5 Things to Drive You Mad about Website Colours and what to do about Them

Andrea Palmer

Published Mon 28 Apr by Andrea Palmer in Perfecting Your Website's Design

Five potential pitfalls you may encounter when choosing colours for your website and how to address them.

Colour is the first thing people notice and the thing they remember most, about your website.

So how do you make sure you get it right?

1. Colours Are Biased

Colours mean different things in different cultures.


Whichever culture we’re from, we rank blue, red and green as our favourite colours. We rank violet, orange and yellow last in the spectrum. Get this right and eyes all around the world will be drawn to your site.

2. Colours Are Different in Different Browsers

In different browsers, colours can lose their vibrancy or contrast.

So our advice is: check the colours you have selected in a range of browsers before committing.

3. Being ‘Different’ Isn’t as Groovy as You Think

Unique is good... but not when it comes to colour.

Orange text on a yellow background may seem funky to you, but anyone who views it will have to work harder and probably won’t get beyond your home page.

Our tip: There’s a reason that the classic combo of black text on a white/light background has survived this long. And it’s not about to go out of fashion any time soon... so why reinvent the wheel?

4. Colour Submits to Peer Pressure

Consider: colour is fluid. Our perception of it changes depending on what other colours surround it.

I opened my tin of paint called Earl’s Gray and thought: ‘That’s not grey, it’s white! What a con!’

Then I painted the walls with it and noticed an amazing thing. Against the pure brilliant white of the ceiling, the Earl’s Gray showed up as this lovely, calm, dove-like soft grey. Enough to warm your heart and not a con in sight....

Our advice: Check your colour combinations in context and see if they fit.

5.Don’t Rest on Your Laurels

Remember: perception of colour is not set in stone. As time goes on we may have different cultural associations with certain colours, so keep an eye on current trends.

What do you think? Use our comments section below to share your ideas and suggestions.

Want to ask us anything, about the issues raised in this article, or anything else web-related? Visit our ask an expert page!

1 Comment on 5 Things to Drive You Mad about Website Colours and what to do about Them

  • Left at 14:28 Martyn Talbot

    My biggest web colour nightmare are sites that use unusual colour combinations for text and background such as red text on a black background.

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