What’s the first thing you notice about a website when you open one of its web pages? Is it the content, or the text? Or perhaps, is it the font? The answer isn’t any of these parameters. One of the first things that leave an impact on you is the combination of colors used on the site. Website color schemes play an important role in how the site, and consequently the brand or service, is perceived by the audience and the potential customers. In this article, we’ll take a look at what website color schemes are, why they’re necessary, and how to choose the right schemes for your site.
What Is a Website Color Scheme?
A color scheme for a website essentially refers to the choice of colors used in designing the pages on the site. Website color schemes can be basic or advanced. Typically, basic color schemes use only two or three colors all over the site. Advanced website color schemes use a larger number of complementary or contrasting colors to give the web pages a uniform overall appearance. Some examples of basic color schemes are achromatic designs, which typically display a white background with black text or media on it, and monochromatic palettes, which include the use of two or three shades of a single color. In these cases, the lighter shade is generally used as the background, while the darker one is used as the color for the text. Website color schemes are often developed and described in terms of logical and appealing combinations of colors using a color wheel. With the development of web design and the advancement of web interfaces, newer palettes are being put together to for use as website color schemes. Most web development platforms come with their own set of custom color schemes, many of which are included as part of the free package. Some platforms require users to pay for using advanced website color schemes.
Is There a Need for Website Color Schemes?
To an outsider, website color schemes may seem like they need little thought put into them. However, a website designer understands the importance of choosing the right colors. To understand the necessity and the significance of website color schemes, let’s explore the reasons why they matter so much.
They Represent Your Brand
Website color schemes play a major role in how your brand is perceived by the public. Certain colors represent certain notions, and the essence of your color scheme can determine whether or not your identity is understood by the people who visit your site. Food brands, for instance, typically use bright colors like red (think KFC). Some brands use green to specifically identify themselves as vegetarian or vegan or eco-friendly. Website color schemes based on shades of blue are universally identified as corporate magnets and dependable brands. So, the color scheme on your site ultimately plays a significant role in brand recognition and makes the difference between users who skip your web pages and users who are prompted to take action.
They Act As Emotional Triggers
Website color schemes also act as tools of nonverbal communication by triggering emotional responses in people viewing the site. These responses are often involuntary and too minor to even be identified by the audience themselves. However, they play a significant role in determining how viewers react to your brand. The choice of colors can prompt people to feel good about the service you offer or encourage them to click on a link to discover more and explore further. In the same vein, certain color combinations can also make a user feel apprehensive about moving forward, and can make them exit your website instead. Ultimately, colors mold the thoughts of users and significantly impact the way they make buying decisions.
They Play a Major Role in Online Success
The colors you use on your site can be a powerful tool in determining the reaction that your target audience has on visiting your web pages. Certain colors may look right individually, but when put together with other fairly attractive hues in different website color schemes, may not seem so appealing. The key to ensuring that your website looks presentable overall and triggers the right kind of response from your target audience is to choose a palette that works well together. Viewers form subconscious judgments based on the color schemes of your site, so you’ll want to ensure that your color scheme doesn’t contradict the image that your brand stands for. Contradictory color themes can have a negative effect on your online presence.
Aside from these reasons, website colors schemes are needed because they help a set web of pages look presentable, and tie them all together under the banner of the website they belong to. Color schemes also give your brand an online identity and play a significant role in building a strong and solid customer base.
How to Choose Website Color Schemes
Given the importance of website color schemes in building a brand and improving conversions on the site, it’s essential to choose the color theme for a website correctly. Some of the most dependable brands have put a lot of effort into determining the right color palette for their websites. So, if you’re about to create a site for your company or for your personal brand, how do you go about choosing the right palette from among the various color schemes available? These tips can help you get on the right track.
Understand Your Overall Demographic
The manner in which your target audience is comprised is an important factor in deciding on the color schemes. Understand the audience you’re selling to and analyze how they’re comprised. This is important because factors like gender and age groups affect how the colors used on your site are perceived. For instance, research has shown that blue is among the top colors preferred by men, while women prefer both blue and purple significantly. So, knowing what colors your target audience has been proven to like or dislike can help you choose the right colors.
Let Go of Personal Bias
One of the major mistakes that people make when choosing website color schemes is focusing less on proven psychology and letting their personal preferences and biases seep in. For instance, if your personal favorite color is brown, it can be tempting to create a site with shades of brown as the main hues. But if your brand is a line of cosmetics, it can turn out to be a problem as brown is one of the least ideal colors for a makeup brand. Colors like pink and purple work better for cosmetics companies. So, it’s necessary to set personal preferences and individual biases aside.
Choose the Dominant Color
The dominant color is the first shade that people relate to your brand. Facebook, for instance, generally brings the trademark Facebook blue to mind. And Coca-Cola instantly triggers a memory of vibrant red. Different colors represent varying traits and characteristics. Green, for example, is associated with wealth, nature, and health. Pink can mean innocence, romance, or sweetness, and black can appear sophisticated and elegant. So, pick the primary color that best represents the core of your business, and make sure that the primary color reflects in your brand’s logo as well.
Pick the Accent Colors
Accent colors are the hues that accompany the dominant color in website color schemes. They may not be the color that’s first recalled when a brand is mentioned, but they play a subtle, yet strong role in influencing the emotions of people who visit your site. They draw attention to the important parts of your site. It’s not always essential that accent colors need to be lighter or darker versions of the primary color. The important thing to remember while choosing accent colors is that they should complement one another, and should draw attention to specific parts of the site without taking too much focus away from the main color.
Select the Background Color
The background color is what brings all the other hues in website color schemes together. It’s like a cohesive binding agent that pulls the whole look together and gives your website a personality. Background colors should feel comfortable and not be overly annoying or harsh. Typically, lighter shades make for the best background hues. Vibrant or dark colors generally don’t make for great backgrounds. The colors you choose as backgrounds are also influenced by the purpose of your site. Content and text-oriented sites are best made with white or neutral background hues. Business or corporate sites can also use lighter shades of their dominant color as background accents.
Explore a Few Options
Sure, sometimes your ideas just click and fall right into place. But in most cases, designing a website involves exploring a lot of options to determine what works and what doesn’t. Don’t stick to one particular template. Work with various ideas and try color combinations that are drastically different from one another. It helps you get a fresh perspective on things and gives you ideas you previously wouldn’t have thought of. Having a few optional templates can also help you get a third party’s opinion to see how the various website color schemes impact their responses and decisions.
By following the various guidelines laid out for designing a website and choosing the website color schemes, you can successfully create a workable website that has the right combination of colors even if you’re not intuitively great at design. After all, choosing a color theme is a kind of science, and if you play by the rules, you’ll almost always get a website that attracts your target audience.