The use of colour is one of the most important aspects of web design. We are all affected by colours, even if it is on a subconscious level. Colours stir an emotional response and influence whether or not we like something, which in turn influences our buying behaviour.
Colour enhances memory retention and recall, which is important when it comes to remembering products or brands. That is the reason why businesses place so much importance on getting their branding right. They want to stand out from their competitors and use colour to evoke specific emotions in their target audience.
Colour, along with good typography, can be one of the single most important aspects of website design, so getting the colour palette right at the start of the project is vital. It should ideally be limited to two or three colours as to not complicate the website design and overwhelm users. The most common colour palettes usually fall into the following categories:
Monochromatic – when variations of a single colour are used.
Analogous – using colours that sit adjacent to each other on the colour wheel.
Complementary – this is created from two colours opposite each other on the colour wheel. These work really well where a high level of contrast is required.
Split-complementary – like complementary which uses the opposite colour, this palette uses two opposite colours.
Triadic – this is created from three colours which are evenly spaced around the colour wheel.
Tetradic – this uses four colours. allowing for plenty of variation within the design.
Colours provoke emotions
What do we associate with different colours?
Red – power, energy, vitality, romance. Coca-cola use red extensively in their website to reflect the energy and vitality associated with their brand.
Orange – warm, enthusiastic, friendly. Nickelodeon uses orange to represent its branding.
Yellow – joy, sunshine, warmth. Sites using yellow often show a less serious, more playful character.
Green – nature, calm, fresh. These are colours often associated with the outdoors and are used commonly for sites connected with nature, farming, food and outdoor leisure.
Blue – integrity, trust, calm. A choice of colour often used by professionals such as accountants and solicitors who are looking to give an impression of reliability and authority. Bodies such as the NHS and the CMA make extensive use of blue on their websites.
Purple – royalty, wealth, glamour. Purple is a colour that particularly appeals to women, a survey of 2,000 people by detergent company Ariel is consistent with a wide range of other data that shows women like purple far more than men do.
Pink – sweet, love, playful. Often associated with products aimed at girls and women.
Grey – elegance, wisdom, respect. Grey is often associated with elegance and sophistication and can often be found used in sites selling luxury products. It gives sites a very modern and contemporary feel.
Black – power, intensity, luxury. Black is often associated with luxury brands such as Rolex.
Browns, beiges and creams are colours which have a natural, warm and homely feel. Great for producers of wholesome food products or anywhere where you want to promote a feeling of comfort and reassurance.
Colour helps the user experience
Not only can colour help make a website more memorable and provoke emotional stimulation, it can also make the user experience more enjoyable resulting in higher conversion rates. Along with a well-designed user-interface, helping visitors to navigate through the site is one key role colour plays, guiding them through the site content easily and quickly.
Contrast is key
Aside from the dominant colour scheme of a website, of equal importance is the use of colour to create contrast for drawing attention to specific areas of a page. Call to action buttons/sign-ups/download buttons/navigation are all areas where contrast is helpful. Primary colours are best for drawing attention to these areas. Contrast enables a designer to direct users to those areas of the site which are important and, from a marketing perspective help to lead users through the site to conversion.
With around 10% of the population afflicted with colour blindness this is an important consideration. Ensure your text and logo stand out sufficiently from the background colour to enable all people to read it.
Choosing the right colour palette can help you build a successful and strong brand, so it is vital to the success of your business. Colours get your business noticed and enable you to connect with your clients. They hold an enormous amount of power over the audience’s thoughts and feelings so should be taken seriously when designing your website. For help with creating your next website call us on 01202 650 333 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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