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  • Writer's pictureMichael Marshall

Colour and Web Design and where the two meet

My passion for design and the way it speaks to our emotional selves is huge part of what informs my work. Design is made of many constituent parts, but one of the most impactful and immediately obvious is colour.

A colourful abstract design that conveys a range of emotions
Colour is an instinctive stimulus that excites the most innate and ancient parts of our psyche and subconscious

Colour plays a crucial role in web design as it can impact the user's perception of a website, affect their emotions, and influence their behavior. A well-chosen color palette can help a business to create a brand identity, evoke certain feelings and emotions, and convey important messages.

Think about brands that want you to BUY NOW - they are all red... Coca-Cola, KFC, Mcdonalds - they use RED to stimulate that part of your brain that says "ACT NOW HUMAN! The fruit is ripe, the emotions are high, the energy is present". In contrast brands that use the colour blue want you to feel relaxed, like an ancient human might have felt while lying on their backs staring into the sky on a warm and peaceful day. Brands that use the colour green wants to convey a sense of wealth and abundance and so they choose a colour that is associated with the end of winter and the arrival of new life and fruitful gains. This is why fast food brands use red, financial advisors and investment funds often use green and banks and insurance companies love to the colour blue.

The psychological impacts of colours on the human mind are a well documented phenomenon and the use of colour in brand design is often informed by these theories.

When it comes to choosing the right color palette for a website, there are a few things that business owners should consider:

  1. Brand Identity: The color palette should align with the brand identity of the business. If the business has a logo, the colors used in the logo should be incorporated into the website's color scheme. This will help to create a cohesive and recognizable brand identity.

  2. Target Audience: The color palette should be chosen with the target audience in mind. Different colors can evoke different emotions and have different cultural meanings. For example, if the business is targeting a younger audience, brighter and more vibrant colors may be more effective, whereas a more subdued palette may be more appropriate for a more mature audience.

  3. Contrast: The color palette should have good contrast to ensure that text is legible and the website is easy to navigate. Colors that are too similar can be difficult to distinguish, leading to a poor user experience.

  4. Accessibility: It's important to choose colors that are accessible for all users, including those with color blindness or other visual impairments. This can be achieved by using color contrast tools or by using colors that are widely recognized as being accessible.

  5. Trends: While it's important to stay up to date with current design trends, it's also important to choose a color palette that will stand the test of time. A website that is too trendy may quickly become outdated and need to be updated, which can be costly and time-consuming.

These days colours and colour palettes go through waves of changes as trends evolve and develop. From around 2014 to 2019 Gradients were all the rage online. All the hippest brands used colour gradients in their branding and on their websites. From 2020 to now we are seeing a influx of new generation using very vibrant, yet flat bold colours with a high contrast.

A website design using a gradient colour palette
From 2014 to 2019 gradient designs were 'in". This trend corresponded with the development of updates to the CSS programming language which made these colours possible on websites using code.

A website design using very bold, very flat colours
Since 2019 we have seen an increasing number of sites using this kind "flat and bold" approach to colour palettes.

In summary, choosing the right color palette for a website involves considering the brand identity, target audience, contrast, accessibility, and trends. By carefully selecting a color palette that aligns with these factors, a business owner can create a website that is both visually appealing and effective at conveying their message to their target audience.

At Marshall Arts we are passionate about the use of colour (or the lack thereof!) in our work. As content marketers we are deeply rooted in our passion for design. I hope that this short article gave you some insights into the way that colour influences your customers impression of your brand and how choosing the right colors for your brand can affect the success of your website. Of course, this is a huge subject and we have only skimmed the surface of the conversation. Is there some element of colour that you'd like us to write about in future or perhaps is there a question that's on your mind now that you know what you know. Let us know your thoughts, questions and comments below and as always, if you enjoyed this post, why not subscribe to our site so that you can get first notice when we publish new insights and articles.


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