No one can deny that brands rely heavily on colour to stand out. If we were to pick any brand it is likely you will remember the dominant colours of it; red and yellow for McDonalds, red for Coca Cola or blue for Facebook. Not only can colours help us remember a brand, it can change our mood, alter our perception and help us make sense of the world. When it comes to web-design it probably does all of the above and we are not even aware of it. Let’s find out how.
Colour and its 3 Cs – Choice, Contrast, Chroma
Obviously, one of the first things we do with colour is ‘choose’ which one to go with. The choice of colour cannot be arbitrary. Is it the brand colour? Is there some psychological trick at play? And if we choose one particular colour, how can we decide which other colour goes with it? Well, the first two questions will be answered in due time, but for the last one, you can simply refer to the colour wheel and find its complementary colour. The complementary colours have a proven track record of not clashing with your first colour of choice.Then you can dial up the difference in the colours (complementary or dark and light) to get the appropriate contrast, where the difference between two colours help each other stand out more.
Additionally, the choice may have psychological undertones, like red is perceived to be exciting, blue calming etc. But what scientists have also discovered is that Chroma i.e. the purity and intensity of colour may play a bigger role than the choice. So as long as your blues or reds or yellows are not dull, you will still get the attention from the audience you are targeting.
Colours have personality?
Do colours have personality or do we give it to them can be a much deeper debate, but what we do predict is that colour can influence our mood and we tend to associate it with certain feelings or abstract constructs. Lots of institutions, banks use the colour blue for its associations with credibility and trust. Red invokes the feeling of excitement, danger or love. Yellow, captures the audience’s attention immediately and Black stands for luxury or tradition. Brands feed off these colour’s traits to reinforce their experience on the web. In fact, research also shows that men have a preference for blue, green and black , while women prefer blue, green and purple. Women don’t like orange, brown and grey while men don’t love orange, brown and purple. When you design for the web, think of the audience’s preferences, it’s not just about how ‘awesome’ it looks, but whether you can make them like you enough to convert into sales.
Apart from enhancing or reinforcing the branding, colour can also play an important role in navigation. They can play an important in role in micro interactions like highlighting on hovering or changing categories on the site amongst many others. It makes getting around the site and understanding where one is much easier. In fact, Google’s Material Design also propagates the use of a suitable colour scheme for site usability.
Colour can bring it all together
Lastly, colour can represent your brand on all pages without any text needing to be there. Along with the help of other secondary colours in the brand colour scheme, colour can bring it all together and make all the pages seem different but connected.
Don’t just leave it to the web-designer to determine all the colours in your web-site. Look for opportunities to enhance the brand experience using colour and see how it affects your audiences’ behaviour. The GR Imagine graphics team follows these guidelines for each of their website design and knows that the world would be boring in black and white. But sometimes even that can work!