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Dated: Mar. 30, 2012
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By Divya Rawat
Colors play an important role in human lives. Unlike animals, we see and interpret colors of different hues, shades, tints and spectrum. Emotions are attached to different colors ; phrases have been coined around them. Sample a few: Seeing Red, Going Green With Envy, Having The Blues, In The Pink Of Health, Green Thumb.
Since we are surrounded by colors in real life, it is but logical that it make the transition to the virtual world. However colors can be tricky once they make it to the elements of web design.
A Primer on Colors:
Colors are primarily identified as primary, secondary and tertiary colors . The primary colors when mixed in various combinations form the secondary colors and the secondary colors graduate to tertiary on mixing.
Based on this theory, web designers (or any artist for that matter) mix colors in different tints and shades to form different hues. Thus the color schemes that work out can be either:
- Monochromatic – uses only a single hue in different shades and tint.
- Analogous – uses colors that are adjacent to each other on the color wheel
- Complementary – uses colors that are opposite to each other on the color wheel
- Triadic – uses colors that lie at an equidistance to each other on the color wheel
The web designer, based on various elements/factors decides to make use of any one of these color schemes.
Elements/Factors Taken Into Consideration While Zeroing In On A Color Scheme:
- Target Audience – Preference of color scheme depends upon the type of audience the website would or is catering to. A website designed for hospitals usually adopts green or blue hues in a monochromatic pattern as it gives a soothing impression to the visitor. The website for designers generally (though this is not the norm) makes use of bold themes with unconventional color schemes such as a triadic scheme. This enables the website to stand out in the clutter. However this style does not work for all as you might go wrong with the color combination and might end up looking like a parakeet.
- Type of Business – Business websites reflect colors that are commonly used in their domains. For instance subtle hues of olive green, blue, gray, dark brown and even black give the impression of dependability and are generally used by corporate like financial institutions, legal service providers to name a few.
- Logo And Corporate Colors – In continuation, the web designer has to adjust the color scheme of a web site in a manner that would allow the corporate/brand logo and corporate/brand color to blend in the entire look of the website and not stand out garishly.
- Color Psychology – Colors have different interpretations depending upon the age, gender, culture or country. What might be good for one may not work out for another; given this scenario knowledge about color psychology helps the designer choose color schemes appropriate for the target audience.
- Color Blindness – A designer has to follow certain rules (such as W3C Accessibility Guideline) that comprise of clauses guiding them about use of colors , contrast ratio, gradient etc while designing. One such clause ensures that designers take into account differently abled individuals with color blindness when using color schemes in a web design. In some cases, designers use monochromatic colors to address this possibility.
Color schemes that feel right are not easy to arrive at. The designer has to make mix varied hues combining them with another set of hues to create a color scheme that is harmonious.
The task has become a little easier due to the availability of diverse online tools (free as well as paid) that calculate possibilities and come up with potential color schemes either by inserting the hex values of the colors or by adjusting the pointers on the color wheel.
Divya Rawat has written a few articles that cover the spectrum of logo designing, color psychology and website design user experience under the tutelage of an SEO Company that has been offering web designing, internet marketing and Content Writing Service for the past six years
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