There’s a reason why Facebook began pumping newsfeeds full of bright rectangular color blocks with bold white text: It’s a simple gimmick, but it works.

Now, bear with us for a dash of theory. In digital design, every boost in color value adds more light. That’s why the center of an RBG color wheel (Microsoft Paint, anyone?) is as white as your screen can get. (The notion of “Pure White” will merit another blog post entirely.) With every color at our disposal, red remains the most powerful choice as it still manages to stand out amid the overabundance of light that digital screens emit.

Since our editors have saved us from drifting off into a complete biography of red, suffice to say that crimson and its cousins have held court in the color castle for several centuries, and show no signs of stepping down.

So, when it comes to your online ads, bright shades are a strong start. Colors balance the emotional equation of showing and telling. Colors can formulate identity and circumscribe an audience. They drive action, grab traffic, and emboss your message into the thermosphere of viewers’ minds. Colors are the the road signs that tell us whether to swerve toward, or swerve away.

Testing is an important part of any ad campaign. By testing distinct creative choices like button or text color, we find what we artists begrudgingly refer to as “data” – that which renders real insights from measurable results. Sometimes, the results surprise us. Below, however, is something that doesn’t:

Mayor de Blasio Acquisition

A red button or header color will almost always perform the best. Red captures urgency and impels action. But wait, there’s more!

Acquisition Thermometer

With ample white space, your ad will perform even better than one crowded with text and extraneous elements! White space is an open field of fresh air amid the crowded cloisters of social channels. In a space rife with visually dynamic graphics, clean, simple designs stands out.

Banner advertisement: Donation

The key ingredient, we must insist, is an artist. With many smaller clients aiming to expand their audience, we field more than a few requests to build brand recognition by “going bold.” The advantage of having a professional on your team is the ability to blow past convention and break away from the pack with attractive, impactful design.


Morgan Hill serves as Revolution Messaging’s Creative Strategist.

Annika Lurio served as Revolution Messaging’s Senior Graphic Designer. She now works as a Senior Graphic Designer at Hawke Media.