The importance of colour in website design

When designing for the web, colour is one of the most important things to get right.  We are all affected by colour on a sub-conscious level and make decisions and conclusions based on the colours used in a design.

For instance, it is thought that green is often used to evoke a ‘natural and wholesome’ feel.  These are colours often associated with the outdoors and are used commonly for sites connected with nature, farming, food and outdoor leisure.  Lighter Green is associated with spring and growth so it is a great colour to use to promote feelings associated with optimism and freshness.  Organic food producers Abel & Cole use green a lot on their website.

Blue is thought to be a colour associated with trustworthiness and expertise and is often associated with coolness.  A choice of colour often used by professionals such as accountants and solicitors who are looking to give an impression of reliability and authority.  Bodies such as the NHS and the CMA make extensive use of blue on their websites.

Yellow is a colour often associated with fun and sunshine and is an energising colour.  Sites using yellow often show a less serious, more playful character and it is a choice often associated with web designers.  In contrast, subtler shades of yellow can be used to suggest antiquity and a more vintage feel to a site.

Grey is often associated with elegance and sophistication and can therefore often be found used in sites which are selling luxury, high end and niche products.  It gives sites a very modern and contemporary feel. uses a lot of grey.  For a simplistic, stripped back look to a site which allows high quality products to take centre stage, grey is a good choice of colour.

Browns, beiges and creams are colours which have a natural, warm and homely feel.  Great for producers of wholesome food products or anywhere where you want to promote a feeling of comfort and reassurance.  Think coffee, bread, cakes, wood panelling and earth.

Pink is often a colour associated with fun and romance, it is playful and light pinks are associated with youth and innocence.  Without wanting to reinforce colour stereotypes, there are many examples of usage of predominantly pink colour schemes for sites which have products aimed mainly at women and girls!

Moving away from the dominant colour scheme of a website, of equal, or possibly greater importance is the use of colour to create contrast for drawing attention to specific areas of a page.  Call to action buttons/sign-ups/download buttons/navigation are all areas where contrast is helpful. Primary colours are great attention grabbers and can be used effectively in contrast with other colours to draw attention.  Contrast enables a designer to direct users to those areas of the site which are important and, from a marketing perspective help to lead users through the site and through the sales funnel.

Far from being an afterthought, paying attention to colour can have a great impact on the success of a website.  If you are thinking of updating your website, contact us for a free design overview - we’d be glad to help