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The Language of Colors: Navigating Color Theory in Web Design

Last week, we took a look at how colors work in fashion and how to utilize the color wheel accordingly when dealing with clothing. When I had the idea for these color theory articles, I wanted to make sure I was providing the best information and tips that would help elevate your fashion businesses and websites and to do that, I had to take a look at what professionals in the field were saying! Alina Khazanova, a Product designer who works at Elementor, has an article titled, “Color Theory Fundamentals Every Web Designer Should Know”, highlighting the importance of color schemes, and color theory, and explaining how color psychology can help us successfully build a website. Confused about what color psychology is? Don’t worry about it right now, we’ll get to it later!

Color Relationships and Emotions

If you read my last article, you’ll remember that we learned about the color wheel, color schemes, and relationships between colors and human emotions. In her article, Khazanova states that the schemes most web designers use are: monochrome, complementary, analogous, and triadic (refer back to my article to know what those are!). This is because, for many web designers, the easiest color schemes to work with are complementary and analogous.

Complementary colors give high contrast, and analogous colors are more subtle, so a warm color like red would be used in alert messages because they lure out feelings of danger or aggression. A cooler color would contain more blue and purple and could be used to make the user more comfortable since cool colors have a soothing and relaxing effect. At the same time, keep in mind that cool colors can also show sadness and formality. *Hint: Adding neutral colors like white, black, or gray can help even out your color palette!

Choosing the Perfect Color Scheme

With the knowledge we already have of the color wheel and the different color schemes, we now need to create a website design that is both pleasant to look at and engages our targeted audience in checking out our business! It’s important to determine who your target audience is, that way you'll know what colors to use to bring people in and avoid the colors that’ll put them off.

First off, clashing colors will leave users with a negative impression of your website because who wants to look at a chaotic scheme? No one. Also, be careful when using a complementary color scheme, because the contrasts between opposite colors can become too aggressive if used too often. Understanding how colors can have an effect on people’s moods is so important for web design, so much so, that it’s actually a field of study called “color psychology”. We’re coming back to this again, finally! Color psychology is mainly used in marketing and design to determine which colors can influence consumers into buying products, and can be a great tool for you to gain more attention and traffic on your website.

I mentioned the target audience earlier, and the reason was that depending on who you’re marketing your products to, they will have different perspectives on color. It’s strange to think about, right? Khazanova gives an example of how some Asian cultures view the color white in regards to death and sadness, whereas the U.S. and Europe consider it to be pure and positive color. Be sure to study up on your audience, folks!

If you’re interested in more tips about how to create the perfect color scheme for your websites, check out Alina Khazanova’s full article on Elementor to learn about the meanings that each color holds in-depth. Also, another great one of hers, called “7 Rules for Choosing A Website Color Scheme”, gives you insight into how to be consistent with your website color scheme and how to choose the right color palette for your business! I hope you all have enjoyed my “Navigating Color Theory” series, it was so much fun to write! I certainly learned a lot about web and fashion design that I never would’ve considered before.

Let me know what you found interesting about color theory, or if there’s something you think I missed, mention it in the comments below. I’d love to hear more from you all!


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