When embarking on your new web project, there are many factors to consider. However, one of the most important and often overlooked factors is the importance of color used in your design. Is your business a restaurant? A law firm? Will your site have a shopping cart? Don’t underestimate the powerful connotation each color will have on your design. Let’s revisit our old friend Roy G. Biv:
Red is arguably the most powerful color in the spectrum. That being said, it should be used sparingly, as an excess of this color can be overwhelming. However, when used correctly, red can a confidently grab your audiences’ attention. It is also an effective color to use for restaurant sites, as the color red has been shown to boost appetites.
McDonald’s McCafe site successfully uses this color by balancing it with warm brown hues.
In case you can’t tell, we love this color. Orange is a great color for web design because it carries a good balance of power. It’s not as overwhelming as red, but not as light and soft as yellow. Orange can be concurrently professional and enthusiastic. A lot of media outlets (TV, film, print & web) utilize this color, such as the Queen’s Film Theatre in Ireland.
Yellow happens to be a pretty unpopular color since its main connotation is “caution” (think yellow caution tape), and should be used sparingly. Yellow should not be used as a dominate color, but rather as a secondary element. When used correctly, this color can have earthy, cheerful or energizing connotations.
The Lemon and Mint site successfully uses the color yellow to highlight different categories and products. It’s also appropriate since the name of the business includes a bright yellow fruit.
Green is a great color for web design because it is highly flexible for any industry. While it is generally known for suggesting nature or natural elements, green can also have a calming effect on your audience – think salons, spas, medical facilities, or vacation spots.
Besides the obvious “Greenville” name association, the Greenville, South Caroline tourist website uses the color green to create a calm, inviting space, encouraging viewers to visit the town.
Blue is a popular color in web design because it is safe and aesthetically pleasing to virtually everyone. Take Facebook as an example; with 950 million users, they needed to pick a color that everyone would like. It isn’t bold, but it still gets the job done. Blue is commonly used on medical websites because of its calming and hygienic connotations.
Ready for Zero, a debt related site, uses blue effectively. Since debt is such a stressful topic, they use blue’s calming effect to counteract this emotion.
Purple is a tricky color to work with, especially when designing for the web. It is often perceived as feminine, and it can be challenging to stray from this stereotype. When used correctly, purple can be elegant, delicate and romantic.
It’s Firefly’s website is a beautiful example of the color purple straying from it’s feminine connotations, and instead reminds us of a campfire at dusk.
While brown is most commonly associated with nature and earthiness, it can also be warm and inviting when used in web design. It is a logical choice for eco-friendly services, but it is possible to go beyond its literal connotation.
The Woodlands of Baton Rouge website successfully uses brown to give a warm and welcoming feel- which is practical considering that they are selling apartment living.
Black is a bold choice and can be a effective in displaying a product or idea. Be careful with your color choices when you use black to ensure text legibility. Pay close attention and never mix too much red with black, as the end result will be impossible to read.
HYT Watches successfully uses black to make their product stand out, while using bits of neon green to add a little more punch.
Like blue, grey is another popular color for web design. While its versatility can make it warm or cool, it is possible for grey to be a little too safe, so be sure to use another color to bring some more life to your design.
The City website utilizes grey and white as a way to let its videos stand out, but also uses bits of red text to add some color and break up the monotony.
White may be the most underrated color in design. Never underestimate the power of white space and what it can do for your design, or for displaying your product. White websites can be clean and light, but some minimalist sites can be perceived as boring. It can be challenging to find a balance between using restraint and adding just enough to make your design interesting, but it is worth the effort.
The Kalman & Pabst photography website utilizes a clean, white design to display its colorful and dynamic photographs.
When building your website, don’t make your color choice personal. A blue website might be ‘pretty’, but if you’re trying to sell something, perhaps red or orange would be a better attention-grabbing color. Remember that every color used has its own meaning and can either be effective or counterproductive in your design. Making the right decision can be the difference between a site that is generic or off-putting, and one that is dynamic and effective.