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How to use colour effectively in your website design

16/01/2015
Luke
Luke

Colour has the power to communicate and reinforce your key message and your brand. During the website design process, it is important to think about what colours you are going to use to do this, and which you should avoid. Keeping uniformity will enhance your brand and convey your brand values.

Symbolism in colour

Depending on where your target audience are geographically located can have an effect on your use of colour. For example, purple suggests death and mourning in some Catholic countries, compared to royalty in many western countries. Greens can be used to symbolise anything from an invitation such as “go” to nature, or even wealth. Green is also a neutral colour which is both masculine and feminine. Age is another factor to take into account as younger audiences tend to be more drawn to bright colours than an older demographic.

 

Using colour for branding

We can all identify iconic brands by their logos, and colour is one of the key features of these. Cool colours such as greens and blues are regularly used to promote medicines, outdoor products, and professional services for example law or accounting. This is because they denote relaxation and trust. Warm colours tend to be most commonly used for food and beverage brands, with more neutral cream/brown shades often used for chocolate packaging and confectionary. Blue hues should not be used for food products since the colour supresses your appetite. Consider these things when choosing colours to best suit your product or service.

Aesthetics and readability

You will also need to consider the effect of your choice of colours on the readability of your text. To draw focus to headlines and important areas of text or images, you should not combine these with a saturated background. Doing so will overwhelm the content and make it difficult to read and pictures will not be as useful. A helpful hint is that in most cases, on a saturated background, text will be clearer in white font, and black font is easier to read on a white background. White space and lighter backgrounds convey loyalty and trust.

Choosing a background that works

Background colours should simply enhance the content on your site, so getting a balance between highly bright and saturated colours and grey tones is essential. Be aware that some colours may just appear lighter when less saturated, but some will seem more muted instead. Choose a single primary colour and then use a contrasting colour to draw the eye to key points of interest.

Don’t overload with colours

Choose your colours to complement each other, as well as your content. The best approach is often to select a theme of colours, using a palette of 4-5 colours. This stops colour use being overwhelming to the user, and helps black and white text to stand out. Too many colours will either distract or offend the user, and keeping it simple really is often the most effective way to incorporate colour into your website.

What suits your business?

Overall it is important that the colours you choose direct website users towards your product or service and are in line with the profession you work in. A helpful tip is that the presence of red on a website can be an effective way to direct users to a call to action, such as to get in touch or find out more.

For a free website consultation, or help with your web development, contact the Geeks today.

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