Colour psychology in UX

3 min readJun 23, 2021

Colour in UX

Colour is one of the most basic aspects of design. It’s so fundamental, a user is constantly seeing and interacting with colours. It transmits a psychological message to the users, so choosing the right colours for your brand, logo or product can be vital. Colour can make your brand notable, more trustworthy and so on.

Colour in UX is an important tool in creating UI elements like buttons, navigation, and call to actions, among many others. These elements crucially shape a user’s interaction with a UI and establish brand communication (between the company and all its users).

Understanding colour is a key aspect of creating a colour palette that works well in digital design. While colour is sometimes thought of as a purely aesthetic choice by some designers, it is, in fact, far more important than that, providing psychological influence above all.

Colour Psychology

The relationship between colour and human psychology is called colour psychology. If a designer creates websites for businesses, it is important for the designer to learn how certain colours affect the mood and thinking processes of people. Through the use of colours, a designer can maximise the efficacy of a website — i.e. encouraging users to purchase the product/service on display.

As mentioned, colour is a widely used element in marketing and UX. The explanation behind this is simple: colour stimulates our vision, which is directly connected to the brain, leading to an almost instant provocation of emotion which can lead to an almost instant reaction or response.

There are academic studies indicating how certain colours can produce emotional responses. Companies would be foolish not to service the dimensions that are eyes, memories, and imagination.

Colour and Culture

One of the issue designers tend to overlook is the cultural differences, that exist around colour. For example, in many cultures, white is associated with things like purity, innocence, and hope. But in parts of Asia, white is associated with death, mourning, and bad luck.

Some colours have generally positive connotations regardless of culture (such as orange), while others, like white or black, vary greatly between different countries and groups. This can certainly complicate a designer’s life when trying to create a design that will appeal to the largest possible audience.

If a product is going to target a worldwide audience, there has to be a balance between the colours and imageries that are being used to prevent negative cultural connotations. If a product will be primarily only targeting a particular culture or demographic, designers can pay less attention to the effectiveness the chosen palette may have in other cultures.

Colour and Age

Yellow is preferred in childhood but this preference tends to decline with age. As people mature they favour colours of shorter wavelength (blue, green, violet) rather than colours of longer wavelength (red, orange, yellow).

Older people often think that lurid colours are repulsive. Designers should proceed with caution when creating marketing material or a product for an older age group — lurid colours will destroy user retention.

Most audiences like energetic and saturated colours older people often think that garish bright colours are repulsive. So when designing a product or marketing material for older users, you should be cautious with bright colours.


Colour is more than just an aesthetic element, it is an essential tool in any designer’s tool stack. It’s clear to see that colour can have an impact, not only bringing a brand, product or design to life but also in a way to evoke certain feelings and potentially to even be used as a behavioural tool.

Appropriate usage of colours in building different applications and businesses can bring a deep impact on the overall user experiences. Cultural, economic, social, and other differences make it difficult for companies to identify single brand image strategies that have global appeal.

It is important to test colours before making any assumptions as the user demographic could have a different perception.

Finally, a well-designed colour palette can have significant psychological effects on the audience, which UX designers should capitalise on in order to create better connection, communication and experiences.