Web Design Inspired By Nature

What if you could…

feel connected to nature while surfing the web? What if you could load a website that brought you the stillness and calm of a peaceful lake? What if you had a user experience that reminds you of rushing water and cool winds? When viewing a website, not many people think “wow, I feel very connected to nature.” In fact, so much of the internet has brought people away from the outdoors. We now live in a time where our eyes are glued to screens and in order to appreciate nature, we feel the need to completely “unplug.”

How does nature photography fit into web design?

Let’s think for a moment what we love to view on the web—from beautiful resort booking pages, to a restaurant’s new dish, all the way to stunning websites featuring the world’s best ballerinas. What they all have in common is that they use photos to elicit an emotion or feeling that is memorable. To break this down to its most basic point, we would need to look at color psychology.

Color Psychology

Color psychology is the theory that colors can impact your mood, feelings, and behaviors. For example, warm colors like red and yellow are thought to stimulate the mind and body whereas cool colors are associated with healing and calm. Using color psychology can be very effective in marketing a brand online. From using complementary colors to draw attention (think sports teams) to using analogous colors to create subtle and beautiful content, color choices are made to motivate the viewer.

Color Psychology and Emotional Impact of Nature Photography

Every color, shape, and angle are found in nature, leaving infinite possibilities for a photographer’s focus. If the focus of a photo is primarily green trees, it can provide a tranquil and refreshing psychological impact. Orange and red fall leaves might remind the viewer of excitement, change, and energy. A vast blue sky can elicit a calming response and the viewer could associate that feeling with trust. If a landscape showcases complementary colors (colors on opposite sides of the color wheel) it can indicate excitement and movement. To the human eye, cooler colors can drift backwards in space while warmer colors advance forward.

Using Nature Photography to Market your Brand

After reviewing some basic principles of color theory, let’s think through some of our favorite content on the web. When viewing the web page for a romantic resort, we can assume that they will feature photos using colors that elicit a calming effect like deep blue ocean waves, rolling plains, or even exotic purple flowers. A restaurant’s website will feature photos with rich contrast and multiple bright colors, encouraging action and interest. A ballet company’s website may use stark power colors with vast contrast to bring focus on the angles of the dancers and evoke a sense of intrigue.

When it all started…

Jay’s interest in using nature photography as a means to market a brand began with his emotional response to photos he had taken of Washington State. The green felt refreshing and active to him, while the white patches of snow reminded him of simplicity. He began viewing his web designs in a similar fashion; active, fast, clean, and attractive.

If Jay isn’t using his own photos for a web design, he uses his color theory knowledge to ensure that a website’s call to action is clear and that the design attracts the correct demographic. Jay has found success with pairing illustrations and landscape photography in order to create stunning visual effects within a web design.