The human eye can distinguish around 7 million different colors. We see colors all around us all day long, and they can affect everything from our mood to our decisions to our blood pressure. We’re so used to seeing colors, though, that we probably don’t even notice how they influence us.

If you’re designing a website, it’s vital to think about color and how the hues you choose will make people feel. One of the most stimulating colors for humans is red. It’s no coincidence that we see it all the time in advertisements and on the internet. Here are few things red can do when you use it on your website.

Energize Visitors

Red is the brightest and warmest color you can use and is associated with feelings of excitement, boldness and passion. Using red well on your website can energize visitors and create a sense of awareness and urgency. That’s why sale signs in store windows are often bright red.

The photo in the background of the website for Primal Training Club, a personal training facility in Liverpool, England, is a splashed with a bright red that inspires energy and confidence. This fits well with the brand’s personality, since it markets itself as a place for people who are serious about fitness.

Sometimes having too much red can create feelings of danger as opposed to excitement, but with the right brand, it works.

Highlight Importance

Red can also effectively be used to highlight important things, either to draw attention to certain aspects of a webpage or to give it a general sense of significance.

CNN uses red to do both on its site. The website provides visitors with serious news updates, so the color works well with the company’s brand and content. It makes the site feel more authoritative and important to visitors. CNN also highlights its logo and news stories in red, which makes it stand against the black and white of the color scheme.

Inspire Action

Because red stands out and creates a sense of urgency, it can be used to draw attention to calls to action and inspire people to take the action you want them to as well.

Highlighting a phone number in red, for example, as Performance Services Inc. does on its website, can increase the number of phone calls that come in, especially when it contrasts with a dull or plain-colored background.

Because red arouses feelings of energy, excitement and boldness, it makes people more likely to act. That’s why companies targeting impulse shoppers often utilize it, although it can be effective for other types of customers as well.

Provoke Emotion

Exactly what red represents varies from culture to culture, but in most, it is a color that evokes strong emotions. In Western cultures, it signifies passion related to love, excitement, anger and danger. It’s even been known to increase blood pressure and respiration. In Eastern cultures, it is the color of joy and celebration and is worn at weddings and during the Chinese New Year, because it is thought to bring good fortune.

If you want to inspire a strong emotion with your website, red may be the right choice. Charities often use a bright red in their color schemes because it creates an air of urgency and significance. Save the Children did this with its website. Darker reds can create a more positive feeling and convey passion and excitement.

Grab Attention

Because red is so bright, it’s perfect for grabbing people’s attention. Web designers can use it to draw attention to a specific part of a website or to make a whole webpage pop by using it as a background color. Just be careful you don’t make it too bright, as that can be hard on the eyes.

The website for Green Onion, a Chinese restaurant, avoids that trap by using a red gradient as the background. It’s lighter at the top and center of the page right around the logo, and gets darker as you get closer to the edges of the webpage. This captures visitors’ attention without creating a sense of danger or hurting their eyes. It probably inspires them to order Chinese food too!

The colors you choose to use on your website can have a greater effect than a lot of people might realize on your site’s visitors and on successfully reaching your goals in creating the site. You should carefully consider what colors you use, taking into account the mood you want to create and the actions you want to inspire.


Red is the go-to color for inspiring strong emotions, energizing and exciting people, creating a sense of urgency, seriousness or celebration and inspiring action. If these moods align with your brand’s personality and your website’s goals, use a little red and see what it does for you.

Cover Image by By Alejandro Vizio | Check out his great portfolio here.