The Bluer the Better (Playing Psychological Games)

Many words have been already said about web design color trends of this year. But they change so fast that it won’t do you any wrong to update your knowledge base on the topic one more time. Today we decided to plunge into cool waters of the color blue. Why? The answer is obvious – users like blue hues. Blue color in web design is always trendy. According to recent Instagram research, blue images receive 24 percent more likes than photos with high concentrations of reds and oranges. Today we will try to understand what psychological nuances trigger this mechanism of blues special appeal.

Let’s start with the definition

The word “blue” has derived from the Old French word “bleu”. Blue is a color of spectrum with wavelength of 440–490nm. It is considered one of the additive primary colors. On the optical spectrum, blue is located between violet and green. Surveys in the U.S. and Europe show that blue is the color most commonly associated with harmony, faithfulness, and confidence. In U.S. and European public opinion polls it is overwhelmingly the most popular color, chosen by almost half of both men and women as their favorite color. Impressive, isn’t it?

As a rule, we use the word “blue” to refer to any color from navy blue to cyan.

But let’s sort out shades and variations of blue more attentively

Blue is the color of light between violet and green on the visible spectrum. Hues of blue include indigo and ultramarine, closer to violet; pure blue, without any mixture of other colors; Cyan, which is midway on the spectrum between blue and green, and the other blue-greens turquoise, teal, and aquamarine.

Blues vary in shade or tint as well. Darker shades of blue contain black or grey, while lighter tints contain white. Darker shades of blue include ultramarine, cobalt blue, navy blue, and Prussian blue; while lighter tints include sky blue, azure, and Egyptian blue. (As you understand this list is not complete, for more info you can click here).

Do you know what blue pigments were originally made from? Usually they were made of minerals such as lapis lazuli, cobalt and azurite. Blue dyes were made from plants like woad in Europe, and Indigofera tinctoria, or True indigo, in Asia and Africa. We are sure that you won’t be surprised if we tell you that at present most blue pigments and dyes are made by chemical process.

However, we still don’t know the answer why do so many people like blue…

We offer you to reason. What are your personal associations with blue? Blue is the color of the sky and sea. Both are constant elements we’ve got used to since childhood. Plenty of positive emotions are connected with cloudless sky and warm, tranquil sea.

Maybe that’s why blue is so often associated with depth and stability. It symbolizes trust, loyalty, wisdom, confidence, intelligence, faith, truth, and heaven.

Did you know that blue is beneficial to the mind and body? It slows human metabolism and makes us calm as cucumbers. Blue is strongly associated with tranquility and calmness. If you are interested in heraldry, you should know that blue is used to symbolize piety and sincerity.

But what about blue color in web design? Where blues are simply indispensable?

Blue color in web design is frequently used to promote products and services related to cleanliness (water purification filters, cleaning liquids and transparent alcoholic beverages), air and sky (airlines, airports and air conditioners), water and sea (sea voyages, mineral water). Besides, bluish color scheme is suggested to apply when promoting high-tech products or serious business services because, on the contrary to emotionally warm colors like red, orange, and yellow; blue is connected to consciousness and intellect.

Notwithstanding the fact that blue is equally liked either by men or by women, it is assumed a masculine color. Needless to say that if you create a website for male auditory, blue will be your trump card as according to studies, it is highly accepted among males.

If you need to create the atmosphere of corporate style, depth, expertise, stability, knowledge, power, integrity and seriousness – use dark blue and you’ll hit the bull’s eye.

Light blue is perfect for medicine, health and healing websites due to its tranquility, sense of understanding and softness.

Blue is praised so much here that you might get the wrong impression that it is a universal solution for each and every website. Unfortunately, the suggestion is false and now you will get to know the weaker points of the hue.

Never use blue for these websites

Due to the soothing effect of the blue – the color is the worst choice for food, cooking, restaurant and café sites. It will suppress the appetite of your visitors when you strive to reach quite the opposite effect.

By the way, blue is rather friendly to other colors and makes perfect combinations with warm ones like yellow and red, for instance. Using this peculiarity, you can create really vibrant, trendy designs as bright, even neon colors, are in vogue now.

Just for fun – psychological characteristics of people, whose favorite color is blue

