performable

So how did that experiment turn out? The answer was more surprising than I had expected:

The red button outperformed the green button by 21%

What’s most important to consider is that nothing else was changed at all:

21% more people clicked on the red button than on the green button. Everything else on the pages was the same, so it was only the button color that made this difference.

This definitely made me wonder. If we were to read all the research before this experiment and ask every researcher which version they would guess would perform better, I’m sure green would be the answer in nearly all cases. Not so much.

At my company Buffer, we’ve also conducted dozens of experiments to improve our conversion rates through changes of colors. Whilst the results weren’t as clear, we still saw a huge change. One hypothesis is that for a social media sharing tool, there is less of a barrier to signup, which makes the differences less significant.

Despite all the studies, generalizations are extremely hard to make. Whatever change you make, treat it first as a hypothesis, and see an the actual experiment what works for you. Personally, I’m always very prone to go with opinion based on what I read or research I’ve come across. Yet, data always beats opinion, no matter what.

Quick last fact: Why are hyperlinks blue?

This is something that always interested me and is actually a fun story. It’s to give the best contrast between blue and the original grey of websites:

why are hyperlinks blue?

Here is the full explanation:

“Tim Berners-Lee, the main inventor of the web, is believed to be the man who first made hyperlinks blue. Mosaic, a very early web browser, displayed webpages with a (ugly) gray background and black text. The darkest color available at the time that was not the same as the black text was that blue color. Therefore, to make links stand apart from plain text, but still be readable, the color blue was selected.”

I think it is extremely fascinating that simply changing something as small as the color, can completely chance the outcome of something. What have been your findings in terms of colors and marketing? I’d love your ideas on this.

Solution to the riddle: Example 1: Facebook, Example 2: Google, Example 3: Flickr, Example 4: LinkedIn

Quick note: You can now see exactly how many people clicked, retweeted, liked and shared your Tweets and FB posts with Buffer analytics.

About the Author

Leo Widrich

Co-founder and CMO at Buffer. I enjoy writing about lifehacks, social media tips and updates to Buffer. For some more personal posts, check out leostartsup.

  • http://mattragland.com/ Matt Ragland

    Leo, appreciate you continually diving in to interesting research. I’ve been aware of the role colors play in feeling, but not as much in buying. A couple examples I’ve noticed in my own work.

    My wife and I launched TheSimpleGym.com with the idea of conveying a simple but effective way to workout, while staying in balance with your schedule. We chose a minimalist, grey and black theme that helped drive home that point. I can see some testing is needed for accent colors like yellow, purple, and green.

    At the summer camp I have worked at, the main color was green, which we consciously chose to underline the mission of growth and personal stories.

    Thanks again, a lot to learn here!

    • LeoWid

      Hi Matt,

      Thanks for stopping by and yes color research is always insanely interesting!

      Congrats on launching TheSimpleGym and my intuition is, no worries at all, I think optimizing can come a bit later. I think in the case above with Performable, they started to do these A/B tests a few years down the line and not necessarily from the start! :)

      • http://mattragland.com/ Matt Ragland

        Thanks! Agree that it’s not good to focus much on optimizing in early stages, doesn’t really mix with being lean. Interesting that you and Joel didn’t necessarily choose green for the reasons listed above. But perhaps subconsciously the emotions around green played a bigger role than you realized!

    • Amy Henson

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  • bgbs

    What affects my purchasing decision is the price. If the Red button screams $1, and the nice Green button color says $100, I will go for the red button. Now, how can we test this theory? We don’t have to, just place red button next to the green, and you will get 100% of red click, 0 green clicks. Listen, when it comes to price, nobody is color blind.

    • http://mattragland.com/ Matt Ragland

      True, for something that extreme. What the article is saying though is color plays a part in the initial attraction for a brand and the story it tells. The Performable study showed that when all other controls are equal, Red showed a significantly higher click rate than green.

      I would agree that even in comparable price tests, the lower one will usually win. But couldn’t we also say that certain colors play a big role in catching the eye of a customer, before even knowing the price?

      • bgbs

        Yes and no. When ur site uses predominantly red theme, red color will certainly not stand out. These tests are conducted in a vacuum using gray or white theme. But it is not the case in real world cases.

  • Jase

    Thankyou for putting together this article. It is written in such a way that the novice, professional developer, and designer can use it as a point of discussion.

