Any time you are tapped to design a website for a business, whether it is burgeoning or already established, one of the first things that you will have to consider is the color scheme. As you probably already know, color is a lot more than a visual aspect – it is something that also affects the emotions.
So before deciding on a color scheme for the business site that you are building, take a look at this rundown of what these colors mean in business, and which colors you should be gravitating towards in order to represent your clients aptly through your planned visual design work.
Go Safe with Blue
Blue is probably the most used color in the entire business world, and is therefore also very prominent in business websites as well. Facebook is a prime example. People use blue because it is generally very safe – there are not many obvious negative connotations associated with blue. Water is blue, the sky is blue, and these are things that are seen as dependable and positive.
Blue indicates honesty and loyalty as well. It is not a color that gives off any suspicions of risk-taking or high-stakes; rather, it is safe, conservative and stable.
All these things are positive attributes for most businesses. The only potential detractor of using blue is that it is not very exciting. If you are looking for excitement over loyalty and reliability, then you should look at another color. But if you are looking for a color that is authoritative and reassuring, darker shades of blue are your best bet.
Make it compelling with Red
Red is the color you need to be focusing on if you really want to grab someone’s attention. There is nothing subtle about this color – red demands to be seen. The Youtube logo is a prime example. The red color of the logo is aggressive and immediately reaffirms Youtube’s intentions as a website that needs to be seen. Red is a passionate color that gives off a feeling of confidence and determination. It is probably the most assertive of all colors. However, before going ahead and painting the entire website red, you need to take your client’s product or business into consideration.
Red can often be overbearing and overly aggressive, and that is why it is not good for every type of website. Even though you want to grab the visitor’s attention, you might not want to overwhelm them. Using too much red can be domineering and it can also be tiring. So if you want to use red as an attention grabber, it might be a good idea to offset it with a more subtle color, or to use a lighter hue of red that is not so demanding.
However, if your site is selling something, feel free to go right ahead and make that “buy” button bright red, in order to call the visitors into action and get them to pull the trigger and spend some money at this website.
Greedy with Green
Green is generally a very calming and soothing color. It is often associated with the environment and nature. The color is also associated with healing and good health, which is why you will see many medical websites you this color predominantly. It is also associated with good fortune and prosperity, and the darker the shade of green, the more it is linked to money and wealth.
And since it has ties to money very commonly, using too much green can give off a sense of greed and smugness. Therefore, it is usually better to not use too much green when you are dealing with any type of money, whether the site is selling something or if it’s a bank you are working for, for example, because it can be quite a challenge to use green accordingly without going overboard and breeding a sense of greed, over-blown materialism and selfishness. But for sites promoting growth, health and vitality, it’s hard to go wrong with green as the main color in your planned color scheme for a site.
Play it off With Yellow
Yellow is a very playful color and it is often associated with things that are positive and fun. It indicates a sense of fun and lightheartedness most often. However, it is a color that needs to be used sparingly and in conjunction with a more aggressive color in order to be effective in most circumstances.
Too much yellow will not give your site any type of authority. If your site is selling something or providing an esteemed service for people, then avoid yellow, because it is not reassuring and it does not boast a lot of sophistication as a color. If you want people to have faith in the site’s services, also avoid yellow, especially combing the color with black, because this combination is associated with warning signs that tell people to steer clear from the color.
Fun loving sites, especially those that are geared towards children, are great sites to use yellow on, especially in combination with other, stronger colors. If your project is cheery and fun, then the color yellow is an excellent tool for highlighting these positive sentiments, but if you want to instill a sense of trustworthiness and stability in the visitor, your best bet is to avoid it.
Go Young in Purple
Purple is a color that is associated with things that are intangible. It represents spirituality often, and has a lot to do with dreams, aspirations and higher goals. Creativity is also associated with the color purple very often. It also denotes some type of high level of excellence and a place atop the hierarchy in any given profession or field of service. You will often see purple used to denote superiority and top service – take the Purple Heart for example, which is given to soldiers who go above and beyond the call of duty for their country.
