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How colors in Web Design affect your Websites message.

What kind of message is your website conveying? If you haven’t properly considered your color choices in the Web design phase, you could be portraying the wrong image for your company.

Color has a proven ability to suggest an emotional response from a person. While the level varies depending on the individual, very specific trends have been charted and utilized by people in marketing for years. However, even with that knowledge there are plenty of people that are not using the concept online.

There are definitely meanings behind colors that should be considered when you are designing your website and picking a color scheme to make sure you are saying the right thing to customers both consciously and subconsciously.

Breaking the Color Barrier

So what do colors mean to people? Here is quick list of some examples:

  • Blue – This color is associated with trust, reliability, and security. The hue can vary from a navy to slightly darker. A lighter sky blue tends to blend towards fun.
  • Orange/Yellow – This mix can be called the ‘Sunshine’ pallet because it adds the idea of fun like a summer day. But, it can also invoke the idea of thriftiness or cheap much like Walmart uses bright yellow on price drops.
  • Black – This color often goes with elegance and quality.
  • Red – This color is fast, plain and simple.
  • Green – Money! Also green has become more of a health or sustainability color with the push in the Go Green campaigns over the past few decades.

When you mix colors properly you can also invoke thoughts:

  • Red & Black – This creates fear and concern.
  • Purple & Red – This is great for reassurance or courage.
  • Blue & Black – Oddly this mix is used a lot by high tech and is associated with it.

Of course an important thing to note is that these trends are most applicable for an American audience. Color associations can easily be affected by cultural differences which tend to have different influences.

Tips to Using Color Properly

The idea with color is to make your message stand out and leave an imprint, but many people try too hard with bad results. You don’t want to use too many colors, use them in the wrong way, or be inconsistent with colors between your logo and website.

The colors that you choose should become part of your brand. The most important part of your brand is your logo. That will set the tone for the color palette. Ideally you want some consistency between the two for recognition and comfort.

Then you want to use a limited number of colors because the fewer you use, the easier the site is to remember. Typically one or two primary colors and along with black and white can be used to create the proper mix between background, text, navigation, and call-to-actions. Again we can look at a site like Walmart with a very simple blue background that also has orange mixed in along with white to make everything stand out properly. Their colors mix the concepts of trust, fun, and inexpensive.

Finally you have to understand how best to use color. Certain areas need color and others don’t. You can’t just slap a paintbrush across the whole site. Navigation buttons, menus, and other interface controls are prime locations for brand colors. Conversely you want the areas where people are going to be reading to have a lack of brand colors and instead have more contrast which is why black and white work so well in those spots. By using simple black and white for writing, your text is never in competition with your brand colors.

Color is a Privilege Not a Right

Color is everywhere in this world so often people take it for granted. But, when it comes to web design you simply can’t expect to splash colors all over a page and expect it to work perfectly. Your brand is connected to your logo and colors. If you aren’t making sure these things are in harmony on your website then you open the door to confusion by visitors and customers which is never a good thing.

Want a good example? Pop over to UPS’s website (UPS.com). They have a very simple logo with brown and yellow/orange yet for some reason they opted to use a 3-tone mix of teal as the primary colors on the website. Teal? If you take away the UPS logo from the site would you guess at a glance what company the site was for?

That is why it is important to consider color carefully when you are planning, designing, or re-designing your website. It can make a big difference in how well your site performs in the long run.

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