The Top Colors for eLearning and Why They Work so Well

Androniki Koumadoraki
6 min

Colors are powerful. They’re art. They’re emotions. And they can also make a difference in your business!

The power of color can be seen in how it affects our emotions, perceptions, and reactions. We may not even know we’re responding to colors instinctively!

We see this demonstrated daily when people are drastically changed by the color they wear or encounter- sometimes for better (a happy mood), other times worse than expected (an angry one).

In a business context, colors can affect how people perceive you and whether or not to trust your brand. As a course creator, you should hand-pick the colors you use in your online academy’s website and course environment, just like you hand-pick your content.

In this article, we’ll explore the magical world of color in eLearning, we will explain how color impacts learners on an emotional level and how you can leverage this powerful tool in your online academy and courses.

You already suspect that colors are not all about looks. Using color in your website and course design can impact anything from buying decisions to knowledge retention.

1. Evoke the right emotions

By using color strategically in your website and course design, you can direct learners’ feelings and reactions: you can bring essential information to their attention, “wake them up,” or calm them down (during an assessment, for example). Even better? You can even make them hit the “Buy Now” button!

2. Improve learning and retention

Adding colors to highlight specific information in your graph and infographics enables learners to create associations and internalize the information faster and for longer. Color also drives their attention to important parts they might have otherwise skipped or overlooked.

3. End boredom

There’s nothing wrong with black and white, but they’re not the most exciting colors when used repeatedly. Even a small boost, like using the same color in different shades, will create an appealing online learning environment for your learners.

4. Improve readability

Color has a practical purpose, too, making the content easier to read. This helps improve the accessibility of your course and helps learners with visual impairments navigate the course more easily.

5. Build your brand

Using consistently the same colors across your course and website is elegant and professional. In addition, branding sends site visitors and learners the message that there’s consistency in everything that you do, helping them trust you more.

Color psychology is a subfield of behavioral psychology that studies how colors influence human behavior and evoke different emotions. The impact of color differs across different ages, genders, and cultures.

🔵 Blue

Blue is the color associated with the sea and the sky. It lowers the heart rate. Blue creates a sense of calmness and serenity while instilling stability, trust, safety, and reliability. Bright blue is refreshing and energizing.
On the downside, blue can feel cold and distant when used excessively. It also curbs the appetite, so if your course is about food or cooking, it’s best to avoid it.

💡 Use blue in your checkout pages and CTAs. Blue also works well for healthcare, high-tech, science, and corporate websites.

🔴 Red

A stimulating, intense color, red has the opposite effect of blue. Red creates urgency and increases the heart rate and appetite. Bright red hues are bold and energetic and attract attention, while warmer hues, like maroon and brick, are comforting.

Red is also an aggressive color, with negative connotations of danger, anger, and violence. So, like red itself would say, proceed with caution and use in moderation.

💡 Use red in CTAs and navigation buttons to highlight important information, like safety warnings in compliance training. It’s also a good option for courses and websites related to food, fashion, sports, and health care.

🟡 Yellow

The color of the sun, yellow, is the most energizing color, evoking feelings of happiness and optimism. Bright yellow grabs the attention (some warning signs are in yellow, for this reason), while darker shades are associated with authority and expertise.

Some negative associations around yellow are deceit and cheapness. Besides that, yellow should be used in moderation due to its energetic nature. It can quickly become “too much” and cause eye fatigue or even induce stress.

💡 Use yellow in CTAs, and in your course sparingly to boost mood and energy. A good color for courses addressed to children.

🟠 Orange

Orange is another attention-grabbing, vibrant color that ignites excitement and enthusiasm and is associated with energy and movement. It’s a warmer, milder alternative to the aggressive red. But, just like with red, it can be overstimulating, so don’t overuse it. Another downside is that it’s one of the least popular colors among adults.

💡 Use orange for your CTAs and navigational buttons. A good option for technology, entertainment, food, and fitness websites.

