Hi, everyone, I’m Kelly Sparkes, and today I’m going to show you how to choose colours for your website and brand.
There’s so much more to choosing colours for your website than aesthetics, because colour has such a powerful psychological effect on people’s emotions and decisions, and it’s the strongest tool in your branding arsenal.
When choosing a business brand palette it’s not about your favourite colours or what your designer says is on-trend, it’s about what speaks and appeals to your ideal customers, and what differentiates you from your competitors.
Colour is not an exact science, preferences are extremely personal, and can be influenced by many things such as a person’s culture or their upbringing.
The psychology behind each colour and the colour wheel is an incredibly useful tool in creating effective colour schemes. On the left-hand side of the wheel are the warm colours – they are strong, exciting, and energetic, and appear to advance towards you. In contrast, on the right-hand side, the colours are dependable, calm, and soothing.
The three primary colours are yellow, red, and blue and they form the base of every single colour on the colour wheel. We then have the secondary colours, which are green, purple, and orange, and they are made by mixing the two adjacent primary colours, 50-50 (E.g. green is made from 50% blue and 50% yellow).
The six tertiary colours, which are the rest of the colours on the wheel, are made by mixing the two adjacent secondary colours.
Colours evoke an emotional response, and using the right colours on your website and in your brand will communicate your brand’s message and your personality immediately. That’s even before visitors have read any copy on your website or looked at any of your pictures, or downloads. The colour is going to tell them what you’re all about straight away.
Red is bold, it’s exciting, it’s attention-grabbing, and it’s the colour of love and passion, and warning signs and danger. It’s very emotionally intense, so using too much of it can be very overstimulating. Dark shades of red inspire confidence and passion, whereas tints of red are more associated with caring, love, romance, and femininity.
Yellow is a bright, sunny, hopeful, cheerful colour, it’s positive, it’s warm and it’s optimistic. It’s a very visible colour and stimulates mental activity.
Blue is authoritative, dependable and trustworthy. Shades of blue, such as navy are perfect for financial and corporate websites where success, strength and authority are important, whereas tints of blue are more relaxed and calming.
It’s vibrant, confident, fun, energetic and associated with creativity and autumn, and it’s a fabulous colour to motivate.
Green is very calming like blue, but it has more energy because of the yellow in it and is associated with nature. It represents freshness and growth; it’s the perfect colour for sustainable business. Darker shades of green are linked with wealth and leadership, and greens with more yellow, like lime green, are more vibrant and youthful.
Bright, vibrant purples are the colour of choice for imaginative, artistic, unconventional businesses. The dark shades of purple are associated with royalty and luxury, and the paler tones evoke romance and summer, taking on the qualities of both red and blue, and it can be either stimulating or calming depending on how much of each colour is added.
Neutrals are not officially on the colour wheel, but they can be so powerful in branding that I can’t ignore them.
Brown is made by mixing opposite colours on the wheel. So for example, yellow and purple, or red and green, and the brown result of those two colours takes on the attributes of the parent colours. In general, brown is a rugged colour, it’s masculine and it’s associated with earth and authentic organic businesses.
Black is a tricky colour, so I recommend that you avoid it if you can. Using black is one of the main things I see wrong with someone’s website. When you’re looking at it and you don’t know why is it off, usually it’s because they’ve used black. Black is used in a lot of themes and is used as quite a standard colour, but if you change that to a very dark version of one of your colours, like a really deep purple for example, or dark blue, it will be much more successful. If you don’t want to use a colour, you could also use dark grey instead.
White, as with black, doesn’t work for everyone, it can create a very harsh backdrop. Adding a tiny bit of colour in there to warm it up or tie it in with your brand colours can make a massive difference. Unless you want a very clean, modern, minimalist look, in which case white is the perfect backdrop.
Finally, I couldn’t ignore grey, it’s the perfect neutral. It’s used by designers as a background colour because it shows off the other colours well and doesn’t change them in the way that both black and white can.
Hopefully, you now understand the theory of colour and have identified some colours you think will work for your brand.
I have another video you may also find useful, where I discuss how you can use colour harmonies to put a colour palette together, so please make sure that you take a look at that one too.