When you are establishing the visual identity of your brand, it’s worth considering how your colors will play online. Here are five things to think about when evaluating colors for an online medium.
Metals don’t shine
Let’s say that your research into colors showed you that silver has a feminine energy, which you think is perfect to speak to your audience of women business owners.
Silver is a beautiful color that can be stunning on printed collateral, but unfortunately when you bring it online, you lose the metallic glint and are left with shades of grey.
Working with gold or bronze will land you in the same boat.
Screens can be harsh
A little bit of red can powerful, but you can have too much of a good thing.
As someone who suffers from migraines, I’m especially sensitive to this. Take for example the Host Students website. Some people might find the mix of reds and pinks energetic, but for me it hurts my eyes.
If a website makes you blink or squint from an onslaught of color, you’re not going to spend any time on it, and that company loses out on any potential of your business. Be mindful how much you use bold shades of colors like red, pink, yellow and orange.
Anything neon should definitely be used with caution.
Different screens different shades
When you print your materials, you can ensure that the color renders exactly the same everywhere. However, different screens display colors just a shade differently.
Try pulling up a website on your desktop computer and your phone at the same time. Chances are when you compare them, the colors will be slightly different.
I’ve worked on projects where I see a draft as teal and a client sees it as turquoise. While they are similar colors, chances are you’d prefer one over the other. Thus as you pick your brand colors, it’s worth trying to see them on different screens and devices to get a sense of how things will render, and if you’re okay with the differences.
Reserve an action color
Looking at the Kitchen Sink website, it’s fun and quirky, but their primary color is turquoise and it’s everywhere:
- blue keyword
- funky images
It’s hard to say the button blends in when it’s such a bright color, but compare it to Maytag’s website, where the only time they use bright blue is on a button.
By keeping a color reserved for buttons and links, it stands out to the viewer, and makes it very clear to the user what they are supposed to do next.
Don’t neglect white space
Think of Google. It’s most popular site in the world, and has nothing but a logo and search box surrounded by white space.
While this website is definitely not white, the copious amount of empty space makes a powerful impression.
Even if you don’t choose to go with such a minimalistic design, from a practical perspective, you need to have enough space between elements that it’s easy to click on items on mobile devices.
As we talked about in basic color theory, there’s no right or wrong answer when it comes to choosing your brand colors. Different people will react differently, such as my example of color and migraines . You might see a vibrantly colored website and think it’s a powerful design, while all I see is pain.
You can’t always know those details about your audience, but being mindful of extremes will help your brand shine online.
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