    I’m glad you bought up the quote on Mosaic – it’s one of the little mus-conceptions you can blow away by asking any developer aged 40 or later how it all came about.

    “Tim Berners-Lee, the main inventor of the web, is believed to be the man who first made hyperlinks blue”.

    I’ll play the pendant here, since I was doing my PhD in “hypertext” (as it was called) at the time. The blue colour was well and truly established as a link colour in many hypertext systems before TBL wrote Mosaic. It was about the only other colour, other than black and dark purple, that was readable in the windows 3.1 colour pallet. Consequently, the visited link became purple. The underline was there because, prior to that, on a black and white screen, you had to do something, and underlining was the link.

    • LeoWid

      Hi Jase, thanks so much for the kind words on this. It’s so amazing to hear that this will be useful for lots of different people.

      Ah, that makes sense, in that case the hypertext color goes back even further! Thanks a bunch for the heads up on this, it’s super interesting to hear from you as someone who has seen it all.

  • Alessandra

    Great Article!!! Makes me think what my site is saying!

    http://www.realtybyalessandra.com

  • http://twitter.com/SmartSiteBlog SmartSiteBlog

    Thanks for sharing this great info!!
    Blue and Green is the best color combination:)
    It’s true, my favorite color is purple:)

    • LeoWid

      So glad it was interesting! :)

  • http://www.facebook.com/DJZephyr102 Carl Sawyer

    Am less concerned about the color of the header and more about the background. Bright white everywhere really gets at the eyes- Facebook, YouTube, Outlook. When its grey text or dark images on white backdrops, my eyes just want to melt. Wish more stuff had darker, non-glaring themes.

    • LeoWid

      Hi Carl, that’s a good one, a typical problem of programmers, designers and people who spend lots and lots of time online (like me!), making everything inverted is a great solution I’ve found! :)

  • http://www.examiner.com/internet-and-technology-in-national/david-frankk David Frankk

    The list of qualities associated with colors is brilliant ! Also, its great to see how brands use color to define their ideologies.

    • LeoWid

      Hi David, thanks for the kind words and so glad it was interesting. Yeah, who would have thought your message is also told through the color you use?

  • http://socialmediasatisfied.com/ Lisa Mason

    This is a great one Leo! I can see myself referring this one often. Fantastic!

    • LeoWid

      thanks so much Lisa, so glad it’s a helpful resource! :)

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=875360186 Bruno Gustav Lanevik

    I had no idea which brands those buttons were from :P

    • http://twitter.com/GracieLake Gracie Lake

      I’m right there with you Bruno. The color combos don’t mean “brand X” to me. But overall this is great info. I build landing pages for online marketers and help people set up their websites. And it’s true: My red ones have been performing well and now I can see a reason why!

      • http://www.facebook.com/flaviomauri Flavio Mauri

        Quite strange you can’t associate colors with brands, and i’m not talking about the specific case.
        It’s a game i’ve seen playing several times between ui-nerds so it can be biased toward social-media and startups.
        Around facebook you may have seen the color test to recognize cartoons.

    • Michal

      Facebook, Google, Flickr and last I don’t know :)

    • Barbara

      I had no idea about two of them, but thought about Pepsi for the red, white and blue, ans IKEA for the last one.

    • http://twitter.com/TonyTissot Tony Tissot

      I was 0 for 4 on the color palette quiz as well.

    • Peter Pawinski

      Me neither. 0/4. How is example 1 Facebook? I can’t remember ever seeing that light olive-ish green on the page anywhere, and I’m on Facebook every day. If the green wasn’t there, I may have gotten that one.

  • http://twitter.com/giannicara Gianni Cara

    Regarding the “Green and red button experiment” I would be careful with the analysis of the result. Is it because red outperforms green or is it because in this case red created more contrast than green with the rest of the page?

    • Tom Hermans

      indeed. the red button stands out of the color scheme. that’s why it calls to action much better..

    • http://twitter.com/ilinas ILINA SIMEONOVA

      Gianni – my thoughts exactly. The assumptions about certain color effects should always be considered in the context of the surrounding elements and colors – as with everything else in design.

