Website Colour Schemes to Avoid

web colour combos to avoid

Deciding to launch your business online with a website, or upgrading an existing site, can be an exciting process, and it can be very tempting to dive right in and get designing. But, stop! A website is the online face of your business, and a bad design can really put potential customers off. One of the most important things to think about before you start designing is the colour scheme of your website.

We have all at some point had the unfortunate experience of clicking on a website that is almost entirely unusable. Sometimes this is down to poor design, but sometimes a perfectly usable website design is ruined by the combination of colours chosen. Much research has been done on the psychology of colour schemes, focusing on areas such as which colours encourage shoppers to buy, which colours put customers off, colour combinations to avoid and much more. Taking the time to think about the colour scheme of your website will be time well-spent in the long run.

website colours to avoid graphic

Online Colour Combinations to Avoid

Obviously, you need more than a single colour for your website, a red background paired with red text would be pointless. You need to consider the overall look of your website and what colours to use within your website design theme.  The basic theme of most websites has between four to six complementary colours, taking some from the logo colours and teaming them with white, black and/or hues of grey to create the overall design.

There are certain combinations that should be completely avoided if you want your website to be successful. The main combinations with the reasons why they should be avoided are listed below:

  • Red and green – Deuteranopia, is a type of colour blindness that affects approximately 6% of males and prevents the sufferer from distinguishing between the colours red and green. Mixing these two colours on your website will make the experience difficult for some users and may deter those potential customers.
  • Fluorescent colours – neon colours used sparingly can in some circumstances enhance the design of a website. However, it is best to avoid using fluorescent colours for the main background or text as it is very hard on the eyes and creates a poor user experience.
  • Light on white – White backgrounds dominate the internet, and in general provide a modern, sleek look for most website designs. The main mistake here is using light text on a white background, which is very difficult to read and may put off potential clients.
  • Dark on dark – as with light text on a white background you should avoid using dark text against a black background on your website, as it is difficult to read, and may cause high bounce rates.
  • Bright on bright – a splash of colour can make any website pop, there is no need to stick to a plain white background or shades of grey, a bright colour can be the perfect choice. However, if you choose a bright background stick to classic coloured text or vice versa. For example, bright pink and white complement each other perfectly.

Choosing a Business Website Colour

Of course, you may already have a business logo and that would be a great starting point when thinking about the colour scheme for your new website. However, you also need to consider how the colours in your logo would translate onto a computer screen and mobile device, and also what colours to combine with the ones in your logo. A new website would be a great opportunity for a rebranding if your current logo or colour scheme no longer gels with the ethos of your business.

Research has shown that certain colours are often subconsciously associated with emotions and desire. The right colour scheme can help convert shoppers into paying customers.  Let’s look at some of the most popular colours and how they are perceived.

  • Red – red is a colour that is generally associated with love and passion, and when used appropriately can be powerful in converting potential customers. But beware, bright pillar box red is also associated with words such as ‘stop’ and ‘danger’ so should be used cautiously within a website design.
  • Blue – blue is one of the most popular colour choices on the internet, and typically is a trusted colour associated with productivity. This makes it an obvious choice for businesses offering professional services. But, remember sometimes it is good to step-away from the normal, and stand out especially in competitive industries.
  • Yellow – yellow is a warm, summery, happy colour that can produce feelings of optimism making it a strong choice for many business websites. However, it is not a colour to be splashed around without reserve, as it can be very intense and induce feelings of frustration. Use yellow as an accent to perfectly complement an otherwise minimalist website design.
  • Orange – orange is also a happy colour, that when used appropriately can be welcoming and incite feelings of excitement for trying something new.
  • Green – green is usually synonymous with nature. It is a positive colour that evokes thoughts of relaxation. In popular culture green usually also signals ‘go’, making it a good choice for many companies. However, the organic, natural symbolism should be avoided by any business that is at odds with this popular lifestyle choice.
  • Pink – pink is traditionally a feminine colour. This is not necessarily a stereotype that should be adhered to. Pink is a colour that like red can be very successful when used appropriately on a website, but a disaster in the wrong context.
  • Purple – purple is well known as a regal colour and, is associated with power and wealth. Purple would be the perfect colour for the website of a business offering a premium service at a premium price.
  • White – white is the default background colour for many website themes and, is a good choice. White is usually seen as a pure, clean colour and is perfectly neutral to combine with brighter, bolder colours.
  • Black – black is a strong colour that exudes confidence but used in excess can be overwhelming and somber. Get it right though and black can elevate your website design to a premium level.
  • Grey – grey is the perfect neutral, isn’t harsh on the eyes and multiple shades of grey can be used to break up different areas of a website. Used alongside white, black and a brighter colour such as pink, orange or yellow the overall effect can be striking yet understated and visually pleasing.

Thinking about these colour associations in relation to what your business offers can help you to ensure that your branding is perfectly in-sync. Ensuring that your logo, website and offline marketing are colour coordinated will help to cement your business in the mind of both potential and current customers.

Culture and Colour

This article has primarily been written in regard to colour and perceptions in western culture. If your business is based in North America or Europe utilising the symbolism described in this article is a good starting point. However, if you are based in other parts of the world, or your business clients or customers are based in African and Asian countries you should be aware that colours often repent different feelings and emotions. Being culturally aware of these differences and, creating your business and website colour scheme accordingly will help to minimise any potential issues.

Finalising Website Design

There is always a lot to consider during the design process for a new website. Unless you are creating the site yourself, you will need to choose a designer or website design company. Picking a company can be a daunting process but, be sure to take your time and choose a developer who will gel with your requirements and work in sync with the ethos of your business.

Be sure to ask questions, discuss the colour scheme, and ensure there is the option for revisions, within reason, to ensure that the website you receive is one that you will be happy with, and that perfectly complements your business’s offline design. At Tinks Digital our ethos is that we care about your business as much as you do. We offer a comprehensive website design service and, operate on the policy that the job isn’t finished until you are completely satisfied. Contact us today to discuss your requirements, we are more than happy to create a new theme and colour scheme for you or work with your existing business colours to design a website that meets your requirements and offers a fantastic experience for your customers.