🟢 Green

Green is the most relaxing color for the eyes. Being the color of nature, green represents tranquility, freshness, and harmony. It instills a sense of growth and optimism while it’s associated with money, luck, and hope. It can help customers make a decision and improve learners’ focus.

💡 Use green in your learning material and overall course environment and CTAs. Green is great for online schools related to science, tourism, medicine, and environment & sustainability.

🟣 Purple

The color of loyalty, purple, is associated with elegance, luxury, wisdom, and tastefulness. On the flip side, purple doesn’t catch the eye and is generally not favored by men.

💡 Use purple if your courses are linked to spirituality topics, yoga, and healing.

💗 Pink

Pink is a color associated with femininity, fun, youthfulness, and romance. In its softer shades, pink can be very soothing and calming, but bolder shades are stimulating and have a similar impact to red.

💡 Use pink if you address younger audiences, especially women. Prefer lighter hues for the background.

⚪ White

White is linked to simplicity and minimalism. In Western cultures, associated with purity and innocence. Most of the time, it’s used as a “supporting” color in the background. Make sure to add white space in your web design to create a sense of calmness and avoid visual clutter.

💡 Use white on your healthcare industry website or if you’re selling high-tech products.

⚫ Black

Black brings out other colors. It’s timeless and eludes authority, formality, power, sophistication, luxury, and elegance.

But don’t forget that black in many cultures is also associated with death, the occult, and evil. It can become overpowering and feel threatening.

💡 Use black in moderation for high-ticket products and to convey an overall sense of luxury and professionalism.

🟤 Brown

Brown is another color associated with nature that instills warmth, reassurance, and reliability. At the same time, it can be pretty boring and conservative, which is why it’s one of the least popular colors. However, it works very well for businesses related to food!

💡 Use brown and lighter alternatives (beige and tans) in the background and for courses related to wellness, pets, or food & cooking.

🏐 Grey

Grey shares some characteristics with black, as it eludes timelessness, sophistication, and professionalism. However, it lacks the strong character of black, and it’s a rather dull color that doesn’t catch the eye or evoke any particular emotions.

💡 Use grey in the background, especially if you want to stress your professionalism, sell expensive courses, and tone down emotions.

Let’s see 5 essential guidelines that will help you use the right colors at the right place.

Soft or bold

Use colors in images, popups, and buttons like CTAs. Color should also be present in the background, in headlines to attract attention and facilitate reading, and in banners and borders.
Background colors should be soft to bring out the main colors and also to avoid straining the eyes. CTA buttons and popups can be bolder.

The 60-30-10 rule

Combining too many colors will look make your website look tacky and cheap. Limit your color scheme to three colors maximum and use them in these proportions: 60, 30, and 10.

Warm or cool

Generally, warmer hues (red, orange, and yellow) evoke happiness and energy, while cooler hues (blues and purples) evoke calmness and professionalism.
Green is a jack of all trades as it combines the calming effect of blue with the energizing effect of yellow.

Accessibility considerations

Colors impact the accessibility of your website. Navigation buttons and dropdown menus should have bold colors, like orange, yellow, red, and blue, to grab attention.
Avoid bright colors, as they’re hard to read and also cause eye fatigue.

Most and least-liked colors

The world’s favorite color is blue! The least popular colors are brown and orange, with purple also being disliked by men.

We’ve shared quite a few secrets about color psychology today. It’s exciting to know how colors affect us before we even have a second to think about it.

Our web designers team has done the mix-and-matching for you! We’ve created a collection of beautiful, industry-specific website templates according to the latest trends, so all you have to do is choose the one that appeals to you the most. They’re fully customizable, too if you want to play around a bit.

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Androniki Koumadoraki
Androniki Koumadoraki

Androniki is a Content Writer at LearnWorlds sharing Instructional Design and marketing tips. With solid experience in B2B writing and technical translation, she is passionate about learning and spreading knowledge. She is also an aspiring yogi, a book nerd, and a talented transponster.