Think about this for a moment: an arrow ➔ has no inherent meaning but everyone understands which way they point. Arrows aren’t part of any language, but humans needed a way to point to something and so we used arrows because everyone knew what they meant.
[If you’re interested – here’s a thoughtful discussion of why humans chose arrows]
Sometimes you just need to express something without the use of words. However, for this to work, the thing you are expressing needs to be both universally understood *and* intuitively true. There is no better example of how effective this type of implicit communication can be than the use of colours throughout both civilisation and the natural world.
Animals tell you they are poisonous (or venomous) with their colouring. They tell each other they are ready to get busy, and “advertise services” to each other with their colours. They interact with their environment in infinite ways, in a large part via pigmentation.
Humans are no different. We use colours to tell each other when to stop our cars, or that we are in mourning, or are a part of a specific group/tribe/sub-culture. We express ourselves, and things about ourselves using colours. We communicate ideas, demonstrate rules, and draw attention to WHATEVER with colours… and we do instinctually all the time.
So it’s no surprise whatsoever that colours can be useful in order to strengthen an idea that is trying to be conveyed. In digital marketing that could be to give your brand a certain feeling, to encourage people to click a link, or to warn people before they enter certain content.
Using colour is not something that can be avoided online. Even just choosing black and white *is* making a choice of colouring.
So while it’s easy to use colours instinctually, sometimes it can be a little harder to tap into that instinct and choose to do it explicitly. This is why we made a version of this useful infographic with a broad list of colours and what meanings they commonly convey.
When choosing which colours you should use for your digital content, use it to make an appropriate choice!