As an account manager for a mobile event app, part of my job is training new clients on our content management system to set up and run their event apps. When we get to the part where we choose event app colors, people get excited. Sentences are started and then trail off into nothingness as people begin to experiment. There are moments of silence, punctuated by exclamations of “Oh, what do you think of this?!”
The section on colors is where people can express creativity. They start thinking about the overall message they are conveying through their event and the type of people they hope to reach. Conversations turn from the specific details of an event to the bigger picture. People are inspired by the chance to be creative.
Color not only gives you a chance to flex your creative muscles, it can influence feelings and moods. It should be considered part of your mobile strategy for your event app. Color can influence positive or negative attitudes toward a product.
People decide on a product or service within 90 seconds of their first interaction, according to Satyendra Singh, in a peer-reviewed journal article. 62-90% of the assessment is directly based on color.
So getting to choose the colors for your event app is a good thing! It’s fun, exciting and perhaps a bit intimidating. You want to convey your message without being overbearing, and set your event apart from the crowd without being obnoxious. To help towards those ends, here are five tips for choosing your colors.
Allow your creativity to flourish within a few boundaries. Your colors shouldn’t come off as random; there should be consistency and pattern to them. This doesn’t mean it has to be boring; it just means you need to adhere to a few rules to give structure to your look.
If your event already has a color theme, stick with that. Perhaps your company uses a particular shade of blue, or accents of yellow. Incorporate those into your theme. Odds are your organization has already spent some time and money promoting a particular theme to your audience. Stay with the theme and you can piggyback off of that investment.
Stay consistent to your color pattern. If you have chosen a shade of red for action buttons, don’t suddenly have a blue “submit” button. People learn these visual rules incredibly fast and you can prevent a lot of confusion by following them.
In most circumstances, you’ll want to use three colors—background, base and accent. The background color should contrast well with your base and accent colors. Don’t have a white background and yellow text; it will just frustrate your users. The base color (which you will use for most text) should be a calmer color, while your accent color (which you will use for action buttons, or to draw attention to something) should be brighter and more energetic.
There are so many beautiful, wonderful, fun colors to use that it can be extremely difficult to limit yourself. But when you don’t, the end result can look more like a messy easel than a masterful painting. As a general rule of thumb, using three colors is the best choice. That means you have a background color, a base color and an accent color.
Of course, rules are made to be broken. If having three colors feels too limiting for what you have in mind, don’t be afraid to add a fourth color. But make sure that it adds to your theme rather than distracting from it.
Contrasting colors are particularly compelling for action items. In an article about the psychology of color, Gregory Ciotti gives an example of a website that used a green palette and had a green “Get Started Now!” button. When the button color was changed to red, there was a 21% change in the conversion rate. “However, we can’t make hasty assumptions about ‘the power of red’ in isolation, it’s obvious that the rest of the page is geared toward a green palette, which means a green call to action simply blends in with the surroundings,” Ciotti writes. “Red, meanwhile, provides a stark visual contrast, and is a complementary color to green.”
The lesson to take away is that contrast is important in showing your audience what is important. No particular color is the magic key to getting people’s attention; you’ll need to spend time considering your particular theme, and make sure that the event app’s colors contrast in a way that conforms to the message you are communicating.
It can be easy to be drawn in by flashy-looking charts and the straightforward messages they give. If blue means trust, then all we have to do is plaster our promotional material in blue and people will magically trust us, right? Sadly, real life is not nearly so clear-cut. Be wary of any chart that tries to assign very specific emotions to colors. Between personal preferences, cultural differences, past associations and promotion from other companies, no color will be able to convey a hyper-specific emotion or feeling.
Though we can’t always count on a color eliciting a specific emotion, it’s worth knowing general color associations. Just remember that these are rough guidelines, not hard-and-fast rules.
White: Clean, simple, elegant
Black: Classy, conservative, elegant
Yellow: Cheery, optimistic, warm
Orange: Confident, friendly
Red: Passionate, action, excitement
Purple: Creative, royal, wise
Blue: Trustworthy, calm, strong
Green: Peaceful, earth-friendly, growth
Of course there are reams of information that take a deep dive into color theory, but these quick tips should help as you’re thinking about your mobile event app strategies.
Colors are exciting and fun, so have a blast choosing the colors for your event app!