Colours are omnipresent. They are one of the most powerful branding tools used by businesses. If used correctly, colours can be highly advantageous creating instantaneous links to a company’s advertising and branding, which is often encountered first online. For this reason it is important that a website is an integrated part of an organisation’s brand, reflecting the brand’s fonts and colours across both product and website. However, it is always important to remember to use colour to your advantage and not to draw a user’s attention away from the main content.
So when considering brand development, choice of colour should be thought about carefully especially as it will be used on your website.
Colour drives emotions and actions. Unbeknown to many, every colour communicates a different mood or feeling. This makes colour an extremely important tool to use, yet one that is often overlooked. With this in mind, you need to understand how colour can reflect your brand values and the effect it can have on your target audience. For instance, orange is viewed as cheap and childish whereas blue is considered calming and easy on the eye. This is why you would have most likely seen many leisure and spa retreats opt for a blue brand colour, symbolising escapism and tranquillity. Green is believed to be the easiest colour to process by the human eye whereas yellow is the most difficult.
Colours can also be used to influence people’s actions. Bright colours are a key tool when endeavouring to draw the user’s attention to a particular part of a website, e.g. a promotion, button or simply the main body of information. The darker the colours, the more relaxed the website will feel, allowing the user to focus on other things. The brightness of an image is defined by the intensity of light illuminating the object. It is often a mechanism used by many marketing teams to attract the user’s attention to buttons or ‘sale’ promotions. The brighter the colour, the more eye catching and energising your website will appear.
Another way of drawing the user’s attention to a specific point is to create the illusion of 3D elements within a website. Buttons are a common example of this. To ensure they catch the user’s eye, gradients are a useful technique employed to create a 3D illusion that jumps out at the user. However, with flat designs becoming increasingly popular this is a technique that is not as frequently seen.
When people visit a website, they are usually searching for information, so it is important that users have access to what they need. Readability and usability are two extremely significant areas when it comes to designing a website. Text should be easy to read and there are certain steps that should be taken to guarantee this is utilised correctly. Greater contrast between colours can reduce eyestrain. This is important to those who are sitting at a computer for many hours a day: the greater contrast between text and background, the less strain. If in doubt, it is always recommended to put dark text on a light background for ensured readability. If there is little contrast between the text and background colour, then the user will not know which colour to focus on, making the text difficult to read.
Another important factor is accessibility. Colours can play a major role when it comes to allowing users access to information, especially those who are visually impaired or colour blind. The two most common colours people have difficulty distinguishing between are red and green. Using these closely together should be avoided if possible. It is also extremely important to ensure that colours are not a key method of conveying information to the user. Colour coded content can often be limiting to those with a colour impairment to what information they have access to if they are unable to distinguish differences in colour. It is in your best interest to take this into account, as colour friendly sites tend to have a higher-ranking SEO in attempt to encourage colour friendliness across the web. However, if your site is well designed and has high contrasting colours throughout with easily readable text, then this should not be a problem. Code can be included in your site to ensure that users have the ability to change the colour scheme of a site or change the font sizes if they have difficulty reading it. Image checkers are also available which convert your image into a representation of how colour blindness can affect your view of an image.
Having a website means that there is a greater chance of users from all around the world having access your website. Interestingly, colours have different cultural meanings. For instance, brides in many Eastern countries wear the colour red as a symbol of luck, whereas in Japan, it is known as a symbol anger and danger. If your target audience branches out internationally, then it may be worth undertaking some research into different culture colour meanings.
There are some simple steps you can take to ensure that your user has an enjoyable experience when visiting your website. As part of typical brand exercise, you would have researched your target audience, gaining an understanding of what colours they would expect to see from your company. Additionally, it is important to know what colours work well together. Finally, accessibility; everyone has the right to access to all information on your website and colours can be a limiting factor for some. If you do all this, and choose a strong colour to represent your branding, then your website will get off to the best of starts.
Colour is a powerful tool that many companies can overlook. It can help boost a businesses’ branding immensely when utilised in the correct way. When put in place with a company’s font, logo and slogan, it can bring all these elements together and make a brand come alive, especially online where user interactivity is maximised.
So what are your thoughts about colours? Share your views below or with the hashtag #cohesivethinking
For further reading about specific colours please view some of our previous posts: