Color scheme is an important part of web design and can help distinguish your brand and attach emotional content to your message before users read a single word. And though color psychology is not universal, understanding the basic emotional valence of different color stories and how they relate to your brand can help you make smart design stories.
Is your color story cohering with your brand message or is it turning potential customers off? These tips can help you better understand why color isn’t purely aesthetic when it comes to branding.
What’s The Story?
Many graphic designers come to the job with limited experience of the client brand. At the beginning of each job, then, they have to spend time studying the brand’s history, overall narrative, and their customer base. This information forms the backbone of decisions about color scheme, as well as format and other structural design choices.
One common mistake that graphic designers make when developing a brand’s color story is the failure to account for today’s mobile culture. The fact is that most people have unlimited data plans and surf the web largely on their cell phones, even doing most of their online shopping on mobile devices. For graphic designers, that means it’s especially important to consider how colors show up on cell phone screens.
Similarly important when considering the role of platforms in web accessibility is color contrasts. On a larger screen, a complex, monochromatic design may be appealing, but on a small cell screen, increased contrast enables easy navigation, makes text readable, and reduces user bounce rate. Your colors should tell a story but the rest of the brand messaging needs to come through.
From Theory To Practice
Most children learn basic color theory in grade school with the introduction of color wheels and complementary and contrasting colors; graphic designers, even those without formal training, often have a deep sense of how colors work together. But what does color theory’s application to a brand story look like in practice? Let’s consider T-Mobile’s cell phone plan page.
Across the board, T-Mobile embraces pink and black as the core of its color scheme, an interesting choice in a culture where pink is associated with very feminine traits. At the same time, black is typically associated with edginess and sophistication, adding a twist to the color story.
Considering that T-Mobile pushes a narrative of reliability based on their extensive network, it could be argued that the pink is meant to suggest an almost maternal support structure to the brand. They’ll take care of you. Simultaneously, the black base reminds customers that T-Mobile is still on the cutting edge. The color story plays both sides of the field.
Ultimately, making the right color choices for your brand is a sink or swim proposition. Customers form an opinion of a brand or product within 90 seconds, and as much as 90% of product interaction is based on color. Get it right and you’re set, but miss the mark and you’ll never get customers past the landing page.