How to Use Colors in Web Design

Remarkable websites for remarkable brands.
Andrej Hribernik
I
June 29, 2020

When it comes to colors and web designs, this is something that one should not take too lightly. Colors play a very vital role and emotionally appeal to users. If the web design shows good color combinations and makes the overall page looks aesthetic, that’s exactly how the viewer will perceive your products and services too, but if the web design has colors which clash, then chances are he or she will switch to another site.

In this article, we will describe how to use colors in web designs and what is the whole psychology of colors behind it. 

So, let us get on with it!

THE FIRST STEP: ATTRIBUTES OF THE BRAND

Now, if there is a web designing project in your hand, the first and foremost step would be to decide the color combinations and color scheme from the color palette. The first step in choosing a color palette depends on whether you are web designing for an existing brand or a completely new brand. If you are working on an already existing brand, then you might have restrictions in choosing the colors. 

However, even starting from scratch can be very overwhelming as it is hard to understand which color represents what. So, in this case, the first step should be to determine what each color represents. To understand the attributes of the brand, you can ask the client to list some attributes associated with the brand. This will help you in deciding the color scheme as each color speaks for itself. Which takes us to our next step, which is understanding the psychology of the colors. 

THE SECOND STEP: UNDERSTANDING THE PSYCHOLOGY OF COLORS

A brand’s color will have a great impact on its audience, so it should not be on the likeness of your taste. The brand web design and the color scheme should all be chosen for the audience, and their likeness and taste should be the first priority.  It is important to remember that choosing color is not for the sake of visual appeal, but certain colors tend to evoke different emotions among people. 

Now let us take a look at what different colors interpret:

White: when we think of the color white, we think of something pure and clean. And that is exactly what it interprets; Purity, elegance, and cleanliness. 

Black: When we think of the color black, we think of something which is tough and powerful, and this is exactly what it interprets; power, strength, elegance, and innovativeness. 

Gray: Gray interprets luxuries and modernity

Green: When we think of green, sustainability and eco-friendliness come to our mind. And this is what it means; cleanliness, nature. It also majorly depends on the shades of green on what it interprets. 

Blue: Blue basically shows sadness or calm, trust, or reliability. 

Purple: When we talk about purple, it interprets, luxury, royalty, and creativity.

Red: Red gives a sense of love, anger, or danger. However, if we talk about maroon or a darker shade of red, it interprets elegance. 

STEP THREE: UNDERSTANDING THE TERMS OF COLORS

Now when we are speaking of colors, we should also know what different terms mean and how they look. Now, a pure color might not be able to fit our needs, that is why we have some tools through which we can slightly change the colors so that they can fit our needs. 

So, coming back on the terms:

  • Value means to either make the color darker or lighter. 
  • Hue means the exact same color
  • Saturation, also known as chroma, is when there are no signs of grays, and it is in its pure form. 

Now the whole point of understanding the above-mentioned terminologies is that by using these three tools, we can easily create many different shades and versions of normal colors, all to fit in the profile we need. 

So, when we create new versions, we come to know of other different terms.

  • Tint is when you add lots of white in the original color.
  • Tone is when you add lots of gray in the color.
  • Shade is when you add lots of black in the hue. 

STEP FOUR: TIME TO CHOOSE THE COLOR PALETTE

Okay, so, before we begin the fourth step, let us summarize what we have just learned. So, the first step is to jot down the attributes associated with the brand. The next step is to choose colors that reflect those attributes, and the third step is to change or manipulate the color according to your needs. 

Okay, now comes the fourth step, which is to decide on a color scheme or palette for the web design. So, once you have decided the color in the second step, we will use it as the base color and then compare and contrast with other colors to see which looks best. In order to decide the matching colors, one has to follow through some color rules. All these rules are associated with the color wheel or the Chromatic circle. This is very easy to use and an amazing tool to come up and decide different colors with the base colors and create a color palette. 

Complimentary Colors

First up is Complimentary Colors. These colors are on opposite sides of the color wheel. It can be top or bottom, left, or right. 

Analogous Colors

These colors are those colors which are beside each other or next to each other. 

Triadic Colors

These colors are those colors which together form three points and make an equilateral triangle on the color wheel. 

Square Colors

As the name suggests, these colors are those colors that form a square by forming four points on the color wheel. 

Split-Complimentary Colors

These colors are all selected by choosing the colors adjacent to the base color. 

Apart from these, more color combinations can be created by forming geometrical shapes on the color wheel, like a pentagon, etc. 

One thing to keep in mind when making a color palette is that you do not have to only outline the hues. You have to work on the saturation and value of the colors to make a palette that is tuneful. On the other hand, if you do not do that, then the colors will literally vibrate with one another; in other words, clash. We can understand this better by thinking of two colors, which together just create a disturbing vibe and clash with each other. This is because these colors are on the opposite ends and have an equal level of saturation.

Examples can be hue green with hue red or an orange background with the same level of saturation blue on it. 

Now comes the step where you have decided the main color as well as some related colors, and you want to choose a strategy through which you will apply it on the web page. 

WHICH COLOR?

It is essential to remember that in order to have an appealing color scheme, your palette must have a dark shade to balance off with a light shade. Why do people love the combination of black and white? Because one is light and one is dark, and both together complement each other. Other than that, having a light and dark color is important because you need a color for a background and a color for the text as well. An important thing to remember is that not all colors should be sharp, as some have to be the base colors for the background. 

Tip: Use neutral colors. As they are elegant and easy to use

HOW MANY COLORS?

You must be wondering how many colors should the color palette must-have? Well, there is no specific answer to that. You can choose as many colors as you want. But an important tip to remember is that implementing larger color palettes can be a very hard task. Once a brand color scheme is decided, it has to stay consistent with that, but with a larger color palette, it can be hard to stay consistent. If you are a beginner, then keeping things simple is what we would suggest. 

Now suppose you choose blue as the main color, the complementary palette can look something like a White, Black, Light Blue, Dark Blue, and Mustard. Now, how to use them in web design?

White: You can use white as the background. You can use other neutrals like gray for the background. Any light color is fit for being the background. 

Black: Black can be used for the text. As it will be contrasting and visible. 

Light Blue: This color can be amazing for hyperlinks or small texts or quotes which you want the viewers to read. 

Blue: Now comes Blue. Not to forget, blue is your main color, so this color will be used a lot as it will also set and balance out the tone. You can use this color for graphs, buttons, etc.

Mustard: This color is to add contrast to your overall color scheme. By adding this color here and there, you can give your design a new vibrant look. 

And voila! Once you have understood all the steps, you are ready to use colors in your web design. 

Happy designing!  





WRITTEN BY
Andrej Hribernik
A freelance web designer and developer, working with big and small companies who want to build remarkable web presence with a remarkable brand. You can find him at www.andrejthefreelancer.com.

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