The Importance of Website Colors
It is a proven fact that color affects our moods and thoughts, making color extremely important in a website’s design. Certain colors will have different meanings, depending on whom you talk to, but when researched and used well, various color combinations can help increase a visitor’s interest in a website.
How Colors Affect our Moods
A very basic definition of color psychology might be “the study of how colors affect human emotions.” We can then specify how certain color combinations on a website might affect the moods of its visitors.
While people perceive the meanings of certain colors based on their culture, nationality, and personal history, some colors universally evoke particular moods or emotional responses. For instance, PepFX.com (http://www.pepfx.com/articles/web_design/webdesign_colors.php) suggests some possible associations:
- Red – strength, excitement
- Orange – cheerfulness, creativity
- Yellow – comfort, energy
- Green – reliability, freshness
- Blue – stability, honor
- Purple – power, magic
- Black – formality, mystery
- White – purity, simplicity
Again, these are not “cut-and-dry” color associations, but potential concepts that most people would likely think of when viewing that color. There will always be different viewpoints.
Use Color to Keep Visitor Interest
Most web designers want visitors to stay on their sites for a reasonable amount of time, especially if it’s a business web site, but no visitor is going to stay there forever – he will eventually click to another site or log off. Therefore, the trick is to make the site so inviting that the visitor wants to see more. This is where the smart use of color can help.
Most folks would probably agree that reading black text on a plain white background, while easy to read, is monumentally boring. Therefore, if you spruce up your website using an interesting and inviting color palette (combination), you are more apt to enjoy longer visits from more potential fans/followers/clients.
The theme of your website should be your first clue to choosing appropriate colors, such as a specific holiday, the outdoors, or a sports team’s official colors. On the color wheel (http://www.worqx.com/color/color_wheel.htm), most people enjoy analogous colors (close together), while others like complementary colors (opposite). Focusing on your target audience and your subject, plus being aware of color psychology will help you decide what colors you want on your site.
Remember, most people go to websites to get information, or perhaps read or enjoy a game, not to have their senses assaulted. If “edgy,” “amusing,” or “unconventional” are good descriptors of your website’s subject, use them in your words, not your web design.
Choose a Color Combo
It’s not hard to create a simple, yet pleasing color combination by choosing three to five colors that look good together. According to Colorcombos.com (http://www.colorcombos.com/color-theory-article.html), you can have one for your background (or something pale if white just doesn’t cut it), your main text (although black is usually a safe bet), your logo/titles/subtitles, and possibly your text links or a special item that you want to highlight.
Having less than three colors may be easy, but it may not help inspire folks to further investigate your site. More than five or six colors may cause confusion and anxiety. If you’d like to research more about color combinations, color associations, and potential website visitors, go to Avangate.com (http://www.avangate.com/articles/color-web-site_59.htm).
Psychologists have proven that color affects our moods, so do not take website color design lightly. After creating content that is easy to read, see what colors fit your subject and your audience, and try some combinations. Get one your visitors like, and they will likely want to see more.
James Flaherty is a blogger, small business owner and avid gamer. He believes everyone should try computer games at least once, even your grandmother. A great place to start is with free game downloads, like 18 Wheels of Steel.