I’m new to web design. I learned the basic stuff like layout, contrasts, the difference between RGB and CMYK, etc., but I struggle to apply this well in practice:
Picking good colours that work well with one another.
For instance, say I choose a pantone red for the logo, a near-black for text and a simple grey for borders.
What would a seasoned web designer do if they wanted to introduce new colours into the web page to highlight a button, while making sure that the new colour fits well into the current palette?
Know your audience
It starts with knowing what you design and who you design it for. The color palette considered suitable for a funky new social networking site for young cat lovers in South Asia might look very different from the colors that would be considered working well for a new financial online service for young families.
Psychology of colors
There are six basic principles of color psychology:
- Color can carry a specific meaning.
- Color meaning is either based in learned meaning or biologically innate meaning.
- The perception of a color causes evaluation automatically by the person perceiving.
- The evaluation process forces color-motivated behavior.
- Color usually exerts its influence automatically.
- Color meaning and effect has to do with context as well.
The quoted principles are from Wikipedia. Understanding those helps to understand the importance of color, but also that there is no silver bullet. The last point is essential.
Read on in the same Wikipedia article to lear about the specific influence of certain colors on a brand or site. There are many good articles on the psychology of colors that can help to pick the right base colors (example – I won’t quote here, too much content and too much of the same can be found on the web even if this particular article became unavailable).
This might be the main question you have. Color palette generators might be helpful. There are numerous services: random colors, colors matching your favorite color, colors that surely don’t fit to one another, colors palettes generated from photographs, etc.
Even though these color palette generators bring up nice combinations, it may be interesting to dig deeper into research, e.g. the aesthetic response to color combinations or consumers’ product‐specific colour meanings.
Last but not least: Color and contrast accessibility. Making an offering accessible matters first and foremost to people with disabilities. For some countries there are even legal requirements in place.
There are tools available to help you check color schemas against accessibility guidelines – search for keywords like accessibility color check.