Long before you get to the nitty gritty technical details of building a Web site, you have the fun task of choosing a color palette.
We all have colors we like and don't like on an emotional level, and those preferences will help you make your decision—especially if you're an independent consultant running a one-person business. But personal preference can't be the sole determinant if you want your Web site to attract customers. After all, they're your audience, and the goal of the Web site is to communicate your value to them with colors, images, words and other media.
Communicating with Color
Before you choose a color palette, think about your business and industry. Are there any colors that figure in prominently with your product or service? For example:
- Look at the use of rich browns on the Godiva Chocolatier Web site.
- Note the use of blue on the Brita Water Filters Web site.
- And see how this tree planting company uses green on its Web site.
If your business does not have an obvious color associated with it, take a look at the identity you already have. If you're running a clothing boutique, you have a sign, an awning or other markings around your business. Your Web site should take the color palette of your business identity, giving people who've visited your retail location a seamless experience shopping at your store and online.
Some businesses fall into neither category—a financial consultant or a contractor, for example. You can still choose colors that reflect your business. Look at your brand promise and choose colors that subconsciously communicate your value proposition to customers. Look at big companies that cater to the same crowd you do, and ask yourself why they choose their colors. Could those colors work for you?
Selecting a Palette
Once you have a general idea of the colors you want to use, you can select varying shades and complementary and accent colors—the color palette. Fortunately, you don't have to do this on your own. There are plenty of Web sites out there with ready-made color palettes to choose from. Take a look at colorcombos.com and colourlovers.com for some ideas.