You can develop a website with all of the right structural elements, but at the end of the day, it needs to be attractive enough to warrant attention and drive conversions. One of the top ways to "finish off" a website is to be strategic about the colors you choose. In order to understand the importance of a website's color scheme, let's use an analogy of a house. The most important elements are things like the foundation, framing, windows, doors, and roof. These are the components that hold the structure together and keep inhabitants safe and secure. But nobody wants to live in a home that has exposed studs, unfinished walls, and uncovered pipes. It's the decorations, finishing materials, and paint that complete the look. The same could be said of your website. From a developmental perspective, the color scheme isn't the most important component of the site. In fact, it doesn't even crack the top ten. But when it comes to making your website aesthetically pleasing to visitors, color plays a significant role.
3 Tips for Nailing the Color Scheme
Here are some tips to help you get it right:
1. Draw Attention to Specific Elements
In color theory, there are three core principles. There's complementation, contrast, and vibrancy. When you look at the purpose of good web design - to increase conversions - the concept of contrast becomes very important. It serves as a signpost of sorts and draws a visitor's attention towards specific elements. "Think about highlighting a textbook: when you want to draw your attention to a specific portion of the page, you make the surrounding area look different than the rest of the text," web designer Thomas Cannon says. "The same principle applies to Web Design: Using a variety of contrasting colors can help focus the viewer's attention on specific page elements." For an example of what contrast looks like in action, check out the StarNamer homepage. Notice how all of the calls-to-action are bolded in a yellow/gold color while the rest of the page consists of darker purples, blacks, and white.
2. Ignite Emotional Responses
Different colors ignite different emotional responses in people. For example, red makes people feel passionate and aggressive. Yellow is associated with friendliness, happiness, and caution. Green makes people feel stable and prosperous. Blue is equated with peacefulness and relaxation. Every color ignites unique emotions in people and it's important that you choose the right color scheme based on how you want website visitors to feel. For example, you wouldn't want to use reds and yellows if your goal is to establish trust with your visitors and make them feel relaxed. Instead, you'd want to go with greens and blues.
3. Rely on Negative Space
Interestingly, one of the keys to creating the perfect color scheme in today's web design industry is to rely on white - i.e. the perceived absence of color. Too much color will actually overwhelm your visitors. So, instead of trying to fill every pixel with different colors and elements, you can let people breathe a bit by incorporating white space, also known as negative space, into the layout. The Built by Buffalo homepage is a great example of how white space makes the underlying color scheme more effective.
Use Color to Finish Off Your Site
You don't need to have a degree in color theory or be an artist to make effective use of color. All it takes is a good eye, some intuition, and an understanding of how different colors move people to action. Once you understand these basics, you can give your website the boost it needs.