Choosing Colors for Your Website
One of the most important decisions when designing a website is choosing its color combination. The colors of your website determine how your website interacts with the visitor’s range of emotions.
When you start building a website, the color scheme can be one of its strongest characteristics. It usually evokes some kind of an emotional, and sometimes even physical reaction from people visiting the website. Some colors excite people, making them eager to try new things and buy new products. Some colors calm people, making them more open to information they never heard before. And then, other colors elicit a sensation of trust from the visitor. These colors convey a source of authority and reliability.
Newton’s Wheel of Color
So how does one choose a color scheme for a website? Which color combination even makes sense? We can’t all be professional designers, and at times, these questions are harder than they seem. A good place to start would be with some basic color theory invented in 1666 by none other than Sir Isaac Newton. Newton formed a wheel containing all primary colors in a certain order. Now it is easier to see which color goes with what color. Simply choose opposite colors for a satisfactory, balanced, combination. One might also choose three colors as long as they are equally spaced around the circle or even four colors if they follow the same rule (two pairs of opposite colors).
Basic Color Scheme Options
There are four simple structures to help one decide upon a color scheme that would fit a website:
- Monochromatic Design: A use of colors of the similar hue, with a slight change of tints. A monochromatic design will make use of only one primary color with the addition of different shades of the same color. These designs are often most easy on the eyes. Websites that use monochromatic design schemes often create a soothing effect on the visitor as different hues of the same color combine together effortlessly.
- Analogous Design: A design that consists of colors which are located very close on the color wheel, or even right next to one another. Analogous designs can work very well at times, but always make sure that the colors you choose are not too extreme (like the purple and red).
- Complementary Design: This design makes use of colors that are opposed to one another on the wheel. This choice of colors often creates a more balanced, harmonious result. A complementary design makes things stand out. These designs can be amplified or soothed by the addition of whites and blacks as part of the design.
- Triadic Design: A design built on three main colors that form a triangle on the color wheel. Triadic designs can definitely produce some very striking results. Make sure you test your color scheme with several people before you make a decision.
The Meaning of Website Colors
Research has shown that the presence of different colors greatly affects how a product is accepted. Buyers that are more impulsive react with large margins to the colors red and orange. Consumers that are more calculated tend to go for products that consist of the colors light blue, pink, and Navy. Another thing to remember is that some colors mean different things in different cultures.
In western civilization certain meanings have been attributed to different colors:
Choosing a color scheme for your website is one of the most important decisions you will have to make. It will determine how your visitor will feel when they first enter your website, how they will interact with your website while they are there, and it will affect whether or not they decide to buy your product before they leave. Always choose colors that combine well together, wild combinations might cause undesirable results. Colors evoke feelings and emotions in people. Be attentive and choose the right color combination that makes your audience feel what you want them to feel. And finally, remember that colors have different meanings in our culture so make sure you communicate to your audience the right message right from the start.