If you have been keeping up to date with this year’s latest trends you know that the application of bright colors is on the list and with reason.
Color is and always will be an important element when it comes to design. It has the power to not only boost visual recognition but it also aids in the relaying of important messages whether it is the mission statement or the function of clickables like CTA.
While most know what color can do, not everyone knows the best way to take advantage of color especially when it is bright, retro-inspired color palettes.
In today’s article. you’ll learn not only the meaning of specific colors or the steps you need to take before selecting your desired palette but you will also learn the best places to bring bright color into play for optimal results.
Know Your Project
Before you even get started on introducing color into your project you need to know a little about it beforehand. I’m talking about your targeted audience, your message, and your product.
Target Audience: These are the people who your business caters to and should be the people your site is designed in mind for. Depending on the demographic of your target audience certain colors will not be as suitable compared to others.
Message: If you have done your research then you will already know the message of your brand. This is in layman’s terms the mission statement of your business. The message will incorporate the voice of your brand which will in turn influence your color palette.
Product/Service: Your product will help decide what colors you add to your website especially if your product is already using a predetermined color palette. The type of service you offer likewise will dictate the type of saturations your colors will inherit.
Psychology of Color
Every color that you use has the ability to translate certain meanings depending on the culture that is digesting the information. Though it is impossible to make sure that your color choice translates positively across all cultures it is easy enough to get a general scope of what certain colors mean psychologically. Doing your research will help you pick the best colors based on your target audience, message and product/service.
Below you will find a basic rundown on the most common used colors. Keep in mind that these colors can be attributed to a bevy of meanings.
Red: is the color of energy, passion, action, ambition and determination. The color can also be used to communicated anger and sexual passion
Orange: represents social communication and optimism. Negatively it can also a sign of pessimism and superficiality.
Yellow: the color of the mind and the intellect that represents optimistic and cheerful feelings. It can also suggest impatience, criticism, and cowardice.
Green: this is a color of balance and growth. It can mean both self-reliance as a positive and possessiveness and jealousy as a negative.
Blue: a color that represents trust and peace. It can suggest loyalty and integrity and conversely conservatism and frigidity.
Purple: is the color that is often linked to imagination. It can be creative and individual or immature and impractical.
White: hosts the color meaning of purity, innocence, wholeness and completion.
Black: the color of the hidden, the secretive and the unknown, creating an air of mystery. It can also represent negative feelings or grief.
Check our articles about color theory and how to create a color palette to further your understanding of colors.
Application of Colors
When it comes to using bright colors in web design, especially bright colors that are meant to appeal to the bright retro styles of the 80s and 90s there are four ways you can apply them for the best results. Note these aren’t the only ways to apply bright colors but they are one of the most effective techniques. Plus it will help you keep your bright color contained but still readily visible.
The first way to add bright colors is to use your bright color palette as an accent. This means you use it to call attention to certain areas that you need the viewer’s eye to go. Typically for this method you would keep your accents to your “clickables”. These will usually be CTA buttons and navigation menus. Your clickables don’t necessarily have to be the only elements that work as accents however.
Keeping your bright colors to accents will give you better control of your site design as well as provide an interesting flare. Because with accents you end up using your colors sparingly you can very easily keep your layout clean.
Photography and Illustration
Another way to add bright colors to your website is by relying on either photography or illustration. Now in regards to photography this doesn’t mean using photos with bright colors. In this particular instance you would use photography with a bright monochromatic scheme. Going this route will not only make things simple for your site’s color palette but the use of large photography featuring a bright monochromatic palette is still in trend so will look deliberate. You can even play with layout for a more dynamic look.
If you don’t want to use photography whether you can’t find what you’re looking for or it doesn’t seem to mesh then you can always go the large illustration route. Bright illustration have always been an eye grabber so using it to call attention to your site is always a good idea. Large bright illustrations work perfect in hero headers as well as to break up sections.
Sometimes using photography or an illustration just won’t cut it for your website for one reason or another. If that seems to be the case for you or you just can’t seem to find a way to incorporate the above techniques then color blocking might just be for you. Using color blocking not only can you add splashes of color throughout your site at you wish but you can keep your content balanced.
Because color blocking literally blocks in a color you can feel free to be a lot more experimental when it comes to color combinations. The key to color blocking is to create high contrast between your sections, it doesn’t have to be solids besides solids. Try mixing it up with images and textures.
Other than accents, using bright, colorful typography has to be the easiest way to apply bright colors to your site’s design. With bright typography it really is a no brainer. Select an engaging typography, pick a bright color and then apply. Of course, there are some things you want to watch out for when applying this technique. Make sure that the type is readable and make sure that you apply it on top of a contrasting background.
With bright colors you can make important headings stand out. If you’re using your site to promote something then it is a great and reliable tool to spur people into acting. The key is placing your type where it can be immediately seen and with a bright color applied this shouldn’t be a problem.
Using bright and bold colors may seem scary at first when it comes to your website but it is really an easy task. As long as you understand your site and the psychology behind color you can pick the perfect colors to best work for your site. The four simple ways to apply color can be mixed and matched so don’t be afraid to feature both bright illustrations and accents on your site at the same time.