Colour is a vital way of communicating and conveying the ‘feeling’ and messaging of a website. Different colours and colour combinations influence the mind in different ways, and you should be using this to your advantage to sway your audience towards your brand and offering.
There’s a reason Dell use blue hues: it’s to communicate trust and dependability. Nickelodeon use orange: it’s to communicate their friendly and cheerful approach. Coca-Cola is red: bold and youthful. Cadbury use purple: it’s to display luxury and imagination. Google and Ebay are multicoloured: they want to show creative diversity and a certain generalism.
Different colours instantly associate an emotion or feeling to your website, and as such your online presence should back up the personality you are trying to give your wider brand and content.
Are you trying to stand out and be bold, or are you looking to reassure and exude a calm confidence? Your colour choices should reflect the ambition of your site and the desires of your intended user base.
Display Wizard stands have a brand colour tool that helps you quickly understand your most appropriate colour through a series of questions, and provides HEX colour values for a variety of shades and tones to get you started.
Colours to choose and avoid
While blue and green seem universally popular, research by Joe Hallock indicated that the least favoured colours are orange, brown, purple, yellow and grey but that preference can vary significantly between gender groups. Purple is the least favourite colour for 22% of tested men, while it’s the favourite for 23% of women!
Also an interesting infographic by KissMetrics suggests that men prefer bright colours and shades (colours with black added), while women prefer softer colours/tints (colours with white added). Understand your intended website audience and choose your colours appropriately!
There are are number of useful tools, in addition to the brand colour selector mentioned earlier, that can help you hone in on the ideal colour for your web presence and ensure it’s web standards compliant.
HailPixel Colour is a simple tool: just move around the screen to change the colour until you find the ones you like best, and compare them side-by-side in a palette.
Adobe Colour CC enables you to create excellent five-colour schemes while tinkering with a lot of variables until you get it ‘just so’.
Check My Colours is essential for any web designer, as it allows you to check the suitability of your colour choices against W3C standards and accepted contrast ratios.
If you want to play around for hours with different colour combinations, libraries, palettes and matching algorithms, try Colour Explorer. Although don’t be surprised if you spend an hour just playing without any real output!