The Art & Science of Colors and Their Influence on Users
Choosing the right color palette can leave a lasting impression on your users, for the better.
It’s far more important than simply adding a splash of personality to your site or putting a layout in-line with your brand guidelines. That’s why it’s important to keep in mind how they reflect the goals of the audience—and to always put those goals above personal preference. Many designers may believe they are on the right track, but when it comes down to it, we all need to ask ourselves if we’re traveling down the most effective path. Color deserves to be well thought-out each and every time. Why? Because it’s one of the most powerful tools at our disposal and the colors we choose will ultimately connect to different emotions amongst users. So, let’s take a look at 5 steps any designer can take to make—not a better choice—but the best choice.
Step 1. Aim for the Goal
You have to go beyond picking a color just because it looks right or is the most attractive combination. You need to ask yourself what the brand’s goals are. Do they want to evoke positive energy or instill a peace and calm? Is the website action- or emotion-based? Discovering the right state of mind for your project will ultimately help you discover the right palette to use.
Step 2. Try on Some New Shoes
Colors mean a lot of things to different people. Based on their background, religion, political affiliation or job title, each shade may resonate in a different way. The last thing you want to do is use something because it feels right to you. So, put yourself in the audience’s shoes. This allows you to view the world through their eyes and find the hidden meanings behind different colors.
Step 3. Compliments to the Designer
The most difficult part about color is that you can’t use just one. In fact, you’ll most likely end up needing a handful. So, once you’ve landed on a hue that suits the audience’s needs, take a look at a color wheel and find the compliments that work with or improve the palette, rather than work against it. That’s not to say you should go crazy and use every positive color you find. Stick with a few that work best and keep it simple.
Step 4. This Party’s Exclusive
If you don’t want the audience to glance over your brand or miss it entirely, you must use these newfound colors in a way that draws attention and elicits real emotion. One way to achieve this is by keeping certain colors exclusive. For instance, if you save a specific complimentary color for the call-to-action button, you make it pop above everything else on the page. If that’s the goal of the site, you’ve already placed a big “W” in your design column.
Step 5. Don’t Fall Overboard
The last trick to getting the most from your color choice is to keep it clean. Don’t go overboard with the loaded colors you’ve selected. Not everything on the page has to pop and not everything should. By utilizing an array of neutral colors, you keep the site from becoming too abrasive and allow the colors to shine through in a more natural way.
So, the next time you’re considering a color for your site, stop and think about what it will mean to the audience. It may seem like a tedious task, but if it can help you reach your goals, it’s a task that will always help you come out on top.