Color! But not too much…

Who doesn’t love color?  In many mediums, it is the deluxe, the premium, and typically worth shelling out the marketing dough.  A winery in my hometown, Chateau Morrisette, has a well told story of a particular bottle of wine.  It is a semi-sweet Riesling.  It had some average Joe name in an average Joe bottle and sold at an average rate.  A year or two in, they changed the name to Our Dog Blue and put it in a cobalt blue bottle.  Sales jumped by 600% percent.  That number changes depending on the tour guide you get; but you get the drift.  I can’t tell you how many times I have overheard tourists asking for the wine in the blue bottle.  The wine didn’t get any better…and, frankly it isn’t their best wine…but it’s memorable and pretty.  


Unlike print media (and I suspect glass wine bottles), more color does not cost extra on the web.  So, well, there is a tendency to get a little too excited.  

Fantasic White

So, in this ode-to-color, let’s first extol the value of white.  It is fresh.  It is clean.  It is easy on the eyes.  But we know that; so that isn’t the thing that pushed me over the edge to be a full on white fan.  Instead, this example from the Web Design from Scratch site helped me give me some perspective.  

White Edges

Notice in the first example that your eye gravitates to the white. Unfortunately, the white isn’t where the user needs to look.Using the white as the content background pulls the focus to the content.

White Content Background

Using the white as the content background pulls the focus to the content.







Now I know that when you read about color schemes, you are going to get excited. You are going to want to let this white thing go.

But come back here, focus, and think about your purpose: your content.

You want people to think about your content.
That is the goal right? To engage people with your content. White Space allows room for thought. So, white space isn’t actually about color. But this is still important. A site needs to a balance between full and not overwhelming. The site should manage to avoid clutter while still feeling full of exciting content that can be discovered by the click happy visitor.

Color Schemes

Choosing a color scheme can get overwhelming quickly. The Color Scheme Designer is a handy tool for finding an appropriate accent color. Using your good old elementary school art class basics of monochromatic and complimentary color schemes, the site really takes an overwhelming decision and lays out some reasonable and not necessarily obvious options. It provides monochromatic, complimentary, and triadic color schemes with each color option in various tints, tones and shades.

Stuck in a Rut

Four websites with the same color scheme that are hard to differentiate
The color scheme options are nice as the obvious choices are taken… many, many sites as is shown with this example of HP, IBM, Dell and Microsoft from Boxes and Arrows shows.   Don’t get trapped looking like everyone else.

Use Color Wisely

Color is a tool. It can enhance the feel of your site.  It creates identity.  It draws focus to specific sections of your website.


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