Your website design is currently blue, but it might as well be red as far as you’re concerned. You might not realise this, but colours play a very important role when it comes to web design. Humans are visual creatures and colours can be used to stimulate an emotion, evoke a mood, response or feeling. The colour red for example is used to symbolise excitement. For example, a red Ferrari makes you think of life in the fast lane, passion and excitement, and the red Coca-Cola brand might evoke feelings of lazing by the pool in the summer with an ice cold bottle of Coke.
Of course, it’s also important to remember that colours can have different meanings in different cultures. For example, the colour red symbolises luck and celebration in China, but it’s the colour of mourning in South Africa. The colour green is now commonly used by environmentally friendly companies or eco-warriors, but in the USA, it symbolises money and in Malaysia, green symbolises danger.
So with all this in mind, where do you start? While it’s not possible to find one single colour that is culturally acceptable around the world, it’s a good idea to take into consideration your target market, geographical locations targeted and branding.
Now let’s get started with some recommendations when you’re choosing colours for your website.
Experiment with different text and background colours to work out the best contrast that won’t result in eye strain. A black background and white text can look classy, but it’s hard on the eyes. Black and orange also work well together, but keep it clean and use white to balance it out, otherwise it might seem too dark and gloomy.
Avoid using a patterned background behind the text as it’s hard to read. Keep the background a single block of colour. If you do want to use a pattern or image in the background, consider reducing the opacity of the background, or overlay a see-through colour on top of the image to make the text stand out more.
Number of colours used
More is not better in this case. The fewer colours you use, the better. Use 2-3 key colours and keep it consistent with your corporate branding. Your website shouldn’t look like a rainbow. It’s quite common for websites nowadays to use neutral tones like grey and their main colours in a few different shades for variety.
Don’t be afraid to use white space
Some of the best websites feature a lot of white space to make the graphic or call to action pop. You can do the same for your website so that it doesn’t look cluttered and it will help guide the eye to a specific element. If you use too much colour next to each other, it will only end up confusing the customer instead of getting them to focus on taking action. White space will help guide the eye to specific key areas and direct them to do what you want them to do, for example, call you, or take advantage of a special offer.
‘Web smart’ colours
Web browsers will render colours differently. Make sure that the colours you choose for your website are ‘web smart’ that can be viewed on Macs, PCs and the most popular web browsers.
Bold colours to emphasis a point
Consider bolding your main heading and using a different colour to draw emphasis and tell the reader at a glance what the page is about. You can also consider using bold and a different colour font to get a customer to take action, for example a red ‘buy now’ link.
The colour should fit your target market
It’s important that the colours you choose for your website fits your target market and your industry. For example, it might be out of place to use hot pink in your website design when you sell lawn mowers and your customers are mature males.
So when you’re choosing a colour for your website design, it’s very crucial to do some research and find the right colour for your business. Understand how colour psychology works and what message you want to convey to your target market. Getting the colour right will increase the likelihood of your customers doing what you want them to do.