Color doesn’t have to be hard. So why do so many websites get it wrong? As with anything, it’s probably either a lack of knowledge, or worse, a lack of knowledge about a lack of knowledge. Any trained artist can tell you that there is a whole field of study regarding color theory. Any trained advertising designer can tell you about the strong connection between color and product sales. Color evokes mood. Mood affects how we regard things. How your visitor relates to the colors on your site affects how effective you site will be.
What subconscious decision will visitors make about your website based on its color? There many resources on the web to start you on your way to color mastery. Poynter.org’s Color, Contrast and Dimension in News Design is focused towards news organizations but is a great tutorial on color.
Color Matters has a wealth of sophisticated information although the design is primitive. Color knowledge is obviously not all there is to good graphic design.
Another site with just a bit less information but a lot more style is Colors on the Web. A good way to waste time, er, do research is to use their Color Wheel, a three color random color generator. The site offers a good general introduction to Web colors and design.
Of course you can just forget theory and use a color picker. My favorite is offered by Sessions Online School of Design. As a former student, I’m logged into their system. Otherwise they require you to give a name and email address. If you don’t want to give yourself to marketers you might try:
- The Color Coordinator
- Color Schemer
- EasyRGB Color Harmonies
- Color Blender
- Color Scheme Generator
- Peter Piper’s Palette Picker
- Web color picker