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Pick a Color, Any Color

One of the things that I often find bothersome when browsing through websites across the web or reviewing websites that people have asked me to take a look at is the use of color. Or rather in these instances, the lack of wise use of color. Poor choice of color can make or break a website. Poor choice of color in your company’s or organization’s branding or logo can influence how people perceive your company. First impressions count, do not waste yours.

Colors stimulate an emotional response and cause us to take certain actions based on that emotional response. Put in another way, colors influence in a subconscious way. A loose conclusion can be drawn that colors cause actions, thus colors cause results. If you think about this, one should choose their colors wisely thus provoking the right emotional response and ultimately driving the results that are desired.

While we are influenced by color, we should not obsess about color as it is not the only factor that will influence customers to take action or not. It is important, however, and should not be taken lightly or ignored. There should even be some compromise and negotiation on colors if it is found that certain colors are unusable in a design after a color palette is selected.

Color matters because it does such a strong effect on us subconsciously (or some would say consciously). We have come to place certain emotional responses such as trust with certain colors when we see them. When we see red, we often associate it with signs of danger. Whereas, yellow can be a sign of warning or caution. Color is important because it helps us illustrate the message we are trying to convey to viewers by playing with their emotional response cards.

The colors we choose can give elements in the design visual weight ultimately giving them more emphasis. Thus we can increase the importance of different elements on the page or screen by simply carefully selecting the colors we use for certain elements and the elements around them. However, if every item is overly weighted through the use of color, this technique will backfire producing an unprofessional and unpolished look.

When using multiple colors in a design, one should be careful to make sure that the colors are in harmony with each other. Colors should have good contrast when placing text or other images, but all colors should be harmonious. A color palette that is not harmonious will cause an emotional response that is not what you intended and probably turn off likely customers. This does not mean that you should not experiment with colors, but one should be cautious with the use of strong colors that are offensive to the aesthetic aspects of a design.