How Consumers Perceive Color - The Color Psychology of White

Published: 01-Sep-2021
Last Updated: 26-Aug-2021
How Consumers Perceive Color - The Color Psychology of White

Have you ever wondered why brands choose one color over another for their logo, marketing materials, or website design?

Color psychology is quite the complex subject. It dives deep into how colors not only make people feel, but also how those interpretations of color leave lasting impressions that form salient memories. When you apply it to marketing, it gets even more in-depth. 

Colors have an impact on how we feel, think, and act. To that end, business owners and marketers use color psychology and color theory to affect the way consumers perceive their brand. 

Today, we will take a closer look at the “color” white and the psychology behind its interpretations and its use in branding and marketing. For more information on the psychology of color, check out our other color psychology articles.

What is White?

White is technically the absence of color. Some may argue whether it’s actually a color at all. It’s not considered a favorite as much as your bright and more saturated colors, such as blues and reds. But white is considered just as important as the rest of the colors on the spectrum in how it psychologically impacts the human brain. 

White helps to establish contrast among other colors. Many colors wouldn’t exist without it, such as light colors and pastels. White is considered to be the best color to stand out against another color and vice versa. 

How The Color White is Perceived

In Western culture, white is connected to purity, completion, and innocence. It is the color of perfection. It is the color of good, while black often is portrayed to represent evil. It produces a sense of calm, peace, comfort, and hope. It also means efficiency and order. It is untarnished and clean. 

Too much white, however, can actually be seen as sterile and cold. Some might think of the walls of an asylum or the blank, endless corridors of the headquarters of a futuristic villainous corporation.

Using White in Web Design

When you use white in branding and design, you need to be specific and deliberate. In design, white is often associated with “white space” or “negative space” — the space between elements in a composition. White space is what projects begin with. It’s the blank page at the beginning. 

Using Color Psychology of White in Web Design

This is a double edged sword. This expanse of color can intimidate some because it feels like an endless expanse that you can never fill. On the other hand, some people get excited about a metaphorical blank canvas because of the possibilities. The white space in a paper that is being worked on or finished helps guide the eye to where it needs to go. It helps support the content. 

On the negative side, some clients feel white space is unnecessary because it is perceived as un- or under-utilized space. From a design perspective, however, white space is a good thing. It makes designs more legible and less overwhelming. It helps elements and text stand out on the page and draws the eye, rather than cluttering the page. Your design needs some breathing room so that it can be viewed and understood quickly. 

Passive White Space vs. Active White Space

Active white space enhances the page’s layout and guides the consumer through the page’s content. Passive white space is placed to strengthen the structure’s aesthetics without sending the consumer through an exact flow, reading, or content order. 

Psychology of White Space Considerations

White space may seem simple, but you should use it carefully. Here are a few things to consider when using white space in your designs. 

Legibility

The more white you have around the design features, the more legible they’re going to be. Changing the white space structure changes readability and the entire user experience on a page. 

Tone

White space sets the tone for the entire design. When a design has a good amount of white space, consumers can perceive a page as elegant, classic, and rich. Publication and education-based websites often have less white space because they need more informational text on their pages. 

Focus

White space affects your focus and should be considered when you’re designing your page. So, it’s a good thing to play around with the white space and center your focal points around it. 

Successful Websites and White Space

White space is widely used on successful websites because it works. White space aids the eye in finding what it is you intended it to see. Web designers use it successfully in a variety of ways in their design. 

Sometimes they use it to overlay a logo, on a photo, or around the elements of the site. Sometimes it’s used around animations, cartoons, pictures of people, and much more. More than anything, white space is used to give your layout breathing room and to frame the important stuff, so your target audience is not overwhelmed. 

So, the next time you visit a website, take a look at its use of white. Think about how it guides the eye, keeps you from being overwhelmed, and any other uses you can identify. Take notes on what you like and don’t like about the way others in your niche use white on their site, and use it to your advantage when designing or redesigning your website, logo, or other branding materials with your creative partners.

Design Your Brand’s Future With Carbon Digital

People’s color preferences are based on many different factors, including their personality, experiences, environment, and upbringing.  Thinking of how the color black makes you feel when you use it or see it can help you decide whether or not to use it in your marketing.

While it may seem like a lot to process, especially when incorporating several colors into your brand, there is no need to stress or worry about doing it yourself.  We can help!

The experts at Carbon Digital know how important it is to incorporate the psychology of color into your brand and your website design. So we’re happy to help you identify the colors that will make your marketing most effective.    

Are you ready to get started? Book a call today, and let’s get our journey started!  

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