Taken from http://www.color-wheel-pro.com/color-meaning.html and http://monkeycmedia.com/blog/?p=61
Red is the color of fire and blood, so it is associated with energy,
war, danger, strength, power, determination as well as passion, desire,
Red is a very emotionally intense color. It enhances human metabolism,
increases respiration rate, and raises blood pressure. It has very high
visibility, which is why stop signs, stoplights, and fire equipment are
usually painted red. In heraldry, red is used to indicate courage. It
is a color found in many national flags.
Red brings text and images to the foreground. Use it as an accent color
to stimulate people to make quick decisions; it is a perfect color for
'Buy Now' or 'Click Here' buttons on Internet banners and websites. In
advertising, red is often used to evoke erotic feelings (red lips, red
nails, red-light districts, 'Lady in Red', etc). Red is widely used to
indicate danger (high voltage signs, traffic lights). This color is also
commonly associated with energy, so you can use it when promoting energy
drinks, games, cars, items related to sports and high physical activity.
Red is associated with anger, aggression, blood, sex, and power. Red
stimulates. It drives people to action. Red makes an excellent BUY NOW
button. Red is exciting and passionate; it is enthusiastic and
energetic. The color red can make you feel hot—use it to heat up your
message, but don’t burn your reader. Red is the most visually dominant
color and should be used wisely. An entire page of red could possibly
drive your readers away.
Light red represents joy, sexuality, passion,
sensitivity, and love.
Pink signifies romance, love, and friendship. It denotes feminine
qualities and passiveness.
Dark red is associated with vigor, willpower, rage, anger, leadership,
courage, longing, malice, and wrath.
Brown suggests stability and denotes masculine qualities.
Reddish-brown is associated with harvest and fall.
Orange combines the energy of red and the happiness of yellow. It is
associated with joy, sunshine, and the tropics. Orange represents enthusiasm,
fascination, happiness, creativity, determination, attraction, success,
encouragement, and stimulation.
To the human eye, orange is a very hot color, so it gives the sensation
of heat. Nevertheless, orange is not as aggressive as red. Orange increases
oxygen supply to the brain, produces an invigorating effect, and stimulates
mental activity. It is highly accepted among young people. As a citrus
color, orange is associated with healthy food and stimulates appetite.
Orange is the color of fall and harvest. In heraldry, orange is symbolic
of strength and endurance.
In nature, this is the color of the turning season; it is the color of
fall. It is associated with creativity, energy, vibrancy, stimulation,
health, activity, and sociability. It is less aggressive than red, but
also a very good call-to-action color. It draws attention without
seeming so emphatic about its cause. It works very well with blue and
is often used by financial institutions that are trying to reach a
younger market. It is less daring than red, but active enough to
stimulate the brain and bring about action.
Orange has very high visibility, so you can use it to catch attention
and highlight the most important elements of your design. Orange is very
effective for promoting food products and toys.
Dark orange can mean deceit and distrust.
Red-orange corresponds to desire, sexual passion, pleasure, domination,
aggression, and thirst for action.
Gold evokes the feeling of prestige. The meaning of gold is illumination,
wisdom, and wealth. Gold often symbolizes high quality.
Yellow is the color of sunshine. It's associated with joy, happiness,
intellect, and energy.
Yellow produces a warming effect, arouses cheerfulness, stimulates mental
activity, and generates muscle energy. Yellow is often associated with
food. Bright, pure yellow is an attention getter, which is the reason
taxicabs are painted this color. When overused, yellow may have a disturbing
effect; it is known that babies cry more in yellow rooms. Yellow is seen
before other colors when placed against black; this combination is often
used to issue a warning. In heraldry, yellow indicates honor and loyalty.
Later the meaning of yellow was connected with cowardice.
