Want a new website but not sure what colours to choose? Believe it or not, it’s a problem we hear about quite a lot here at Outible, even when considering all the other technical factors that you need to think about in web design.
It’s not exactly rocket science, but choosing colours for your website that evoke the right emotions, are fashionable, and are also suitable for readability and eye health can be quite difficult. Don’t worry, though – we’re experts in all things web design, and we’re here to help in your time of need.
Keep on reading for our tips and tricks in choosing the best colours for your website.
The term ‘colour psychology’ might sound a bit fancy, but all it really means is how colours make us feel when we look at them – consciously as well as subconsciously. This is obviously important to consider when choosing colours for your website and your brand in general, and this will actually be the main focus of this article.
For example, if you wanted a website for a sustainable forest organisation, it might feel odd to choose a red and black colour scheme. If you think about the colours red and black and forests, let’s be honest, you’re more likely to think about forest fires than about sustainability. It would be much better to choose green and blue to evoke a sense of nature, pureness, tranquillity and health.
This is what we mean when we say, ‘colour psychology’. It’s an extremely important factor to consider when designing a website – or when choosing colours for anything, for that matter. Take hospitals – it might seem a bit strange to paint the inside or the outside of a hospital red for its connection to blood, or it might be unusual to choose any other colour than blue for a logo for an aquarium.
Let’s break down some of the main colours and their associated emotions here:
Red: energy, passion, urgency, excitement – red is all about encouraging your audience to trust their instincts and take action now. It’s often used for fast food, because when you’re hungry, you’re hungry – you want your food right away. Brands that use red could be seen as selling adventure, but not exactly security – think about red brands like Coca-Cola, Netflix, Nintendo, and Marvel.
Orange: a combination between red and yellow, feeling warm and positive but with more energy and fun – the most famous orange brand is the Orange phone company, but there’s also Nickelodeon, Penguin, and several orange-flavoured brands like Fanta and Crush Orange Soda.
Yellow: positivity, sunshine, warmth – yellow is all about welcoming your customers with a smile, and as you can imagine it’s often used in service industries – think about yellow brands like DHL, Yellow Pages, Post-It Notes, and McDonalds.
Blue: inspires feelings of trust and tranquillity – in our opinion, it’s the most common colour for websites and logos. Companies that must use trust as part of their marketing image, like Facebook, Twitter, PayPal, and American Express, all use blue heavily in their designs.
Green: nature, health, and freshness – it’s great for healthy food companies, or for companies that just want a fresh, edgy look. Think about Starbucks, Spotify, Tropicana, Tic Tac, and of course Greenpeace.
Purple: there are some differing opinions on what purple conveys, but most people agree that it’s all about creativity and expression, along with confidence. This fits in well with brands like Cadbury’s, Monster Jobs, Twitch and Zoopla.
Black: modern, edgy, sleek – black is a stylish choice for luxury websites and brands that can signify a sense of quality and power. For example, most of the fashion brands like Gucci, Vans, Chanel, Burberry, and Versace use black for their logos and websites.
White: transparency and minimalism – white isn’t used so much for logos because they wouldn’t stand out, but for websites it can often be the best choice. Choosing no colour at all, using white as the main colour for your website can be a shrewd tactic as it draws attention to other splashes of colour, such as for offers and products elsewhere on your site.
Consistency Of Colour And Communication For Your Website
The brands mentioned above as examples don’t just use these colours in their logos – go to their websites and you’ll see that its usually their whole websites featuring these colour schemes at every possible opportunity. These companies do this because they want to achieve a consistency effect – they want to be completely associated with these colours.
Take Coca-Cola – whenever you see a fizzy drink branded in red, they want you to think about their own beverage. This is not only true for colours either, but for tone of voice in brand communications and much more.
All brands want to achieve a certain level of identity to foster trust and a psychological presence in their customers’ minds, and you can do this by choosing a consistent colour scheme for your brand and website.
Colours On Trend
We’re seeing a lot of ‘soft tones’ at the moment, which basically just means lightened versions of the main colours. Muted colours often have a classy look that help bolder messages and products stand out.
And almost all brands want at least some urgency and excitement in their design, which is why so many in the last few years have been including patches of red on their websites.
Practical Considerations To Website Colour
Apart from colour psychology and colour trends, there are some practical purposes to choosing colours for your web design. If you want your website to have a lot of urgency and excitement, you pick red – but be careful about your shade of red, along with just how much red you use, as you might affect how readable your website is.
Constantly reading words on bright backgrounds has even been found in some cases to affect eye health over time.
You also want to play to the strengths of your own brand colours. For example, if you already have a logo designed then it can really work in your favour to have a similarly designed website. If purple and gold are in your logo, then you can go with a background colour of light gold with purple text, or where you have an external or internal link on your site that is usually blue, why not have it in your brand colours instead?
It’s all these little things that add up to give the overall impression that your brand and your website are meshed together well and care has been taken to create this, not just thrown together.
Choosing colours is an important part of designing your website and creating your brand overall. Take your time when deciding and seek expert advice.
Here at Outible, we’re not just technical web people – we’re an artistic bunch who love pouring our creativity into our web design projects. If you have any questions about how we can help in your web design journey, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us.