Most applications use blue as their central color, particularly business applications (e.g. Windows uses blue in most of it's chrome). I am being pushed to use purple throughout our current application (because that is the color of the business logo) but I think it looks more professional in shades of blue, so I need to argue my case (more eloquently than saying 'purple sucks'). Is the preference for blue perhaps a cultural thing or physiological thing (i.e. less taxing on the rods/cones in the eye)? Why is blue preferred over purple?

  • Related: ux.stackexchange.com/questions/14688/… – AndroidHustle Jul 23 '12 at 11:21
  • See my answer here: ux.stackexchange.com/a/20584/7627 People like blue. It's a safe, readable color. It's compatible with most common forms of colorblindness (whereas red/yellow/green can be trickier to combine colors with). I don't think there's much more to it. – Ben Brocka Jul 23 '12 at 11:31
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    Why is your opinion of blue looking better than purple relevant to the stakeholder? Are you the visual designer? You need to align your priorities with theirs rather than pursuing your personal preferences and looking for a way to argue yourself out of this. :-) – Rahul Jul 23 '12 at 14:45
  • I would love guide to not using blue and getting away with it...I hate blue but it just works so darn well for business applications... – Will Jul 23 '12 at 17:42
  • @Rahul - the purple decision is not based upon the needs of the customers. It is based upon the opinion of my immediate manager (who is not the project owner/manager). Our product is a business application and I only know of 1 application that uses purple as it's main color (Microsoft One Note). 90+% of Windows Applications use blue - that is why it is my preference – SturmUndDrang Jul 24 '12 at 11:01

See http://www.websitemagazine.com/content/blogs/posts/pages/trust-and-the-theory-behind-color.aspx:

"Blue, often associated with stability, symbolizes trust, wisdom and confidence. Blue has been shown to produce a calming effect and is often used to promote products and services related to cleanliness. More accepted by males than females, it is a preferred color for corporate America."

From http://www.pallasweb.com/color.html: "•Purple: creativity, mystery, (reddish purple) royalty, mysticism, rarity. Purple is associated with death in Catholic cultures, as mentioned above. •Blue: loyalty, security, conservatism, tranquility, coldness, sadness. Light blues create a feeling of openness, clean air and freshness, while dark blues can convey tradition, trust and solidity."

It all depends what you want to convey with your site!

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    Be careful about this new-age nonsense. It assumes that if IBM had used red instead of blue, it wouldn't be the success it is today. I never heard anyone say they trusted IBM because of the blue logo. – Jeroen Jul 23 '12 at 12:55
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    But because IBM were successful and safe, there is - maybe - a tendency to associate blueness with safety. It is working the other way round. And they chose blue because they think it feels corporate and safe. Possibly. – Schroedingers Cat Jul 23 '12 at 13:25
  • Jeroen - I'm not saying trust is built purely on colour, just that it is one of the factors to consider. There are cultural associations between colours (red = danger in most western societies, but different things in eastern societies), and as Schroedingers Cat notes, success of one business using a particular colour can have a halo effect. I'm sure the same would apply to font, logo, and other brand elements - which is why companies go to great lengths to protect their brand – Peter Jul 23 '12 at 13:31
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    Those associations are one-way only. If you ask (western) people what color they associate with danger, they will answer 'red'. But if they see red in a different context (e.g. the logo of Nintendo or Canon), that red won't be associated with danger, because those brands doesn't appeal to the sense of danger. I think corporations have other reasons to protect its brand elements than possible negative color associations. – Jeroen Jul 23 '12 at 13:45

Blue is the color of communication.

Blue is also a color that isn't effected by color blindness, or at least not as often as red-green.

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    I'm aware that blue is supposed to be calming, associated with communication etc. I still haven't been able to find ouy why though. Apparently, the cone receptors in the eye detect either red, green or blue. Only about 2% are dedicated to blue - perhaps blue stimulates the eye less therefore is less taxing on the brain, which is why it is the predominate colour for things that people look at for a long time (e.g. a business application). – SturmUndDrang Jul 26 '12 at 9:27

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