When a business is not doing very well, your responsibility as the owner is to try and find out the critical reasons behind the lacking performance. The same applies to running a website – if it’s not getting the kind of traction you envision, it’s time to audit it to try and discover why it’s not performing optimally.
One aspect that most online business owners overlook when auditing their websites is color and the impact it can have on the overall performance of their business. Different colors evoke different feelings in human beings, which is why it’s important to learn how to play around with them and use that to your advantage.
What is color theory?
Put simply, color theory is the practice of leveraging the meaning and the perception that the human brain has of certain colors to arouse a sensory experience. In web design, this theory can be applied to ensure websites effectively convey the message for which they are purposed while helping users experience unique feelings whenever they are visiting these sites.
As a rule of thumb, always be deliberate with every choice of color that you use on a site. A few questions to ask yourself when choosing an appropriate color combination for a website include:
- Does this color make your audience feel good, neutral, or bad about the brand?
- Are the colors too shouting or too dull?
Using this simple practice, you should at least be able to narrow down your options or better still make your decision on the best color(s) to use on your site.
Three main groups of colors
Who would have thought some things we learned at the elementary school would be applicable in real life? For example, we cannot afford to discuss the color theory in web design without first revisiting the three main groups of colors – which are probably among the first lessons your elementary teacher taught you.
For starters, there are three primary colors namely red, blue, and yellow. These three are widely known as the base colors and essentially form the basis of all other color shades.
Then there are the secondary colors which form as a result of mixing the primary colors. Like their primary counterparts, they are three in number namely purple, orange, and green.
Finally, the tertiary colors are all other middle colors that form when primary and secondary colors are mixed. This is where the mass of the colors lies with names like blue-green, red-purple, yellow-green, and red-orange to name just a few.
How to color theory applies to web design
Let’s face it, the topic of color is quite extensive – it wouldn’t be possible to exhaust it in a single blog post. For this reason, we’ll jump straight to discuss what we think applies directly to web user interface design.
To begin with, there are three aspects of color theory we’d like to discuss briefly while also showing you how they impact web design:
All the colors we mentioned earlier come with their own shades – the reason there are millions of colors today. In the same vein, each of these shades has a set opposite that contrasts it perfectly. Learning about these contrasting sets will be key when you’re looking to balance colors on a site.
Some colors complement each other to help bring out the best. A few examples of complementary colors include Blue and Orange, Red and Green, Purple and Green, Yellow and Violet, etc.
As we mentioned earlier, every color used in web design is meant to evoke particular emotions in the mind of the user. This is exactly what vibrancy is all about. The brighter colors like yellow, red, and orange stimulate the user while darker and cooler shades like purple, green, and blue induce a relaxing feeling.
So, what next?
If you are in the process of setting up your site or have a career in web design, learning about color theory is incredibly vital. You get to understand which colors work best together, where to use contrast to highlight important elements like call-to-action buttons, and how to use colors to create a certain perception of your (or your client’s) brand in the eyes of users. And no, creating a website from scratch isn’t that difficult when you know what to do, including the color schemes to use for a distinctive brand identity. Implement the tips we shared in our post today to create a beautiful website that your visitors will love to navigate and share with others.