Is Colour Important in Website Design

By Christina

Dec 04, 2019

Colour is a very powerful tool when used correctly on a website.  It can be used to attract attention, express meaning, create desire and drive conversions.  Getting it right takes careful planning because you are trying to influence how a visitor perceives your company.

Choosing the right colours is crucial for your online success.  Colour can stir emotions, help visitors to process and store images more efficiently, it also helps with brand recognition.  A visitors judgement of your company can solely be based on your websites colour schemes so it's extremely important the websites palette matches a brands philosophy.

Website designers, such as DRA, have a great understanding of colour theory and the relationships between colours - see colour wheel below:

colour theory

Colour wheels are an easy way to select colour combinations or palettes and to apply the principles of complementary, monochromatic and triad colour harmonies.  Website design software has a colour wheel which makes our lives a little easier when picking colour combinations.

What do colours mean:

Red:
Active + Emotional + Passionate + Strength + Love + Intensity

Orange:
Warm + Enthusiastic + Success + Determination + Friendly

Yellow:
Joy + Alive + Energetic + Fresh + Optimistic + Youthful

Green:
Fresh + Calm + Relaxed + Trust + Peaceful + Hopeful + Healing

Blue:
Comfort + Clarity + Calm + Trust + Integrity + Loyalty + Reliable

Purple:
Glamour + Power + Nostalgic + Luxury + Ambition + Spiritual

Pink:
Love + Sweet + Romantic + Playful + Warm + Compassionate + Soft

Black:
Powerful + Bold + Serious + Elegant + Luxurious + Dramatic + Formal

Grey:
Respect + Wisdom + Patience + Modern + Longevity + Intelligent

How we choose a colour palette for websites:
Understanding the theory behind colours is one thing, choosing a colour palette that will make a website successful is another thing entirely.

The process we work through is to firstly look at a companies branding.  If a business is established, we start with their colours first and then introduce a new experimental colour in small quantities to reduce risk of customers hating the new look - sometimes small changes often go down better with customers then one big change.  Amazon is the best at this, they constantly make changes that their customers don't even notice.

We then look at the companies audience and choose colours that most represent the emotions the brand intends to convey to them.  This takes a bit of research into the target demographics.

Keeping up with colour trends is all important as well, this means we can create websites that look new and progressive.

When using colour for call to actions, we are looking at creating an emotional response to make a person take action.

Armed with all that knowledge and a palette of colours in front of us we then look are which colours work well together.  Starting with the dominate colour and working our way towards a lighter colour.

Of course, sometimes we can get a little carried away and have too many colours to choose from, but we understand too many colours cause eye fatigue and overwhelm the customer, so have to pick only a few. 

Where we take colour inspiration from:
We find our inspiration from everywhere, we love nature and getting outside and looking at the colour of leaves in Autumn, or the colour of new shoots in Spring and the wide choice of colours throughout summer.  Insects and flowers always have colours that compliment each other and send out messages of warning or invitation.

Staying informed has served us well, keeping up with different design fields and understanding customers and competitive markets.  Also keeping on top of forecasted colour trends.

Pantone are colour design leaders.  They provide the latest in colour trends across all forms of graphic arts, fashion and interiors, paint and plastics.  Pantone is a physical colour index and is a perfect tool for us to use.  It's great to have a physical colour swatch as it allows us to know exactly how a colour will look when it's used on paper or fabric.

Pinterest is another great place to hang out, it holds a very impressive amount of colour palettes brought together by designers and creatives from around the world.  Pinterest allows us to search by colour, season or theme for instant inspiration.

Finally we check out what the competition is using so we can create something better...

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