Know your customer.
In different terms, when it comes to product design or marketing, one key element to your success is knowing your customer.
Some call it in the broader level of a customer segment, where basically you know specific statistics about your customer, such as age, demographics, etc.
Those who take a deeper look to empathize with their customers create personas or avatars. A customer avatar is an imaginary representation of your target customer in a specific segment. The avatar or the persona is Amy who in her mid-20s and loves to go swimming every day after work. She is self-aware and motivated to remain healthy because her Grandma died from such and such disease.
Knowing your customers can help you in so many decisions, from what to say and what not to say, what language to use, where to find them and how to trigger them.
One of those decisions is color.
Wait. What? Color?
Know your customer. Know your customer because color psychology can highly impact their decisions.
Color psychology is such an in-depth topic. In fact, whenever I need to choose a specific color, I say, let me find out what does this color means first. How will it affect my energy, my mood, my motivation? That’s my personal take.
Color is not only about the mood. Color impacts other facts such as how easy it is for me to view it, how easy it is to read it, and sometimes quite simply the preference plays a key role in whether someone would stay longer on your website or physical store.
In his book, Ca$hvertising, Drew Eric Whitman, shared the top 6 preferred colors in ranking backed up by research.
The top 4 colors ranking remained the same for both women and men, with orange and yellow swapping ranks, where women preferred yellow over orange and men preferred orange over yellow.
Both women and men prefer the same top 4 colors.
Just like gender has an effect on color preference, so is the age.
Infants prefer red. Then, yellow, green and blue.
12–16 months old and the rankings change. While Red remains first, yellow remains second, blue comes third and green comes last.
As we age, our preference for blue comes up and yellow comes down. Red remains second best.
Older loves blue.
Perhaps color preference is just more than “feeling like it.”
There is a science behind it.
“Why is blue preferred as we grow older? The universal preference for it may have some connection with what takes place inside the aging human eye. Look inside an old man’s (or woman’s) eye, and you’ll see that the optical lens has hazed, or yellowed. In fact, the lens of the child’s eye may absorb only 10 percent of the blue light, whereas an elderly eye may absorb 85 percent of blue light. One theory is that this is nature’s way of protecting the eye against painfully bright light as we age.” — Drew Eric Whitman. Ca$hvertising
Color combination is no difference. We still do have a preference for specific combinations.
Again another experiment was chared by Whitman in his book Ca$hvertising, on our preference to color combinations.
“In one experiment by our ol’ researcher buddy Daniel Starch, 32 men and 25 women (with 25 artists as observers/judges) were shown paired colors to determine which combinations they preferred. The results were conclusive. Consumers preferred colors of low Value (lightness or darkness) and high Chroma or Saturation (purity of color). Those combinations consisting of large areas of blue were ranked high. Those consisting large areas of orange and yellow were ranked low.” — Drew Eric Whitman. Ca$hvertising
Color preference combinations, where 1 is the most-liked and 5 is the least liked.
- (Most liked) Blue and Yellow
- Blue and Red
- Red and Green
- Purple and Orange
- (Least liked) Red and Orange
Designers may go nuts, but sometimes beautiful does not mean readable.
Here are a few tips.
The best colors for paper is white and yellow.
The best colors for ink is black, dark blue and red inks.
Black ink on yellow paper.
Red ink on green paper.
One last note.
While dark backgrounds for websites may seem attractive, the readability of those dark backgrounds actually hurt the eyes.