      For instance, in this example, I don’t think the comparison was even fair. There were quite a few other green elements on the page which competed with (and decreased the importance of) the button when green. What if they were grey? What if in the red option, the green elements on the page were made red? Varying either of these would have made the test much more accurate.

      So yeah, red is a very noticeable color, for sure… But I wouldn’t necessarily assume it would be the best performing option in every case.

      • http://twitter.com/giannicara Gianni Cara

        I totally agree with you Ilina! I also believe that red is usually a great color for CTAs, but the context obviously matters.

      • http://www.newtress.com/ NewTress Hair

        Completely agree with both of you by the way, Red just stood out and my eyes naturally gravitated to that part of the page upon seeing the red / green contrast.

      • Jesse

        or is it the whole ” Whatever you do…. don’t press the red button” effect?

      • http://www.techatlast.com/ Olawale Daniel

        Colour RED to many people connotes negativism while to others, it is prideness. I love but would never use it for my website. Instead, I’d rather go for blue or green colour.

    • http://twitter.com/Louise_Myers Louise Myers

      Green is relaxing, thus causes passivity. Red excites, makes you want to push the button!

      • http://www.facebook.com/yousudip Sudip Bhakta

        The fact is true that red excites. But somehow it really looks like a warning. On the other hand green earns user’s faith easily.

      • Chloe paver

        I agree with Sudip. Although red excites, it easily warns people too. My warnings that pop up on computers are red. Green is welcoming, relaxing and screams go. You have to think of it as Traffic lights. Red=stop Green=go

    • lepoete73

      Also, in recent times green buttons are used by ads on download sites to attract your attention away from the real download you want to make. I don’t click on green buttons anymore until I’m certain it is the real download one.

    • Chris D’Arcy Bean

      Good point, the green vs red A/B test is won by red because there is already non purpose green on the screen (as Ilina has mentioned).

      I would not use red for a button unless I needed to draw attention to an error myself.

    • virtualCableTV

      The red button was clicked more often because pizza sauce is red and the color red elicits a hunger response. That’s also why women have painted their lips red for centuries.

      The white color of the background of the page is because we are all racists.

  • http://twitter.com/JasonMartell Jason Martell

    Excellent Article

    • LeoWid

      thanks Jason!

  • Samseau

    So why does this blog use green so much? You’re not an environmental blog! :)

  • xiaowen

    dfd

  • Laura

    If you need a proofreader let me know.

  • http://www.facebook.com/yuyume Yuyu Ilany

    the anatomy of the eye explains some of this quite well. There are three groups of colour receptors in the back of our eyeball: for red, for green and for blue. We have, on average, more red colour receptors, therefore red is the colour most easily seen also under unfavourable light conditions. That’s why “stop” in a traffic light is red. Moreover, our eyes scan a page or screen left-right line after line, top to bottom. However, they are distracted by locations with the greatest contrast (black and white).
    It’s more difficult the discern details when contrast is low (grey& white, dark greys & black etc. )

    • LeoWid

      Hi Yuyu,

      I did not know any of this, very interesting stuff!

    • Martha Yost

      It’s all so interesting – but remember, firetrucks in many cities have been changing from red to lime-yellow as the yellow is easier to see at night and apparently in the daytime, too as there are far fewer accidents. The eyes are essentially a light meter and the eye goes to lighter colors first.

      http://www.apa.org/research/action/lime.aspx

      I think the biggest lesson with this is to keep testing because you never know when your audience’s behavior might change.

  • jumpwah

    Example 4 was the easiest for me, Python.

  • http://exposureofthoughts.com/ Ashutosh

    Thanks Leo for presenting the thoughts about colours in such a colourful way. Really, I never thought so much about colours logically, although did followed by basic instincts. It was more of a hit and trial mode where I apply a colour, look at it and try to analyse my own reactions. Luckily, I happen to choose the colour blue for my blog too and you have helped me to understand that it was a good choice.

  • http://marekma1000.pl/ Marek Ma1000

    thanks for this article, it’s very helpful ;)

  • Jethro Tull

    I do cocaine.

  • http://twitter.com/OfficeZilla OfficeZilla

    Such an interesting article!

  • Alex

    I mistook LinkedIn for Python…

  • PriceDigital

    So true. Here’s more info. Fast food is very Red. http://bit.ly/10OVoR6

  • Lorraine McNulty

    Interesting article – although I didn’t guess any of the examples!
    I’m going to split test some more colours now as I always thought orange was a good “call to action” colour – maybe not so! Blue and green may be the way to go but red always draws my eye the most.