Use yellow to evoke pleasant, cheerful feelings. You can choose yellow
to promote children's products and items related to leisure. Yellow is
very effective for attracting attention, so use it to highlight the most
important elements of your design. Men usually perceive yellow as a very
lighthearted, 'childish' color, so it is not recommended to use yellow
when selling prestigious, expensive products to men – nobody will
buy a yellow business suit or a yellow Mercedes. Yellow is an unstable
and spontaneous color, so avoid using yellow if you want to suggest stability
and safety. Light yellow tends to disappear into white, so it usually
needs a dark color to highlight it. Shades of yellow are visually unappealing
because they loose cheerfulness and become dingy.
Yellow is the first color your eye will see. It commands attention,
but, like anything powerful, too much of it will dilute your message
and create the opposite effect. Yellow is associated with wisdom,
sunshine, joy, radiance, intellect, and idealism. It is also associated
with cowardice and caution. Yellow speeds the metabolism, but depresses
the appetite and can cause nausea in certain shades. Think of yellow
like you would your highlighter: Use it for your call-to-action and
draw people in.
Dull (dingy) yellow represents caution, decay,
sickness, and jealousy.
Light yellow is associated with intellect, freshness, and joy.
Green is the color of nature. It symbolizes growth, harmony, freshness,
and fertility. Green has strong emotional correspondence with safety.
Dark green is also commonly associated with money.
Green has great healing power. It is the most restful color for the human
eye; it can improve vision. Green suggests stability and endurance. Sometimes
green denotes lack of experience; for example, a 'greenhorn' is a novice.
In heraldry, green indicates growth and hope. Green, as opposed to red,
means safety; it is the color of free passage in road traffic.
Green is associated
with nature, the environment, money, growth, harmony, and honesty. It
is also associated with greed—green with envy. Physically, it is the
easiest on the eyes and is a great color for landing pages—to speak a
truth, or to highlight a testimonial.
Use green to indicate safety when advertising drugs and medical products.
Green is directly related to nature, so you can use it to promote 'green'
products. Dull, darker green is commonly associated with money, the financial
world, banking, and Wall Street.
Dark green is associated with ambition, greed,
Yellow-green can indicate sickness, cowardice, discord, and jealousy.
Aqua is associated with emotional healing and protection.
Olive green is the traditional color of peace.
Blue is the color of the sky and sea. It is often associated with depth
and stability. It symbolizes trust, loyalty, wisdom, confidence, intelligence,
faith, truth, and heaven.
Blue is considered beneficial to the mind and body. It slows human metabolism
and produces a calming effect. Blue is strongly associated with tranquility
and calmness. In heraldry, blue is used to symbolize piety and sincerity.
You can use blue to promote products and services related to cleanliness
(water purification filters, cleaning liquids, vodka), air and sky (airlines,
airports, air conditioners), water and sea (sea voyages, mineral water).
As opposed to emotionally warm colors like red, orange, and yellow; blue
is linked to consciousness and intellect. Use blue to suggest precision
when promoting high-tech products.
Blue is a masculine color; according to studies, it is highly accepted
among males. Dark blue is associated with depth, expertise, and stability;
it is a preferred color for corporate America.
Blue is an excellent color choice for spiritual topics, professional
corporations, and nonprofit organizations. Blue is associated with
water, sky, masculinity, coolness, peace, knowledge, contemplation,
loyalty, trust, and justice. It is a subdued color and can cause
inaction. If you choose a cool blue for your call-to-action, you may be
inadvertently talking your buyers out of buying your product—or at the
very least causing them to reconsider their decision to buy. Most
people buy on emotion; that’s why impulse browsers at Target are so
effective, and why sale signs are usually red or yellow, or both.
Avoid using blue when promoting food and cooking, because blue suppresses
appetite. When used together with warm colors like yellow or red, blue
can create high-impact, vibrant designs; for example, blue-yellow-red
is a perfect color scheme for a superhero.
Light blue is associated with health, healing,
tranquility, understanding, and softness.
Dark blue represents knowledge, power, integrity, and seriousness.
Purple combines the stability of blue and the energy of red. Purple is
associated with royalty. It symbolizes power, nobility, luxury, and ambition.
It conveys wealth and extravagance. Purple is associated with wisdom,
dignity, independence, creativity, mystery, and magic.
