The Basics of Using Colours and Graphics to Create Warmth

How do colours and graphics affect your website? The effect is a bit like an office. Imagine a client coming into your office. Before they even have a chance to gauge your business or your character, they’re already making judgments based on the cleanliness and design of your space.

Your colours and graphics work in much the same way. It doesn’t necessarily reflect on the quality of your product, but the reader will still make decisions about your credibility, reliability and professionalism based just on your colours and graphics.

These aren’t conscious decisions. They’re subconscious, subtle feelings of trust or distrust.

Here are basics of what you need to know about choosing colours and graphics to build credibility.

 The Basics of Using Colour

First of all, it’s a good idea to have one primary colour and one adjacent colour. Sometimes a site can do well with just one colour or three colours, but it’s usually best to never have more than three colours.

The colours you choose should be similar enough that they’re soothing to the eye. The colours need to fit well together to create one smooth design.

However, two colours shouldn’t be so similar that they clash. Two different shades of green, or a light green and a light yellow, for example, are just too similar. It creates strain on the eye.

Contrast or opposing colours should be used with care. It’s okay to use opposing colours or high contrast to bring attention to one or two elements. But it is less effective as an overall colour scheme.

Use neutral colours like black, white and grey liberally. Just like how white space is half the picture in graphic design, your neutral colours are half the picture in colour selection.

Use your one to three colours with moderation, to sprinkle feeling throughout your website. The rest of your website should be neutral. Don’t try to colour everything.

 The Two Rules for Graphics

These are the two rules for graphics:

1. Don’t have too many graphics.
2. Each graphic must be highly professional.

In any given article or page, just have one graphic, maybe two. In your header, you only need one graphic. The same applies to just about anything else on your website.

Too many graphics takes power away from each graphic. The best designs use just a few powerful graphics, rather than a bunch of graphics that all detract from one another.

Each graphic needs to be very carefully chosen. It should be colour corrected and its contrast balanced in a photo editing program. Make it a crisp photo, taken from a great angle.

In short, the photo should convey professionalism, credibility and quality.

It takes discipline, in the beginning, to put fewer graphics on a site. But that’s what it’ll take to really create a great-looking website.

Those are the basics of using colours and graphics in your site. Remember – your colours and graphics are like your office. They set your first impression before they even evaluate your product or offer.

Image by: Sharon Pittaway