  • Shellie L

    In re the green and red button, now I need to ask, does a BUTTON make a difference vs a large font that says GET STARTED NOW!

    I may have to rethink a few things… Thanks for the article.

  • http://twitter.com/RogerHurni Roger Hurni

    The problem I have with this post is that readers who aren’t designers are going to walk away thinking they know everything about color theory. In reality other factors the various hues and other associated verbal cues can effect how the brand is perceived. Honestly, most people would be able to pick out a brand from a color unless they are engaged with they brand everyday. Facebook is an exception, not the rule.

  • http://www.incion.com/ profesional web design

    Blue and Green is the best color combinations. Really awesome information. Thanks for posting.

  • Graciousstore

    This is an interesting study! I like to make choice of colors based on their meaning rather otherwise.

  • Kathleen_Booth

    Great post Leo! Color really is a powerful way to communicate. It’s interesting to see trends – such as black being used frequently for luxury marketing – but I think this information could also be used to purposefully BUCK the trends. In other words, if you are in the luxury arena and want your website to stand out, DON’T use a lot of black, etc. Too often, we see company websites that all look like those of their competitors, and sometimes it is more powerful to go against the grain and stand out.

    Very interesting! Thanks for posting!

  • Richard D’Angelo

    I’ve seen SO many different accounts of the meaning of colors, each one contradicting the other. This is a very informative and well written piece.

  • http://www.facebook.com/marcus.hardaway Marcus Hardaway

    May I share this info on my website?

  • http://profiles.google.com/temafrank1 Tema Frank

    Bear in mind, though, that there are cultural differences in how colors are interpreted.

  • Natalie Bovair

    Quite a few brands, such as Nike (http://www.cupidesigns.com/wp-content/images/nike-logo-history007.jpg), Reebok (http://cdn-1.famouslogos.us/images/xrebook-logo-history.jpg.pagespeed.ic.k_uaphLQkV.jpg), and Walmart (http://i267.photobucket.com/albums/ii315/3130dog/walmart_logo_history2.png) have gone through a number of colours over time. I am inclined toward scanning the current environment for context when making a decision about a brand/product colour (it may be necessary to incorporate or avoid certain colours for likeability or competitive contrast). It’s also important to get the intended audience to have some input to the decision when possible (it’s faster and less expensive than ever to set up A-B tests like the one referred to in this article).

  • http://twitter.com/bernier Sarah Bernier Danks

    I agree with Gianni — in the existing color scheme of the example shown, red outperformed green, but what about if you’d thrown blue, purple, orange, etc into the mix, vs. a 50/50 split? Also, the obvious — use different color schemes and change the CTA “accent” to better understand the performance.

    Great article!

    • Guest
    • http://twitter.com/bernier Sarah Bernier Danks

      also, I’m female & I LOVE the colors orange, brown & grey!

      • http://www.facebook.com/flaviomauri Flavio Mauri

        Quite intersting, i’m male and i like orange quite much, purple also. It depends on the context it is used and the color saturation/darkness (i don’t like much the pastel purple but i like a lot a dark-grape-purple.

  • http://profiles.google.com/temafrank1 Tema Frank

    Most Dutch people (of either gender) love the colour orange

    • http://hea-www.harvard.edu/~jlgalache/ J.L. Galache

      I’m not Dutch and I love Orange, especially in its contrast to dark grey. I’m also a man! :-)

      These rules about taste should always be prefaced with “on average”.

  • Rodrigo Marrafão de Faria

    Great topic indeed. I found myself in this debate quite often.
    It is very subjective and relative, but i do believe hot color buttons stands out.

    The post is incredible informative, congrats! Forwarded to my team! :-)

  • http://twitter.com/techalam Techalam

    Awesome and interesting info, it’s really appreciative! Well, all the information is very interesting, especially the colors trigger part and hyperlinks fact. Thanks Leo for sharing this awesome facts and tweeted :)

  • http://twitter.com/B2B_Insight B2B International

    Colour – while not the single defining factor in the success of a brand – does have an important part to play. Branding research can generate a wide range of colours that can be used differently to deliver consistency and powerful positioning in logos, corporate marketing, packaging and other aspects of your brand. It is also interesting to note that research carried out by UK patent and trademark attorneys Withers & Rogers showed that 64% of respondents ranked colour as more important than slogan, typeface or logo shape.

