Colours are the visual spice of life, but just like pepper or cinnamon, too much of a good thing can turn bad. When you start planning the design of your website, there are three key issues you should communicate to your designer: the preferred layout, fonts and colour scheme.
Usually, large, established companies use their brand colours in everything. But even these companies went through the growing pains of finding a set of colours which best represents their mission statement and the message they want to transmit to potential customers. Selecting the colours for your website is, therefore, a complex business. And it is one where psychology plays a huge role.
What Messages Do Colours Convey?
Each colour is more appealing to one gender than the other and sends different subliminal messages. Let us go through the most popular colours and their meanings.
Pink expresses, joy, romance and delicacy. Various shades of pink from pale cherry blossom to neon pink also have their different meaning. This colour works best for confectionery and candy makers, women’s magazines and children’s clothing (paired with powder blue).
There is a famous TV series claiming that orange is the new black. In advertising and marketing, orange is the new red. Vibrant, joyous and less associated with the sense of warning, orange is perfect for creating contrast and adding dynamism to the look of your website. It is a colour associated with sports, energy drinks and kids toys.
Orange looks great in combination with brown (more about this colour later on), but it also looks amazing paired with white and pale green.
Blue is frequently the preferred colour among men. It emanates a sense of coolness, dependability and strength. It is, indeed, a colour appealing more to logic and reason and thus it is preferred by tech and IT companies in a great proportion.
This duo of metallic colours has a special status. In all cultures they are associated with royalty, luxury and richness. They should be used as accent colours in websites for niche, premium products and services.
Green is a cool and relaxing colour, which is associated with nature, but also with money. Lighter shades of green are associated with hope, life and renewal (by the way, Pantone declared greenery the colour of 2017), while dark green appears on the websites of banks and other financial institutions.
Without doubt, yellow is the most vibrant colour of the spectrum. It signifies energy, youth and joy, but it is also the colour of warning signs. Also, vibrant shades of yellow cause eye fatigue. It is a great colour for companies who target young, sporty people.
Red is the colour of love and passion for women and the colour of food and warning for men. It is a great colour for restaurants, healthcare and pharmaceutical organisations, fashion and cosmetics brands. Darker red adds a refined touch to your design.
Purple is the sign of nobility – a precious colour, similar to that of amethyst. Therefore, it gives people the sense of premium quality and higher prices. It is a pampering colour for women, and a distinguished one for men, thus it is used by premium fashion and cosmetic companies, as well as by spas, luxury hotels and premium financial service providers.
Brown is a problematic colour. Psychologists state that men dislike it as much as pink. However, dark brown signifies trust and dependability, while lighter shades of cream, tan and peanut are very relaxing for the eyes and can be safely used as background colour.
How to Select a Good Colour Scheme
Professional designers recommend no more than four colours in the palette of a website. There are three ways in which you can pick them, using the 12-step colour wheel:
- Triadic: pick three colours which are situated at a 120-degree angle from each other. You will have three contrasting colours which work well together and create a dynamic look. For example: yellow, red and blue;
- Split complementary: pick two adjacent colours, and the other two situated at a 180-degree from them. Example: peach, orange, blue and purple. You can create both great contrasts and a pleasant balance of colours on each web page;
- Analogous: pick three adjacent colours. Example: light blue, blue and purple. This will give your website a visually relaxing aspect and an elegant touch.