Design Resources: Best Colors for Websites
Color plays a pivotal role in a website's impact, and as such must be carefully considered. This is especially crucial when the site in question is used for business/professional purposes.
Before delving into the specifics of color selection for professional sites, here are a few general rules for color usage in websites:
- Don't use yellow for web page backgrounds - it causes eyestrain
- Avoid black backgrounds - these essentially limit text color choice to white and yellow, which can look garish and hard on the eyes against black
- If in doubt, use black text on white background - while not very original, this color combination ensures optimal readability. In any case, choose a text color that constrasts with your background; this is usually best achieved with dark text on a light background.
- Choose from the 216 "browser-safe" colors (links to examples on the right menu) If you stray outside these standard colors, your website colors may be distorted on some users' systems.
- Use contrasting elements in your pages to make text and graphics feel more dynamic and easier to read on the page. If you opt for a colored background or colored type, be sure that there's enough contrast to keep your page easy to read. It's best to check it out with text your unfamiliar with so that you don't mistake familiarity with readability.
Colors that SELL!
Color is a big deal to people. Scientists say we are one of the few creatures that sees color and it was critical to our ancestors' survival.
Color works great in marketing. There are lots of theories and opinions about what works best. Many say Blue lends a feeling of quality and trust. Red makes people want to act, now! Green makes people want to spend money (I'm a little suspicious of this one, but some marketers swear it's true). Yellow tends to get attention better than any other color, but is hard on the eyes. Designers use Yellow to spice up a headline or product name, but put the rest of the ad or package in warmer colors. One study showed that the color combination with the most powerful psychological effect was yellow title, white text, on a dark blue background. Create an identity through all your marketing and products with one or two colors you use over and over.
This is a very basic and effective way to tie all your stuff together in the minds of customers.
Color Moods. Associations with common colors
Red (hot, fire, daring, error, stop, persuasive)
Yellow (sunny, caution, construction, happy, cheerful, slowdown)
Green (jealousy, pastoral, envy, beginner, fertile, spring)
Blue (quality, trustworthiness, success, seriousness, calmness, water, peaceful, sad, male)
Purple (royal, comedy)
Orange (technical, warm, Halloween, fall, seasons)
Pink (feminine, cute, candy, soft)
Brown (warn, dirty, fall, organic, earth, environmental)
Other Areas of Relevance
- Web Safe Colors by Hue
- Web Safe Colors by Value
- Color Harmonizer
- Visibone Color Lab
- Color Schemer
More on Color
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