This is also a color that is most often used to attract a younger population because it appeals to things that young people are more interested in than older people. Fantasy, curiosity and creativity are ideas that are most often pitched to the younger generation, while older people are more interested in tangible and safe ideas.
It is best used for creative companies that do not offer any type of security, but rather, offer exciting, adventurous and unique experiences. The color is therefore also associated with immaturity, delusion and a lack of practicality and decision making, so be careful and make sure you know your client’s aspirations and target audience before deciding on this color.
Never go Overboard with the Silver n’ Gold
Using these two colors on a website is not usually recommended, especially gold, which does not really translate that well onto the screen, and often looks more like a dark yellow color without that real sparkle of gold. Silver also appears to be more of a grey color on the screen than anything else. In the case of both, the colors are used to usually represent wealth and prestige.
If you want to use these colors to get some type of glamorous and distinguished look out of the site that you are designing, be sure to use them sparingly. Just like when a person is wearing too much gold or silver jewelry in real life, using an excessive amount of these colors on your site can turn it into a gaudy and tacky affair very quickly.
Gold, but especially silver, is great to use when accenting other colors on your website, and it is especially good when combing it with darker shades of more practical colors like red, green or blue.
Slick in Black
If you are trying to sell a sense of elegance and sophistication on your website, then you are much better off using black than gold or silver. Many sites that are associated with luxury products and high-end services tend to use black, because it gives off a feeling of authority and control. Black is an intimidating color because it oozes with confidence. However, it too needs to be used in small amounts because it can become overpowering. It can also make your site look depressing and pessimistic if you are using it too readily in your designs.
It is a color that is better used in cooperation with brighter colors in order to accentuate them and really make them pop on the screen. As long as black does not dominate the screen when you are viewing the website, you will be able to maintain that feeling of prestige and classiness without turning the site into something morose and scary.
A lot of companies tend to use white when they are beginning some type of rebirth or new chapter in their corporate lives. White is used very commonly to signify a slate being wiped clean and the beginning of a new era. At its best use, white will not only give off the sense of a brand new start, but also of fairness and reassurance. However, when used excessively, it can turn the entire website into a sterile bore visually.
Essentially, white is best used as a background color, because it will make your website look clean and uncluttered, and it will also really make all of the other colors you are using stand out a lot more. The only colors that you should avoid using in conjunction with white are light pastels and yellows, which will blend in with the background without being effective.
White is used commonly by companies that promote cleanliness and reliability – hospitals, bathroom products, kitchen appliance makers, and baby products all use white to give potential consumers this feeling of confidence and tidiness.
Mature and Confident = Gray
This is the color you need to think about using if you are looking to make a site that gives off a conservative vibe. It is also a color, just like white, which should be used in the background, because basing your entire design on gray can be tricky – using a light gray can strip your site of energy and using a dark shade can make it look depressing.
When using gray as a background, you are instilling the website with an air of confidence, reliability and maturity. It is not a color that will energize the look of your site or make it inherently interesting, but it is a good start when you are working for a company that wants to appear stable and trustworthy. The best thing about gray is that it works well in combination with just about any color. Even yellows and lighter pastels can work with a darker shade of gray.
Reliable Brown, Heavy Brown
Brown is another reliable color. It is associated with the earth and soil, giving it also a sense of strength and maturity. It is a color that should not be abused, because it can suffocate the person viewing the website if overused. In the right dose, brown is a reassuring color that provides comfort. It is also often regarded as a neutral color and it is good to know that men like brown a lot, but women do not, most often.
If you are looking for practicality, comfort, stability and wholesomeness, then brown is a good color, especially if the website is supposed to be geared towards males. However, brown is not a particularly good color if you are looking for something active, fun and light-hearted. Products and companies that are associated with the outdoors and nature often use brown in their designs.
Before beginning to design your business website, it is important to remember that there is a lot of psychology tied in with color schemes. Therefore, it is imperative that you make the decision on what colors you are going to use from a standpoint that is not purely aesthetic.
David Lazar is a regular blogger at PDF Converter blog. With a background in journalism, he specializes in writing blogs on a variety of topics, including freelancing, careers, writing, technology and new media.