When I was making the image for my most recent blog post on social media in 2011 I noticed something interesting. The majority of the logos for social networks are blue. Not all of them are completely blue but an astounding number of them include blue somewhere. Why is this?
Luckily, this mystery can be explained. Firstly a question: what is your favorite color? If you answered blue then you, like me, are among the majority of people. Studies in color psychology (yes that is real) have shown that blue is the most universally liked color. While our preferences might shift from green-blue to sky blue to navy, blue stimulates calm, happy feelings in people and has even been linked to a higher level of critical thinking skills.
While not everyone might find color psychology as fascinating as I do its effects can be seen everywhere. Let’s take a look at the logos of some of the most popular social media sites.
A blue background and white text make up this seemingly omnipresent logo.
The reverse of Facebook this logo is made up of blue text on a white field.
Again, while this logo is not completely blue it incorporates a blue accent (note also that the blue used is almost a perfect mix between Facebook’s blue and Twitter’s.)
This logo mimics Facebook’s use of all lowercase characters but differentiates itself by having a green accent color.
Google has chosen to keep their brand colors consistent by incorporating the three primary colors of red, blue and yellow with green.
Again all lowercase but more importantly, all blue with a pink accent. Since this site is owned by Yahoo whose logo is purple these colors might be a nod to the parent company (as blue and pink make purple).
While this post mainly focuses on logos color psychology can be used in web design as well. Say you have a blog that is about intellectual topics like book reviews or philosophy. Chances are that you would want a design that incorporates a lot of blue. But, despite what you might think blue is not the best choice for every kind of website. If you are selling food a familiar color combination would serve you well. McDonald’s was smart when they chose to use golden arches on a red field. Yellow and red are the two colors that most stimulate hunger in people. While you may not want to emulate the fast food giant exactly red is still a very appetizing color and a good choice if you want your audience to think that your wares look delicious.