Color Theory Fundamentals for Web Design
As you get ready to design your website, you will be faced with the decision to choose colors that your customers will see. It is important that your customers are engaged by the colors you choose and you want to evoke a good feeling within them. If you simply choose two or three colors and put them together without any rhyme or reason, you may actually signal the wrong message.
Studies have shown that customers are more likely to navigate away from a website based on the aesthetics of it. This means that if the website it poorly designed in function and color, customers will leave and go to a different website.
Before you panic, we will cover many of the basics to help you choose the right colors and pairs of colors for your website.
How Does Color Affect the Success of Web Design?
Colors affect the success of web design in a couple of different ways. Studies have shown that consumers leave websites that do not appeal visually to them and studies have also shown that customers will make a purchasing decision based on the color of a product alone.
This means that customers’ behaviors are influenced by the colors they see. If you have a time-sensitive product that needs to sell, you need to create that sense of urgency to the customer and colors can help you do that.
One of the good things about colors is that your customer does not have to actively think about what emotion coincides with the color. In fact, this is done in your subconscious.
Okay, let’s take a look at some color basics to help you better understand how colors affect your website, sales, and customers’ habits.
Basics of Colors for Starters
If you have never worked with colors before, you are in for a treat. You should take some time to play around with the colors and blend different shades together to see how they work and look when combined.
Once you have a good grasp on it, you should start to think about a color scheme for your website. For example, you want to choose a dominant color that will be the main color for your website. Often times, people will choose a color that represents what the brand is about of a color that signals to the brand. For instance, if the brand has to do with nature, you may choose green as your base dominant color.
Once you have that base color, you want to avoid simply adding other colors to it because you may end up with a mess of colors that each overpower each other. The next step in the process is to look at the different color schemes to help enhance and add to the base color you chose.
Color Harmonies and Their Schemes
There are a number of color schemes and color harmonies that blend together on the color wheel and each level of the scheme matches together different colors to provide you with the best match.
1. Complementary ColorsComplementary colors are those colors, when looking at the color wheel, appear opposite of each other. These colors have a high contrast. Both colors look vibrant when side by side, but when combined, they create a grey scale color.
2. Analogous ColorsAnalogous colors are those colors that reside next to each other when you look at the color wheel. This means that you could use a shade of green, one shade lighter green, and a light shade of blue. These colors best relate to what would be found around us in nature and are not as opposite and vibrant as complementary colors.
3. Triadic ColorsThe triadic colors use colors that are spaced out evenly on the color wheel. Therefore, if you make a triangle on the color wheel, these are the colors you would choose. For example, orange, green, and purple, as this is where the triangle points would fall. The colors in the triadic scheme are often vibrant when together, but they balance each other out nicely.
4. Split-Complementary ColorsSplit-complementary colors are similar to the traditional complementary scheme, but they are a bit different. In this scheme, it uses your base color and then the two colors that are adjacent to that base color. For example, if the base color is green, the two adjacent colors are pink and orange. This color scheme produces vibrant colors that contrast nicely with one another.
5. Square ColorsThe square color scheme uses four colors that are evenly spaced. Similar to the triadic scheme, you would create a square on the color wheel and use the four colors at the points. Therefore, a square could yield the colors red, blue, green, and yellow. The best way for the square color scheme to work is if you allow one of the colors to be dominant in the group.
Your “Call to Action” Button and Its Color
The call to action button is an important button on your website because it urges your customer to do something whether it is to receive a quote or call your company. Since we have discussed colors, it is important to understand that call to action needs to be in a specific color too. If you simply have a call to action that blends in with the color of your website, people will skip over it. You need your call to action to stick out, pack a punch, and do what it was intended to do.
Red Call to ActionRed is one of the most commonly chosen call-to-action button colors for a number of reasons. Red stands out and it creates a sense of urgency that the customer needs to take. This then leads the customer to follow through with that action whether it is receiving a FREE quote or purchasing a small e-book. Customers are drawn to the color red on a website and studies have revealed that more conversions take place when there is a red button.
Orange Call to ActionOrange is a good call to action color because it is warm and it will encourage your customers to click it. In fact, people who feel warmed by the color will take action and then proceed to do what the call to action wants them to. Studies have shown that orange call to actions increase conversion rates too.
When you have a customer who feels happy, they will make a purchase, and the happier they feel, the more they purchase.
Blue Call to ActionBlue is another good option for a call to action button because hyperlinks are often blue and this will lead your customer right to where you want them. Many customers will like on a blue link because they know it takes them to a new webpage. Choosing blue as your call to action button will also create a sense of calm and help keep your customer relaxed, so they do not feel rushed or there is no sense of urgency.
While those are three of the best call to action colors, there are three that you want to avoid at all costs and those colors are white, black, and brown.
How to Use Negative Space to Your AdvantageNegative space is not always a bad thing when it comes to your website and you should utilize it. While negative space is good, it can be difficult to mesh it together with your website in a way that looks appropriate and beautiful. Many people struggle with this and end up with too much space without information on it or too much information without any spacing.
Negative space is the white space around the content on your website. This space is not always white and can be any color. This space is important on your website because it keeps your media, text, and links separated and it helps to guide your customers’ eyes right where you want them to go.
When it comes down to the negative space on your website, you should choose a color scheme and then use complementary colors to color in the negative space. This way, you have your base color, secondary colors, and tertiary colors and they all match.
On a final note, you do not want to simply choose colors for your website color scheme because you think they look good together. In fact, this can turn customers away, especially if they do not feel the same way. You need to have a balance of vibrant colors and soft colors.
Remember, if your website is mashed full of information, blinding colors, and links, people will leave your site and look for one that is aesthetically pleasing to their eye and does not cause them confusion.