The perfect colors for a website are not just those that do not clash. Colors peak a language of their own and are an essential part of the message a site is trying to convey. Colors not only have the obvious visual appeal but also convey subliminal messages and these should be part of the website design and consideration.
What do Colors on a Website Really Say?
A non-answer is that it depends on how and where they are used. Overall researchers have proven that colors on a website can influence the visitor. They can influence them to stay on a site or actively chase them away. Again, it depends on what the site is for and the message they need to convey. What follows are some general tips that can help reduce the confusion when it comes to website colors.
Avoid Eye Fatiguing Colors
The brighter colors such as a glaring red, bright green or brilliant blue may cause eye fatigue and this can lead to your visitors finding the site uncomfortable and leaving. They may not be able to verbalize why they did not like the site, but eye fatigue is certainly a factor.
Make Your Text Stand Out
Whatever your color choice for a website is, the text should not get lost in the background. It needs to contrast strongly with the background color. Black and white of course is the usual combinations for visual contrast, but the website hardly needs to be limited by the usual combinations. Dark blue, grey and black might work equally well. On the other hand, on a site where a product photo or representation is the focal point, the background should not overpower the product.
Consistent Color Use is Important
Consistency builds a feeling of comfort in the surfer and familiarity breeds trust. Use your color choices consistently throughout the site in order to maximize the experience for the surfer. Do not switch from the three or four colors you have chosen and instead use another background on different pages, it confuses the surfer.
Match Colors to the Audience
The website's intended audience should also play a part in the selection of the perfect color for the website. A younger audience will find bright colors and vibrancy appealing, while an older audience may find a subdued and natural palette the most appealing.
Women tend to see as a group a broader range of colors than men do. Use this fact and remember that peach may be just another word for a male it has a visual appeal for women. Men seem to prefer blue colors and orange over yellow and red and on the other hand, women prefer red and yellow to blue and orange. You can use these preferences to select an idea color for your audience.
Colors also change meaning in relationship to nations and the global audience. Purple in some Arab cultures is associated with prostitutes.
The color green for the US may imply a financial link on a web site while in another country because their currency is not green it may have nothing to do with money.
For the US Market the Most common meanings of colors can be found below however extensive reading may be necessary to deliver just the right message with colors.
Green: It can mean vibrancy health, nature
Orange: courage, playfulness, energy, approachability
Brown: credibility, strength, comfort
Red: power, passion, excitement
Blue: spirituality, patience trustworthiness, freedom, patience
Pink: female, or romantic
Yellow: hope, happiness, joy, optimism
White: youth, freshness, peace, cleanliness
Violet: sophisticated, wise, celebration
Black: secrecy, mystery, elegance or power
Gray: reliability, security, maturity
Even the most common meaning of a color may not hold true to every audience and certainly can change with the shade of the color.