In any design, color is highly significant. We often think of color as purely aesthetic, used only to please the eye or “look pretty.” But in actuality, its function goes beyond artistic expression. In fact, color combinations play a major role in web design, effectively setting the tone and communicating a site’s purpose.

Although colors certainly do add to the visual appeal of a website, a good designer chooses them with careful intention. Considering a site’s objectives, specific color combinations can be used to generate higher rates of conversion and craft a better overall user experience (UX).

Speaking With Color Combinations

First and foremost, a website is meant to communicate. Whether intending to educate its audience or encourage a particular set of actions, there is some sort of message to be gained by visiting the site. Color can be an effective communication tool, setting the overall tone with which you can build your message. Studies in color psychology suggest that colors can be used to effect certain emotions. For example, tones of red can be used to convey energy, passion, or danger. While shades of blue can portray a sense of peace, harmony and trust. With this understanding, you can select appropriate color combinations to promote particular feelings when users come to your site. In addition, by understanding the color preferences of your target users along with the standard color associations within your specific industry, you can essentially cater to your audience with your color selections.

Colors can also be used to prompt specific actions or strengthen the overall message of the site. A designer can use specific colors combinations to imply specific meanings or emphasize certain aspects within the design. Color can highlight call-to-actions or bring a particular message to the forefront. These kinds of accent colors can create a visual hierarchy that encourages users to take a desired action.

Strengthening a Brand

Choosing color combinations effectively for your website involves much more than just picking what you think looks good. The colors should be chosen intentionally to coincide with the established brand elements. Your site should accurately reflect your brand, which of course means maintaining consistency with your visual style and tonality. But even more than that, the colors in your site can work to strengthen your business by conveying your brand personality and brand identity. Color can greatly influence how a brand is perceived, and it is often the most memorable element of the brand. Choosing an appropriate color scheme can help shape consumer opinions toward your brand, while also giving you the opportunity to differentiate your brand from competitors.

Accessibility Considerations

Accessibility standards are a major consideration in web design. While you want your site to be visually appealing and support your brand, it is also important that it is functional for all types of users. Many people experience forms of color blindness or have difficulties reading text in certain colors. In order to accommodate these needs, color combinations in both the text and background should be chosen with care. You want all users to be able to read your content and know how to take action. Especially where users are expected to input information, you should ensure that color is not the only visual indicator to allow for a more seamless user experience.

Choosing the most effective color combinations for your website may not be as easy as it sounds. Start by understanding who you are as a brand and how you want your target user to perceive you. Once you have a better understanding of your brand and your user, you will be able to take advantage of color to reach your goals.