If you use the internet every day, you may notice the excessive use of the color blue.
In everyday life we are surrounded by the soothing shade, from the sky to the sea, it’s everywhere we look. Blue is the most favoured color of more than half of the world’s population, the least disliked by most cultures, and it’s the least gender specific, but these aren’t the only reasons why we lean towards blue in the color wheel in our web designs and branding.
“Blue is the only color which maintains its own character in all its tones… it will always stay blue; whereas yellow is blackened in its shades, and fades away when lightened; red when darkened becomes brown, and diluted with white is no longer red, but another color – pink.
— Raoul Dufy, French Fauvist Painter, 1877-1953
You will find many businesses and corporate websites use blue tones, as they make us feel secure, safe, dependant and evoke a sense of experience. The blues used on social media websites such as Facebook, twitter and LinkedIn make us feel safe to share and communicate information about or personal lives.
Lighter shades of blue invoke rest and can cause the body to produce chemicals that soothe and calm the senses. These lighter blue tones are used to promote health, wellness, travel and relaxation, medical products and services, cleanliness, air, sky, water and the sea. But be cautious, if lighter blues are overused it may cause a sense of detachment and coldness.
Medium shades of blue are frequently used in websites promoting technology and automotive products because it appears sleek and high-tech, evoke feelings of progress and innovation, especially when combined with shades of grey.
Electric or brilliant blues are more dramatic and lively creating more engagement and express exhilaration. Pairing blues with commentary colors such as yellow, pink and orange will attract the user’s eyes and evoke cheerful and playful emotions. A perfect combination for websites that promote events.
Darker shades are associated with intelligence, confidence, stability and authority figures. This is why police uniforms and power suits are typically these darker blues. These shades and are often used by political and patriotic organisations, legal firms, and sports teams.
Blue can be used in design to manipulate the user’s emotions according to the product or service the website is promoting, making it the most popular color in web design.
The reason why hyperlinks are blue is because the first websites were designed with a grey background with black text. Sir Tim Berners-Lee chose blue because of its legibility against the grey and black. This is a wise choice as red and green (the only available colors at the time) are not seen by those who are colorblind.