Color is a huge part of your brand identity and, whatever your stance on judging a book by its cover, the reality is that people are going to make snap associations and judgments about your brand based on what they see when they visit your websites. To that end, thinking critically about what you want your website colors to be is well worth your time. In order to help you make the best possible choice, here are some best practices for choosing colors for your website.
Why Color Matters
If you’re going to really commit some resources to find the right color scheme for your website, it’s probably a good idea to start with a complete understanding of the importance of color to branding.
One big reason why color is so critical is that it stands out so clearly to visitors of your website, creating associations both conscious and unconscious. Whatever colors a user sees when they navigate to your site will be how they recognize your brand moving forward, meaning that they become a part of your brand identity. After all, everybody knows McDonald’s is associated with red and yellow. It’s who they are.
Beyond that, it also bears mentioning that people have very strong emotional associations with colors, both socially constructed and inherent. Red is thought to be a passionate, intense color, yellow is bright and joyful, blue is calm and professional, and so on. Because we all speak this emotional shorthand, color becomes a powerful tool for telling a story about your brand in a fast, visual, impactful way.
How to Choose Colors
In order to come to a color scheme you’ll be happy with for your website, there are a few steps you can take.
1. Choose a Main Color
The first thing you’ll want to do is pick a central color that will become the basis of your website’s color scheme. This should be a color that feels like a good fit for your brand identity and what you want to project. The process of choosing your main color can be intuitive and something that comes from a place of feeling, or it can be more strategic.
For example, you might pick a few words that you want customers to associate with your brand and work in reverse to figure out what colors will fit them. If, for instance, you want your brand to be perceived as fresh and natural, you can choose green.
One color isn’t enough for a website, so as part of the effort to choose your website colors, you’ll have to choose a few more in addition to your main one. One thing that can tremendously help you extrapolate further colors from the first one you chose is to pick a color combination type to use.
These include analogous colors, complementary colors, and triadic colors, and they’re based on the color wheel. Analogous colors are three colors located next to each other on the color wheel like red, red-orange, and orange. Complementary colors are two colors across from one another on the color wheel like yellow and purple. And triadic colors are three colors evenly spaced across the color wheel like red, yellow, and blue.
So if your main color choice was green, you could go with green, green/blue, and green (analogous), green and red (complimentary), or green, orange, and purple (triadic). Of course, this is just a starting off point, but it can be a great shortcut for finding visually attractive color combinations.
If you want to take a bit of a less structured approach, you can always just play around with different colors until you find the ones that seem like a good fit for your company. Thankfully, there are a lot of online resources that can help you explore colors and pick out potential website colors. These include:
Ultimately, there is no singular right way to determine a color scheme for your website. Whether you take the analytical approach, follow your gut, or try a process of trial and error, the most important thing is that you ultimately settle on a set of colors that feels true and honest to what you are trying to project as a brand.
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