Something lighter to start your week. Not to darken your expectations: this blog will be a veritable treasure trove of transferable information for your design dabbling.
COLOURS! Or Colors as those to my west would spell it. I want to talk about the rainbow; what secret powers they hold and how we might utilise them to best effect. I'll get you started, and hopefully hooked, with this opener:
Did you know that the colours red and yellow trigger the appetite? -well take a look and see! >>>
That's no coincidence that most of the world's biggest food chains use red and / or yellow in their advertisements. It's the colour of french fries and ketchup - a deliciously easy link to remember there.
That's a very salient example of how you can make colours work for you. In the food industry? You know what to do!
Companies have gone to extrordinary lengths to trademark colours for their brands. In a frought 5 year battle, Cadbury's ultimately lost the right to the exclusive use of their particular shade of the colour purple for their Dairy Milk bar. You might be familiar with that particular shade of turquoise on Heinz beans: that has successfully been trademarked for exclusive use on the Heinz beans brand. There is a power in familiarity. And colour is a powerful visual cue.
Factoids: The most popular colour across both genders is BLUE! And the least popular colour is YELLOW!
However, since yellow is so commonly used as we have seen in particular by the food sector, 'why' becomes a question worth asking. My theory is as follows: its perceived garishness is being cleverly utilised to stand out and capture attention. How one might practically apply this technique is to have yellow (or orange or another bright colour) incorporated in your call-to-action button clearly visible on your website. Studies have shown that having contrasting colours can have a pleasing effect on the eye. A red call-to-action button against a blue background, for instance, is just daring the user to press!
An example: if your background colour is white. Your base colour is blue. Use red or green or something bright and standout-ish as your accent colour (the “Contact Us” button for e.g.) It will be absolutely unmissable visually on the page. Using blue for your call-to-action buttons in this case would keep the visuals uniform as it would match the base colour. Thus losing the effect of contrast which serves to draw the site visitor to where you wish to direct them.
Take a look at this example below: in the first screenshot, you can see the background is white, the base colour is green, AND the call to action button is also green. In the second picture the call to action button is RED and the results of this page which was tested with both colours is that the red button outperformed the green by 21% more clicks.
One theory is that the contrast effect of the red draws more attention, and frankly, I'm on board with that explanation.
My rules of thumb:
1. Avoid a garish look - not too many bright colours - keep it relatively simple overall. Making a visual impact shouldn't involve assaulting the viewers' optical sensors.
2. Beauty in good design will speak far more clearly than fraught decision to go with purple or green. So don't sweat the little small stuff too much. Remember the basic structure of good design.
3. Use contrasting colours for accenting effect, and you are onto a winner.
4. Black and white I would not dismiss: I believe that something beautiful and constructed in a smart way (see previous weeks' blog) will draw users in and keep them there. There are very few hard and fast rules in the colour game.