According to surveys, almost 75 percent of pre-adolescent children prefer
purple to all other colors. Purple is a very rare color in nature; some
people consider it to be artificial.
Purple is a luxurious and self-indulgent color; it is associated with
royalty, wisdom, imagination, sophistication, inspiration, wealth, and
mysticism. Varying shades of purple convey various meanings and look
especially nice with green. By the same token, purple is rarely seen in
nature and therefore takes on an artificial air. I’m willing to bet
that most financial institutions would not choose purple as their
primary Web color. It’s more of a romantic and whimsical color and
sparks the imagination. Be careful with this color; people typically
feel strongly of purple—they love it or hate it.
Light purple is a good choice for a feminine design. You can use bright
purple when promoting children's products.
Light purple evokes romantic and nostalgic feelings.
Dark purple evokes gloom and sad feelings. It can cause frustration.
White is associated with light, goodness, innocence, purity, and virginity.
It is considered to be the color of perfection.
White means safety, purity, and cleanliness. As opposed to black, white
usually has a positive connotation. White can represent a successful beginning.
In heraldry, white depicts faith and purity.
In advertising, white is associated with coolness and cleanliness because
it's the color of snow. You can use white to suggest simplicity in high-tech
products. White is an appropriate color for charitable organizations;
angels are usually imagined wearing white clothes. White is associated
with hospitals, doctors, and sterility, so you can use white to suggest
safety when promoting medical products. White is often associated with
low weight, low-fat food, and dairy products.
Black is associated with night, death, power, weight, sophistication,
elegance, formality, seriousness, dignity, solitude, and mystery.
Black is a mysterious color associated with fear and the unknown (black
holes). It usually has a negative connotation (blacklist, black humor,
'black death'). Black denotes strength and authority; it is considered
to be a very formal, elegant, and prestigious color (black tie, black
Mercedes). In heraldry, black is the symbol of grief.
Black gives the feeling of perspective and depth, but a black background
diminishes readability. A black suit or dress can make you look thinner.
When designing for a gallery of art or photography, you can use a black
or gray background to make the other colors stand out. Black contrasts
well with bright colors. Combined with red or orange – other very
powerful colors – black gives a very aggressive color scheme.
text on a black background is a bold move on the part of a Web
designer, as it makes the text difficult to read. However, many
artistic sites use this to create a feeling of dissidence. Black has
been known to represent secrecy and intrigue, which makes it a great
choice for mystery writers, especially when it is combined with the
color red. When used properly, black can be very sophisticated.
This is a great color for photography and art sites because it rarely
evokes emotion and allows for the colors of the art to take the
spotlight. Gray is a balance of white and black; it is its own
complement. Gray is associated with neutrality, balance, security,
reliability, modesty, classicism, maturity, and intelligence. Blue and
gray are classic colors for financial institutions and universities.
As you choose your colors, think about the harmony of nature and the
audience you wish to attract. Be consistent with your color choice.
Remember that this becomes part of your branding, and you would be well
served to make sure that it looks good with your logo. Context is your
first concern—this comes from knowing your audience. Strive to attain
contrast; this is the basis behind complementary colors and why they
are pleasing to the eye.
In addition, complementary colors are less fatiguing to the eye.
According to Frank Vodvarka, associate professor of Fine Arts at Loyola
University Chicago, “The use of green in surgical operating rooms is,
in fact, an effort to neutralize the constant exposure of the surgeon
to red-violet of human organ tissue so as to prevent spatial depth
illusions.” Color is used in many ways; use it to your advantage.
Also, take into account that not everyone sees color the same. In fact,
6 to 9 percent of males and 0.8 percent of females are color-blind.
Never fear, however, if you use contrast and color complements; you
will achieve the same effect.
Most problematic for anyone looking to choose just the right color is
the cultural component. What might work very well with an affluent
demographic may not work at all in a lower socioeconomic group. Again,
do your research—know your audience and you will be more apt to choose
just the right color.