Choosing website colours

13 October 2014

You might have all the right words in all the right places, but those may not be the only things delivering a message on your website. Besides overall design, the first aspect that visitors encounter and associate with your business is actually your colour palette.

So, if you've never thought about what your colour choices are saying for you, take a look at this blog post.

Choosing the proper colours for a business website is an important part of the branding and marketing process. These colours will be seen on packaging, logos and other forms of marketing to help convey a general impression to potential customers.

Overall, here is what colours mean in marketing and psychology:

  • White: Pure, clean, simple.
  • Black: Sleek, formal, serious, dark.
  • Red: Bold, assertive, dangerous, passionate, tasty.
  • Blue: Dependable, stable, serene, trustworthy.
  • Yellow: Happy, intelligent, warm.
  • Gold: Expensive, luxurious.
  • Brown: Cheap, inexpensive, natural.
  • Green: Wealth, fresh, environmental.
  • Orange: Warm, encouraging, appetising.
  • Purple: Royalty, mystery, creativity.

The short list above is only the beginning of the feelings these colours can help portray, and it also varies for different shades. For example a really pale yellow or green might actually portray sickness, while a light red or pink will be associated with something feminine or girly.

Some ideas

For the same reason it is a common idea to wear blue to court, law firms might find the colour blue beneficial to portraying a trustworthy persona on its website. A luxury jewellery website will want to include gold into its design and perhaps black for that sleek effect.

Websites dealing with eco-friendly products should think to include greens and browns, while sites dealing with food should include orange (stimulates appetite) or red (tasty).

Don't forget basic websites and marketing practises

Target age/mindset - Think about the age and mindset of people visiting your website. Children and teens generally enjoy brighter colours, while adults lean towards subdued tones. People in a desperate or excitable situation may also react to bold and bright colours, but those in a more composed, professional and calm state may prefer light tones.

Readability - Make sure you are also thinking about the readability of the text on your website. You may have chosen a spectacular colour palette, but if nobody can read the words, you will have problems. Different shades of the same colour for both the text and background strains the eyes, as does extremely bright neon text on a black background. People will not want to stick around on your website if their eyes hurt.

Cultural differences - Colours have different meanings amongst cultures, so if you are selling a product or service to a culture other than your own, it will be a huge benefit to take your colour choices into consideration. Here are a few interesting differences to not overlook.

  • Red: Purity (India), brides (Eastern), Communism (Russia)
  • Yellow: Mourning (Egypt), merchants (India), nourishing (China)
  • White: Funerals (Eastern), health (Western), weddings (Western)
  • Green: Islam (India)
  • Pink: Trust (Korea)
Choosing the palette

After thinking about the colours that would best suit your website, have a look at colorcombos.com for help with choosing the perfect palette. Here, you can view preset combinations, create your own or even type in a URL to grab the colours already on another website.

It's hard to believe that choosing the right colours can have such a huge impact on your web marketing attempts, but it appears that perhaps colours speak louder than words.

Choosing website colours
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