    What does your corporate brand say to you and your market? http://www.b2binternational.com/b2b-blog/2008/05/16/the-power-of-colours-in-branding/

  • angelos

    in a sports site which color is the best?

  • http://www.facebook.com/nairr Rohit Nair

    I would disregard the Red-Green A/B Testing results because the color available is the ONLY Call to Action.

    Analytics from our mobile apps (Curious Kitty Trivia and Crazy Quiz) clearly proved that people are apprehensive about clicking a Red button vis-a-vis Green.

  • http://www.facebook.com/sajjadhaider.se Sajjad Haider Warraich

    good article , giving new dimensions to my thinking and firming my believe that man is a happy victim of such theories .

  • Bob

    None of the colors meant anything to me in the riddle. But then I don’t do social media so I guess that is to be expected.

  • http://www.facebook.com/Adman4 Robert Davis
  • Rajan

    So according to u which color to be used for both men n women???

  • http://www.facebook.com/yousudip Sudip Bhakta

    I have always used green and blue for my sites. I thought they were soothing for the eyes. But never thought such deep way. Thank you Leo.

  • http://twitter.com/BizOrganic OrganicMarketing

    There are a lot of people that think of the effect of colors in marketing, due to negligence or ignorance. But as it has been shown over and over again some colors can’t be added to some markets.

    I have a good example of that years ago i made a homepage for a company that directly sold shoes and cloth for for workers, the had some cool (not as in awesome, as in cool, as in earth more of a way) green color before the new owner toke over. After the change it was all purple, this didn’t go so well and the company was out of business after 6 months.

    Circumstances, I don’t know, this can has been from other things, but to change something that works to something that you don’t know ain’t or maybe going to work is a very big risk. So it’s better to stick to what works. As we have blue and green in the logo (http://organic-marketing.biz) and this works for us, tho we have experimented with other colors, but we keep coming back to those two once.

    Best regards, Tomas

  • Peg Davis

    Readers of this article may find this interesting. It’s scientific research MECLABS performed more than 5 years ago on landing page design including call-to-action button colors and their effect on conversions. http://www.marketingexperiments.com/improving-website-conversion/increasing-conversion.html

  • Sherri Melton

    This article gives me new insight as to why Keller Williams attracts so many consumers thus making us #1 in the nation! Their colors are red, black, white and tan!

  • http://www.newtress.com/ NewTress Hair

    Really interesting with the part about the colors people prefer. Our filipino hair site uses Purple and PInk as its primary colors, however we can probably look to tweek things by adding more green and blue in the call to actions, which we will try. This however makes us wonder how women react to strong call to actions in colors that they supposedly don’t like. Either way its a great read and could provide an interesting basis for future color marketing and psychology studies.

  • Andrea

    I did not know that men and women both hate brown and orange. I guess, according to this, it would be best to go with green.

  • Malachi Simonyan

    I have worked with Harley and i don’t think they want to be marketed too much as friendly as opposed to excitement.

  • qweq
  • Chloe paver

    This is a great article and really puts things into perspective. Blue does show strength and credibility. A large number of Social Media sites use blue. The color remains both professional and social at the same time, huge companies use shades of blue because both women and men relate to it.
    As opposed to emotionally warm colors like red, orange, and yellow; blue
    is linked to consciousness and intellect. Blue is used to suggest precision
    when promoting high-tech products.

  • Janice Dome

    Great article, nice research

  • vizioned

    One of the challenges is to identify the correct color values (hex /rgb) and connect them to keyword or mood. It is a constant debate on whether I am using the right red or green for the task. Sites like http://www.vhue.co or http://www.colourlovers.com are immensely helpful.

  • Rohit5

    I love this kind of analysis and research, thanks to those good folks who came with this. Given the competition, you just can’t ignore anything Java, you need to use every bit of information for your benefit.

  • Shez

    In my opinion, green portrays a company as being environmental friendly, while the colour red is an exciting colour, but also shows boldness. What about real estate websites? Is there any particular colours that they can use when developing or restructuting their websites?

