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3 Ways to use colour effectively on your website

Getting the colour schemes of your website and branding right is essential, as it can make or break the overall look and effectiveness of your website. With this guide you can learn how to choose colours to look professional and appeal to the right people.

Often when creating a website, business owners know who their brand is aimed towards and what kind of a look they’re trying to achieve, but struggle to choose colours that will be effective in these areas.

Often colours are chosen under the belief that the more bright colours there are, the more the website will have a ‘wow factor’. Other times colours are chosen simply because it’s a favourite colour of the business owner or it’s a unique colour not seen in many other brands. This can not only be ineffective, but actually worsen your brand image.

Here are some simple steps to help you through the process of choosing a colour scheme;

1.    Know what different colours represent

Whilst nobody can predict exactly how each person will respond to a colour, certain ones often provoke a particular emotion in the viewer:

  • Red – Vibrancy, boldness, youthfulness; creates a sense of urgency, often used in food branding and sales promotions.
  • Yellow – Positivity, brightness, warmth; good at grabbing attention.
  • Orange – Friendliness, cheerfulness, playful; creates a call to action – usually to buy.
  • Green – Health, peacefulness, relaxation; has a calming effect on viewers.
  • Blue – Trustworthy, maturity, security; creates feelings of confidence.
  • Purple – Originality, creativity, ornate; suggests that presence of something unique.
  • Pink – Romantic, femininity, sensitive; a softer colour that appears in brands that focus on nurturing.
  • Grey – Neutral, balance, calmness; often used in brands of technology, a simple but timeless colour.
  • Black – Modernist, elegant, sleek; used well it can have a big impact, and is used by high-fashion companies.
  • White – Pure, clean, practicality; a good base colour that makes other colours more prominent to the viewer.

2. Cater to your audience

Choosing your colours to cater to different audiences and settings is important in making your brand relatable to that group:

  • Women; softer pastel colours often appeal to women for use in female based products and businesses. Purples, pinks, and sometimes soft yellows or oranges are usually appropriate.
  • Men; darker colours are better used when aimed at men. Colours that are more natural and rugged, such as blues, greens, and browns often work better in businesses that cater for men.
  • Children; bright primary colours such as red, yellow, and blue are able to attract the attention of children, as well as engage them. The brighter the colours, the stronger the appeal.
  • Professional; any business that is involved with handling money or important transactions should use more neutral colours such as blues, greys, and whites to show that they are trustworthy and sensible.
  • Low cost; where bargains and cheap prices are involved, bright reds and yellows draw attention towards them, and greens may also be used for its calming effect for ensuring viewers that they will be getting a good deal.
  • High-end; if your business aims to appeal to those willing to spend more money, sleek and glamorous colours such as black, purple, and sometimes pink create a modern and fashionable look.

3.   Using colour combinations

Combinations of certain colours can have a large impact on viewers, be it a good or bad one! But there are some failsafe ways to combine colours:

  • All neutral; blacks, whites, greys, and unsaturated blues work well together to create a clean and understated look, but be careful to use block white effectively.
  • Neutrals and a bright accent; one of the most effective colour combinations is to use black, grey or white with a bright pop of colour, such as red in certain areas you want to stand out more.
  • Monochrome; using several shades of the same colour is a way to mix things up but not overpower viewers with too many colours. This works best using black and white, as well as blues and greens.
  • Primary colours; a combination of two primary colours (red, blue and yellow) can create a fun and exciting appeal, as long as they aren’t used to fill large spaces. A good example of this is the ever-present McDonald’s branding.
  • Adjacent colours; if you look on a colour wheel you will see there are colours next to each other, such as blue and green, orange and red, and green and yellow. When used together, this can look very put together, especially if one of the colours is lighter or less saturated.
  • Complimentary colours; again looking at the colour wheel, colours opposite each other are known as complimentary. At the same intensities these colours appear to clash, but when one colour is made darker or less saturated it brings out the other colour. Think of the logos of companies such as Fanta or 7-eleven.

Do’s and Don’ts

  • DON’T use colours simply because they’re your favourite.
  • DON’T fill large spaces with bright, saturated colour – it strains the viewer’s eyes!
  • DON’T use too many colours, as this can look over complicated and is hard to reproduce.
  • DO use colours appropriate to your brand.
  • DO use bright colours as accents to draw attention.
  • DO use sets of colours that work well together to make your website appealing.

Thanks for reading, and I hope you have a fun time thinking about the colour scheme that will work best to promote your brand and make it recognisable.

If all of this is hurting your head and you need someone to help you to come up with a brand that is perfect for you business, then why not get in touch. We offer a range of branding services from a simple logo design to a full branding package including a wide range of printing options to get you started. You can check out some other branding work we have don in our portfolio.