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Why Are Social Media Sites Blue?

by:  Jan 25, 2013 3:58:00 PM

social media logosThe color blue is defined as “the primary color between green and violet in the visible spectrum,” but why do social media sites resemble a Blue Man Group concert? Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and a plethora of other websites utilize various shades of the color blue for marketing purposes. But what makes the color blue such a popular marketing tool?

What Does Blue Mean?

Blue is a calming, relaxing color that accompanies red and yellow as primaries. Sometimes called “the Nirvana color,” blue symbolizes the comfort, sky, water, sleep, the mind, trustworthiness, and safety (think Police Officer uniforms). Most importantly, blue represents communication – which makes sense in regards to websites designed for communication. Blue promotes interaction. Most other colors tend to distract the consumer, whereas the color blue disappears as a transparent background. Microsoft Word has a blue color scheme, as do most online advertisements. Mac OSX has two themes: graphite and aqua (which is the default theme).  Even on your Mac or PC, highlighting objects with your cursor is done so in a blue color, with shades varying depending on content or selection. Each website that is designed with a blue color scheme does so in different spectrums, using different shades to suit their needs.

Technicalities

In HTML, different colors are given a set of six specific numbers or letters based on their balance of the colors red, green, and blue. The six specific numbers are the Hex numbers, or the code telling HTML which color is to be used. The Hex number is the reason we see colors on websites. The balance of the colors red, green, and blue is referred to as the RGB number. For example, inserting the color black into HTML code would be “#000000” and white would be “#FFFFFF.” Facebook’s famous shade of blue is #3B5998, with an RGB of 59, 89, and 152. The numbers represent red, green and blue respectively, with blue having the highest number because the color we see is, in fact, blue.

The Colors and Why

Whether the reason is due to the sense of welcoming, the evolving sense of transparency as the consumer reads through the website, or a symbolic color, each website chooses their design for a reason. Twitter’s mascot is a bird, so it only makes sense that their blue represents the sky on a perfect day. Facebook is blue because the founder, Mark Zuckerberg, is red-green colorblind, so blue is the richest color for him. The list below shows the Hex and RGB numbers of popular social networking websites. MySpace and Linkedin, now both are designed with primarily black color schemes, used to be blue and are thus included. Linkedin still utilizes the color blue through their blue links throughout their website. Our logo at BluLeadz consists of two different shades of blue, and both are included in this list.

  • Facebook 
    • Hex:#3B5998
    • RGB: 59, 89, 152
  • Twitter
    • Hex: #00ACED
    • RGB: 0, 172, 237
  • Instagram
    • Hex: #517FA4
    • RGB: 81, 127, 164
  • Tumblr
    • Hex: #32506D
    • RGB: 50, 80, 109
  • Skype
    • Hex: #12A5F4
    • RGB: 18, 165, 244
  • Wordpress.com
    • Hex: #21759B
    • RGB: 33, 117, 155
  • Formspring
    • Hex: #4BB1E6
    • RGB: 75, 177, 230
  • Pandora
    • Hex: #336699
    • RGB: 51, 102, 153
  • MySpace
    • Hex: #6699CC
    • RGB: 102, 153, 204
  • Linkedin
    • Hex: #4875B4
    • RGB: 72, 117, 180
  • Dictionary.com
    • Hex: #004A77
    • RGB: 0, 74, 119
  • BluLeadz
    • Lighter Blue Hex: #003366
    • Lighter Blue RGB: 0, 51, 102
    • Darker Blue Hex: #0099CC
    • Darker Blue RGB: 6, 153, 204

Blue as a Marketing Tool

As a marketing tool, blue follows a pattern designed to attract customers. This pattern can be traced in three steps:

  1. Attract with a welcoming color. A blue website wants its viewers to feel welcome. They are stepping into a friendly environment that is not intimidating nor boring.
  2. Portray safety and reliability. With the primary color of a website being blue, the website is thus designed to whisper to the customer, “Look how reliable I am. I am safe, as well as both light-hearted and professional. I am comfortable. Look at me.”
  3. Disappear into background. Now that the color has done what it was designed to do, it can now take a few steps back to allow the reader to become completely enveloped in the information they are receiving. How often do you pay attention to the blue borders of your Facebook window or the sidebars of Microsoft Office? Exactly. 

Blue For Your Website

What do you want to your website to portray? Natural, comfortable, and reliable elements are all portrayed in the color blue. Any color will work for a website when used in an efficient way, but if you are looking to portray the specifics of communication, then blue is the way to go.

Topics: Social Media, Facebook, Twitter

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