  • Leanne CableOrganizer

    Awesome article. Thank you. The facebook story makes me think that if you have to look at your site all day long because you are working on it, it might as well be a color you like.

  • Azfar Hariz

    can someone provide me some literature from any books related to theory
    of color / color in use in advertisement / science of color that make
    sense / journal about it? i need it to analyze an advertisement. you can send me email on azfaaiz@gmail.com or directly contact me on facebook. thanks in advance

  • kelly

    I hate to be a pedant but there’s a spelling error under the explanation for blue on your info-graphic. Also not keen on the boring gender division stuff. It’s getting old now. I prefer the masculine colours.

  • http://freshtightdesigns.com/ freshtight

    Hi @leowid – do you think perhaps the reason the a/b test favored the red button was because it was in contrast to the Performable logo? On the left version, the button doesn’t stand out as much (as compared to the right) because it’s the primary color on the screen.

    Do you agree?

  • peopleunit

    I use to sell on eBay and in my listings I frequently used gradient orange/red text boxes in my photos to describe the item with a fire-like background and a text color that was clipped from the image somewhere (so that it matched the photo). Text in photos are powerful. For the items that I sold, I did quite well compared to most. That was then. eBay now ‘poisons’ the search results so I quit selling, as I preferred to do it part time. Not a power seller.

    • peopleunit

      The rest of my description area had black text on a gray background, and I ALWAYS included a call to action at the end of the description.

  • Pedro Roberto

    The article is really good, I just have one question is: What are the sources of information, thanks!

  • Julia

    The deep irony of a page talking about colour and colour blindness making the obvious accessibiliy error of communicating links by colour alone thus rendering them invisible to a bunch of users who have the exact problems they’re talking about. Awesome.

  • KirkWard

    This whole science was developed by Dr. Max Luscher and can be understood in greater depth by studying his works and writings on psychoanalysis through a color selection test.

  • Ian Pickering

    Awesome post! What a killer resource- there is a ton of information here.

  • AMD

    Brilliant!

  • http://marcscottvoiceover.com/ Marc Scott

    So orange is friendly… but both men and women hate it? That’s kind of ironic, isn’t it? Maybe it’s time to reevaluate my colour choices for my logo! :)

  • http://lisadelay.com/blog Lisa Colon DeLay

    Yep. I worked a bunch with Mosiac (way back when) and the blue really did stand out and draw me in to click. In my blog I still will sometimes change the default to make my links blue, because it’s so ubiquitous for many (and perhaps b/c it is blue, I felt emotionally comforted and more secure! lol)

    Thanks for the great content, Leo. I’ve buffered this.

  • http://www.steven-phillips.com.au Steven Phillips

    Good to see some defense of orange. I can find plenty of design advice but none which says the colour is “hated”.

  • JamieStanton

    “Pink. Romantic and feminine. Used to market products to women and young girls.”

    ಠ_ಠ

  • Catherine Broughton

    I like a mixture of colours and that in itself negates quite a lot of this. But it was an interesting read all the same.

  • Ana Berges

    Thank you for this post Leo.

    I have a another experience with red and green a/b testing, but it is directly connected to the type of business. We did the test for an inmobiliary business whose logotype was red mainly and the client wanted to keep red color for Google Adwords (display network). We got very bad CTR so we decided to test the green color.

    The result was that the green advertisement (green CTA) performed x 2 better. The red one seems to be too agresive for such investment as buying a house is.

    Just want to share this, thanks

  • Anna Vanlandingham PinterestPr

    Other research has been done which resulted in red being the most clicked button.

  • Mama Caz

    Interesting. Is there any allowance for variations caused by fashion fluctuations?

  • http://www.asanayoga.de/ Robin

    We’re mainly targeting woman and our young online shop is orange :( Should I start a test whether another color converts better? That’s difficult, because it would change the whole brand identity.
    Ebay and Amazon are orange too!

    • Sheta Kaey

      I love orange.

  • Ray Paule Patrick

    blue is the colour of the blueze, and mankind can’t never get enough of the blueze …it’s what makes the skies of dreams reality :):) blue is all the colours of life as one …lol smiles man

  • qning

    “Clearly, everyone of these companies is seeking to trigger a very specific emotion”

    I hardly believe that each brand picked its logo color based on the emotion spelled out in this graphic.