I’ve just read a blog about using colour on your website and, whilst I understand that different colours convey different feelings and also have varying ethnic impacts, there was a lot missing! These are my thoughts on websites and colour – all focused on getting the reader to engage with your message and take action!

From a design point of view it’s important that the colours on the website reflect those of the company’s corporate image. Even if the company is a small business or sole trader their brand must be reflected on the website.

Less is more! Yes, it’s a cliche, but it’s so true. Unless you’ve got a very talented designer who knows how to control many colours, stick to one or two and use different tones of each to create additional interest.

Don’t have two colours in similar tones next to each other – they’ll just ‘argue’ and cause the reader to get a headache and squint!

Whilst dark backgrounds with light writing can look ‘sexy’, it’s much harder to read than dark writing on a lighter background.

  • Firstly, your eyes focus on the darkest colour so you’re looking through the copy; it may be infinitesimal, but it’s enough to give the writing a fuzzy look.
  • Secondly, normal 10 or 12 point text cuts the dark background up and creates a ‘dazzle’ effect. This means that your brain is working so hard trying to see the letters that there’s less concentration on the actual message.
  • Thirdly, squinting at the copy when it’s on a darker background is just hard work and most people won’t bother for long unless there is a compelling reason why they should – and, with the best will in the world, your website is unlikely to fall into that category!
  • This doesn’t mean that coloured backgrounds are bad – it just means that they should either be pale in colour so dark text shows up clearly, or that the text area is light. A website that is all dark can be too ‘heavy’ and can overpower the reader in any case.

    Colour for links is good as people need to be able to spot a link so use coloured text for anything that’s a link – it can be the traditional electric blue (at least everyone knows what that is) or a colour that coordinates with your website – but should always be underlined. People recognise that underlines = links (so don’t underline anything that isn’t). Bold doesn’t necessarily mean a link and people tend not to be running their mouse around the screen looking for things that are hidden under an image or piece of text. Most of us take the mouse to the right onto the scroll bar ready to scroll down, or up.

    Work with your web designer so that a stunning design works with the words and keeps the reader engaged and ready to take action!
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