The role of colour in web design
Design is one of the main things to consider when creating your website and colour is a huge part of website design. While some may believe that brand colours are chosen at random, there is usually an in-depth thought process behind the colour scheme of a website.
The use of colour in web design can influence how visitors perceive that website and its content. Colour plays an important role in communication and the use of it in web design can convey your brand’s personality. Studies suggest that people make a subconscious judgement about a product within 90 seconds of initial viewing. Up to 90% of that assessment is based on colour alone.
Memory retention and recall are also enhanced through colour, which is essential when it comes to remembering a specific brand or product. When used correctly, colour and good typography can be one of the most imperative aspects of website design. This means that getting the palette right at the start is crucial and should be limited to two or three colours so as to not complicate the design.
Understanding Colour Psychology
Colour psychology refers to the impact of colour on our feelings, emotions and behaviours. Different colours evoke different emotions and associations, such as blue for trust and reliability. Colour psychology can help us subconsciously influence people who visit your website in meaningful ways. This makes it a powerful tool for establishing your brand personality.
Colours spark emotions and people are drawn to certain colours because of how they make them feel. On the other hand, colours can also cause a negative reaction in certain contexts. For instance, red might be associated with passion and excitement for some, but for others it might invoke fear and anxiety. If you want to use colour in web design to convey a certain emotion, it needs to integrate well with other elements on your site like typography, imagery and copy.
Common colour associations
Finding a colour scheme that works for your brand is super important. Here are some common colour associations to keep in mind when choosing colours for your website design.
Red: passion, power, love, danger, excitement
Blue: calm, trust, competence, peace, logic, reliability
Green: health, nature, abundance, prosperity
Yellow: happiness, optimism, creativity, friendliness
Orange: fun, freedom, warmth, comfort, playfulness
Purple: luxury, mystery, sophistication, loyalty, creativity
Pink: nurturing, gentleness, sincerity, warmth
Brown: nature, security, protection, support
Black: elegance, power, control, sophistication, depression
White: purity, peace, clarity, cleanliness
Choosing a Brand Palette for Your Website
The most common colour palettes usually fall into the following categories:
- Monochromatic – when hues or tints from a single colour are used; for instance, different shades of red.
- Analogous – utilising colours which sit next to each other on the colour wheel; for example, red and orange.
- Complementary – this is two colours opposite each other on the colour wheel. These work well when contrast is required. For example, purple and green.
- Split-complementary – like complementary which uses the opposite colour, this palette uses two opposite colours.
- Triadic – this is created from three colours which are evenly spaced around the colour wheel; for example, purple, green and orange.
- Tetradic – this is known as the use of four colours; for example, red, green, blue-purple and yellow-orange.
Enhancing User Experience with Colour
Not only can colour help make a site more appealing, memorable and evoke emotion, but it can also make the user experience smoother, resulting in more leads and higher conversion rates. Colour plays a key role as part of a well-designed user interface, assisting visitors to navigate through the site guiding them through it quickly and easily.
Creating Contrast and Hierarchy with Colour
Colour can also be used to create contrast and hierarchy, guiding visitors’ attention and making important elements stand out.
Using contrasting colours is the best way to emphasise information and attract attention to a particular part of a design. When evaluating contrast, it’s important to not just consider the colours, but also their tone. Two different colours with an even tone don’t create a high contrast. A tip to determine the contrast level of two colours is to convert them to grey scale – the difference, in contrast, will be much more noticeable. Using a dark background or a light background can highlight the copy in your design and is a great way to utilise visual hierarchy.
Visual hierarchy is the principle of arranging individual elements in order of their importance in a design. Web designers organise visual components to ensure that viewers can easily understand their meaning. Colour is one of the main building blocks of design and when it comes to visual hierarchy, colour determines the area to which the eye immediately gravitates in a design. Warm colours usually come to the forefront of the design.
Avoiding Common Colour Mistakes in Web Design
The use of too many colours or clashing colour combinations can create a chaotic and unprofessional appearance causing a confusing visual identity. In order to utilise colour theory effectively, you’ll need to avoid certain common mistakes:
- Colours that are too vibrant or too neutral
- Excessive usage of neon colours
- Using too many colours at once
- Only using a black and white combination
Colour is a powerful tool in website design and can be used to show brand identity, attract attention, enhance user experience, evoke emotion and drive conversions. Good colour choices require careful planning and when done correctly can influence how a site visitor interprets your design, copy and ultimately how they view your brand.
Our web designers can fully customise the look and feel of your website so that your style and branding is reflective of your brand and company. Contact us today for a beautifully designed website.