Color is the primary and determining factor around which most other design elements will be decided. Focusing on color for website design is the primary way to set the mood for any site. Color is obviously linked to emotion, culture, and theme.
Usually, there is a main color that web designers choose for the background, a separate color used for where main content goes, and a third color for text, along with other colors that are compatible. The text color and differentiation can decide how the website is perceived.
This will really impact the readability of the site and can change the consumer interest. Having a different color for website text versus the color for the main and sub backgrounds will impact the appeal and the theme of the website. For example, if the text on YouTube was entirely red, it would change the feel of the site entirely. The addition of white or black accents changes the theme of the site.
The theme of the website is important for how people view what is being advertised or proposed on the site. It is decided by the emotion of the page, which in turn is mostly created by the effective use of color for website design.
What we would normally connect to certain colors may not be enough what will exactly fit a desired theme, so it isn’t enough to decide what to pick. For example, the blue and white colors that Facebook uses don’t seem like they’d go along with the heated debate style that many people use on Facebook. That would be expected from the color red, not blue and white. But blue and white are cohesive with the rest of the what the site does, so the colors fit.
Popularity of color is an important factor as well. Many frequently used sites are blue, which is many people's favorite color. Different shades of blue can pull up different emotions, but blue in general is soothing to the eye, helps draw focus, and exudes a calming sense.
Unfortunately, due to its popularity, it may not help a website to stand out from others. Red, also, is popular. It is a strong color that allows sites to pop, especially with the among of blue websites that already exist. It is also the most often contrasted color with blue – think Pepsi versus Coke – and because of this, many sites and apps are also already red. Pinterest, reddit, and YouTube all feed off this.
Recently, to break out of this pattern, sites have been using other color for website design . Snapchat uses yellow, Vine used green. These can help sites stand out as well by being uniquely identifiable. It also helps people remember who you are and what you do
Color combinations can also be tricky. We mostly see meanings and representation connected with combinations of patterns and colors. Homosexual and queer community flags are associated with specific colors and patterns, for example. The decision to use a similar pattern or color combination can create association or a distance from certain communities when used in color for website design, and this community-specific color typing can also change who uses or who views the site.
The decision of whether or not to include photographs or thematic images, either as a background or as the main focus of the webpage, also creates a combination concern. Many webpages include a photograph header, but this also has to work with the theme and color palate of the page while being able to fit in appropriately with the text.
On top of all this, most site designs are also accommodating for mobile platforms. This likely will not have to change the color for website design much, but a lot less of the screen will be usable. Because of this, everything has to be able to be condensed into shorter and smaller areas and be able to still meet with picture necessities, readability, and accessibility.
This is especially difficult as very recently websites have been making an effort to include a “dark mode” setting. This changes the view of the site for easier viewing in low-light settings to reduce the light given off by the site. Colors and themes will have to match with both a light and dark theme.
Once you decide on a main theme for the website, think of colors that can match that idea, and think of how users will engage with the site. This can help make the important decision of what works best for your web design. If you are interested in creating your own website, click here for a resource to start designing your own!