One of the most challenging aspects of building a new website is picking a color scheme that makes the client happy and which appeals to consumers. While some clients are easy to please others tend to be very sensitive in regards to the colors being used on their website. In this article I would like to share some ideas and tools that address this challenge.
The significance of colors
Color is an important aspect of web design and product choice. The consistency of color with product type is critical, and colors can be used to stress all sorts of associative themes. Color scheme can mean the difference between a pleased client and a less than satisfied one.
What’s your target audience?
Color preference determines the effectiveness of a website’s presentation, which should differ depending on the target audience you have in mind. ‘Targeting audience’ is a marketing term which refers to different groups of consumers based on demographic information. Aspects like age, sex, marital status et cetera have different color preferences. Color, for instance, is a big identifier of gender. Young boys learn to like blue whereas girls tend to like pink, and these habits continue to adulthood, becoming more mixed and complicated. Knowing the color scheme that appeals to your audience is part of making it feel at home and comfortable on the website.
What impression are you trying to make?
Colors make all sorts of impressions on the average consumer’s mind. Blue can help a website to establish trustworthiness, whereas yellow signifies warning. Green is closely associated with environmental products, and orange actually encourages impulsive decisions. Purple signifies luxury and royalty as does gold. With pointers like this in mind, websites choose different color schemes in order to project associations with different favorable concepts which they find appropriate and favorable, which in turn stimulates purchasing behavior. Brands often depend on a consistent use of color, so it’s important that a company’s website continues in this tradition.
Once you have identified a basic set of colors to experiment with, the next step is to pick their exact shades and tones. It’s important that the colors you choose are well-balanced. People are not always aware that colors need to be carefully balanced and that there are actually mathematical algorithms that can indicate if a certain color combination is in harmony.
But no worries, you do not need to be a mathematician in order to take advantage of color science. There are a bunch of free online apps that will allow you to play around with different color schemes. Take a look at the descriptions of some of these below.
Paletton is by my far my favorite tool. You start by entering the base color which is the main color you would like to have on your website. It then devises a color scheme based on the type of color relationships you pick, whether monochromatic, adjacent, triads or tetrads. You can then adjust the colors while they maintain their respective relationship on the color wheel, and thus get a really good idea as to potential variations on your initial color schemes. Paletton also has a feature that allows you to simulate colorblindness deficiencies, allowing you to simulate how your color scheme will be seen by people who have colorblindness and make sure the combintation you chose is taking them into account.
Adobe Kuler is a color sandbox application. You can create color schemes and save them. Functionally, this is a dashboard app so it can be integrated into your web browser, making web updates to your color scheme really easy to do.
Pictaculous is a fun app that generates a color scheme for you based on five primary colors from a photo that you upload to the program. This process sort of takes the color scheme out of the designer’s hands (which can be a relief from time to time!), and allows for a bit more fun and experimentation.
Design Seeds can serve as a great source of inspiration
Contrast Ratio is a tool that lets you test the readability of text in different color schemes.
If you’re having difficulty figuring out a color scheme, try using some of these creative applications for some inspiration. Your colors are going to determine the way that your audience perceives your blog or business page, and color associations are quite important. At the very least, have fun playing with these applications and be creative with your web design!