  • 1. You are conservative, reliable and trustworthy.
  • 2. You are not impulsive or spontaneous – you always think before doing or saying something.
  • 3. You are genuine and sincere, and you take your responsibilities seriously.
  • 4. You have an urgent need for peace and harmony in your life. A short daily meditation and quiet time for reflection, introspection and self-discovery will bring your mind into order.
  • 5. You appear to be confident and self-controlled, but may be hiding your vulnerable side.
  • 6. You are generally fairly even-tempered, unless your emotions take over. In such cases you can become either moody and over-emotional, or cool and indifferent.
  • 7. You are sensitive to the needs of others and caring with your close circle of friends. Yes, you are friendly and sociable but prefer the company of your own authorized group of friends.
  • 8. You are a rescuer and love to be needed. But it’s not always good for yourself; sometimes you should put your own interests first.
  • 9. You like to stick to a certain rigid, familiar order of things. It’s really difficult to sway you from your path even if another one is much better and easier.
  • 10. You are utterly accurate and neat in your living and work spaces – untidiness and unpredictability overwhelm you.
  • 11. You don’t like to draw attention to yourself, you feel better in the backstage.
  • 12. You try to avoid discord or conflict in your life, but you can often be the cause of conflict with others. You can be quite manipulative but in a very subtle way.
  • 13. You are a loyal and faithful marriage partner and an honest, trustworthy and sincere friend. You form strong affections, but take risk to become codependent.
  • 14. You can be quite emotional, aware of others feelings and sensitive to their moods.
  • 15. You are sentimental and love things from the past. You cry easily watching sad movies.
  • 16. You compare the present to the past, looking to authority figures, parents, bosses or other leaders, to support your beliefs about the world.
  • 17. You are easy to get along with, approachable and friendly, always making people feel at home in your life.
  • 18. You like to learn, always thirsty for knowledge in order to gain expertise in the area that interests you.
  • 19. You are spiritual or religious with a high degree of devotion to family, God, or other causes that are important to you.
  • 20. You can be too cautious and worry about trifles.
  • 21. If are rather offensive and if people react negatively on your thoughts, appearance, etc., you are prone to self-pity.

Making a long story short

Relying on everything mentioned above, we can finally answer main question of this entry. So why do so many people like the blue color?

  • 1. Blue is one of the most common colors chosen as favorite both by men (however, men have a much stronger preference for blue than women) and women of all ages.
  • 2. It makes calming effect on both sexes.
  • 3. It is associated with authority, intelligence, stability, unity and conservatism.
  • 4. Blue conveys a subtle connotation of importance and confidence, without being overly serious, somber or sinister.
  • 5. As it does not require much effort of the eye to focus, images and objects recede in blue backgrounds.
  • 6. Blue is the favorite color of more than half of the world’s population, and the least disliked color by most cultures.
  • 7. Blue is highly relevant for web sites promoting technology, medical products, cleanliness, air, sky, water, sea and vehicles.
  • 8. We are surrounded by the color blue since childhood, now we mean the sky, seas and oceans. The color is associated with something permanent in our life and symbolizes such qualities as depth, stability, trust, loyalty, wisdom, confidence, intelligence, faith, truth, heaven, tranquility, calmness, and sincerity.
  • 9. Blue is rather universal and can be used across a large variety of websites. It is one of the preferred colors for corporate designs of blue-chip company websites. Communications and web industries use medium shades of blue because it can appear to be sleek and high-tech, especially when combined with shades of grey. Lighter shades of blue are often used to promote health and wellness, travel, and relaxation, while darker shades are often used by political and patriotic organizations, legal firms, and sport teams.
  • 10. You will be surprised, but blues are not always serene and sedate. Electric or brilliant blues are dynamic and dramatic, so they can cause and express exhilaration.
  • 11. Blue is often applied at bedroom interior designs because it helps the body to produce calming chemicals.
  • 12. Fashion consultants recommend wearing blue to job interviews because it symbolizes loyalty.
  • 13. There is an opinion that people are more productive in blue environments.
  • 14. Studies show that weightlifters are able to handle heavier weights in blue gyms.

As you see, blue influences all spheres of our life. Maybe the secret of its popularity lies in human nature. All of us long for peace and stability in our lives. But, please beware that blue has another side, which is cold and depressing. Nevertheless, we are sure that you will easily avoid this small fly in the ointment.

Of course we couldn’t tell you so many words without illustrating them with marvelous examples. We hope that they will enrapture you not less than they fascinated us and you will go blue absolutely deliberately in your web design projects, Instagram photos or other things you can think of.

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This website is completely blue and it really benefits of that.

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Half blue, not bad either…

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Do you think it’s the blue background that makes us believe them?

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Here we can observe that blue color is also great for humorous designs, especially in combination with other colors.

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Life Fitness

Absolutely amazing website! It looks so cool and light…

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One more opportunity to observe blue color in combination with other trendy hues.

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Corona Capital

Blue and yellow color mix looks very cheerful.

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The Air Force Collaboratory

A cool example of serious website using navy blue elements.

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James DeAngelis

Blue is good for minimalistic websites either.

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Coral red text perfectly stands out against the dark blue background.

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Grey and violet? Why not… The visitors won’t be bored on such website.

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Turquoise color is so attractive, isn’t it?

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Transfer Window

Dark blue ideally renders the idea of accuracy here.

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Powder Life

Blue sky and white snow. What can be more natural?

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Those rays of sun under the water are simply incredible.

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Telegraph Creative

This cloud on evening sky background looks really impressive.

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The Smart Way to Travel

Soft, pastel blues immediately tune you to the relaxing mood.

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The Great Forest Park Balloon Race

Look how many tints of blue are applied here.

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Sometimes small elements make the whole design.

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Fifth Ocean Yachts

White yacht sailing through the blue waves… It’s classics, but how breathtaking it is, you almost feel the salt splashes on your face.

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Our Point of View

Snowy peaks and blue sky, this view takes your breath away.

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Tells Soehne

Blue mountains again. Nothing can compare with the beauty of wild nature.

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20 Aug 2012

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Written by

Allison Reed

Allison is a professional SEO specialist and an inspired author. Marketing manager by day and a writer by night, she is creating many articles on business, marketing, design, and web development. Follow her on LinkedIn and Facebook.

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