Do's and Don'ts of Website Color

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Do's and Don'ts of Website Color

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Color and visual elements activate the right brain (emotions) while the printed words activate the left brain (logic). Color and typography can be the most important elements in design. When you harmonize these elements, you can attract attention to any subject, reinforce impact and establish identities, brand and mood.

Typical Color Wheel
DO take the time to learn the color wheel. All colors are made up of three primaries: red, blue and yellow. When you combine primaries, you get three secondary colors which are orange, green and purple. Combine each secondary with its neighboring primary, you get six tertiary colors. These are red-orange, red-purple, blue-purple, blue-green, yellow-green and yellow-orange.

All color has a temperature and activates emotion. For example, the red/yellow spectrum is warm, while blue/purple is cool. Most people are attracted to warmer colors, but can react negatively to fluorescent colors such as chartreuse, lime green or other colors that can make you squint. Often people exit sites quickly when the palette is dark, mostly black or grey. Warm and cool colors work well together so don’t be afraid to mix it up.

DON’T use the entire box of Crayons. That is, you wouldn’t use every Crayon when coloring, why would you do the same with a website? Too many colors create too much noise, distracting the viewer. Keep your color scheme to five colors or less. For ideas, Colour Lovers has user generated color schemes that can inspire your website palette.

Sample Warm Color Palette
DO choose the right color palette. Knowing what your reader’s emotions are will help in choosing the proper website palette. For example, a law firm would not choose bright pink and black as it would not elicit stability, professionalism or confidence as the colors are more trendy. The same goes for a therapist or accounting firm as their color palette would be lighter, more ‘open.’ However, a rock band would use bright pink, electric blue and black for effect. Knowing your audience is paramount to web design.

DO use neutral backgrounds. When choosing a background color, use either plain color backgrounds or subtle background patterns. White works best with dark print so your readers have high contrast and ease of reading. As with too many colors, busy backgrounds are distracting and can interfere with a positive user experience.

DON’T forget colors change according to their surroundings. A large rectangle and a narrow line of the same color will look different when placed against a white background. The color in the line will look darker than the rectangle. 

Or when two shades of the same color, on dark and one light, are paired, the darker shade will look darker and the lighter shade will appear lighter.


Even outlining a color in a darker shade will enhance the enclosed color, helping to keep a color from “bleeding” into the surrounding area. Conversely, a lighter outline will cause a color to spread to adjacent colors, and will reduce the strength of the enclosed color. 
Bottom Line: DON’T be afraid to experiment. Sometimes even forbidden combinations work. Mix and match and see what works. Check out various online color tools to help you choose the right combination. The best advice is to play with color and be aware of these nuances so your website delivers the impact you want. Always remember your audience and make it easy. And keep in mind the old adage: Less is More. It's true.

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1 comment:

  1. Thank for sharing the knowledge. It's very much important to have the proper color combination while doing Website Development of the existing website or Redesigning the website

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