Some junior staff member of The New Yorker once suggested they start printing their famous black-and-white cartoons in color. This really pissed off Sam Gross, a veteran cartoonist for the New Yorker, who responded:

“There’s nothing funny about the color red!”[1]

His point was that on the list of factors that make a cartoon good, color was nowhere near the top. Adding color is not going to turn an unfunny cartoon into a funny one.

(There may be exceptions…)

A cartoon about the color red.

The same is true for call-to-action links and buttons. If you start conversion optimization with a debate about button colors then you’re already off the tracks.

There’s nothing inherent in the color red—or green, or orange, or…—that makes it more clickable.

Colors don’t get clicks, but obvious next steps do:

An obvious next step takes into consideration the visitor’s location on the site, what they’ve already seen, what they want to do next, what they think they should do next, what else they see on the page, and so on…

Red doesn’t matter.

[1] I’m paraphrasing from a story I overheard from Sam Gross himself many years ago while hanging out in the cartoonist lounge at the former office of The New Yorker.

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