Colour your world
Posted: August 19, 2011 | 14:35 ET by Tessa Wegert
There's so much to consider when building or redesigning a Web site. Your site is your brand's best suit or new dress – a visual representation of who you are and what you're all about. But it's also your elevator pitch, and your first opportunity to make an impact with your target consumer. Visual design, user interface, marketing copy, and product galleries all play a big part in creating an informative, enjoyable, and memorable experience. So does colour.
Anyone who has recently repainted a room in their home knows the degree to which colour can shape a space and influence the mood of those within it. Red might be an appropriate choice for a dining room, and even help to boost the appetite of your guests, but it won't help you create a calming environment in your bedroom. In general, the same rules that apply to painting your house can be used to inform your Web design decisions. Creativity (orange), romance (red), femininity (pink), trust (blue), harmony (green) – whatever you're trying to convey with your site must be conveyed first with your colour palette. But there's more to think about than colour psychology alone.
If you hope to achieve that online visual representation of your brand, it's imperative that you let your brand guide your design decisions. Start with your existing brand style guide and work from there, pulling in supporting colours that send the right mood message but also relate to your logo, product packaging, and brand. Your site is an extension of your brand's public image, and should be as consistent with that existing image as possible.
Web design isn't the responsibility of the creative department alone. An agency creative director can produce a beautiful site comp, but the colours he chooses may not mesh with the overall site strategy. For example, if your objective is to drive visits to your product pages, you'll want those buttons and links to be a bold colour rather than fade into the background. Colour can be used for everything from organizing content to categorizing products. Buttons relating to a certain product might all be coloured red, but a different product line (or one aimed at a different type of consumer) might use a different palette altogether. Using a site-wide colour-coding strategy can help consumers determine exactly where to find what they're looking for.
Check back next week for more tips on how to navigate colour in your Web design.
Tags: Website design , Brand Management , Branding , Design , Marketing Strategy , Interactive Strategist
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Tessa Wegert is a veteran media strategist with a background in media planning and buying, content development, ad copywriting, and campaign management. As a prominent industry writer she has been covering digital marketing and technology for leading newspapers and trade publications for over a decade. Connect with her on Twitter (@tessawegert) and LinkedIn.