When you are designing your site, how do you know what colours are suitable to pick? What makes a good colour scheme and what makes a nightmare of a colour scheme?

The background – For a start, look at the background of your web site page. Are you trying to say that yours is a bright, vibrant company and selecting colours that match this outlook on business? Well that is where you must not go! You might think that bright colours match your company’s outlook on business, but very rarely and just if you are a top quality designer will a brightly coloured background work.

Regardless of how fun you think your company needs to be made to look stick instead to the ‘normal’ background colours. White hardly ever fails and a black background might look stunning, especially if you are trying to show of photographs directly against the black background.

If you do want to add a touch of colour light shades of grey and stronger shades of red, green, blue etc can also work well for most sites.

Panel colours – To highlight areas you will perhaps want to put a different colour background on the main areas of the site. On the whole, when the background has a colour the panel background is probably going to be white as this makes it far simpler to read the text against the white panel background. For a splash of colour and interest on the page you can use in these positions lighter colours. Very pale blues, greens, reds, yellows and so on still make the text more than it readable, but the hint of colour might give an interesting appeal to the page.

Text colours – The vital element of this choice is to be sure that that the text remains readable. Unless you are placing text onto a dark background, then black is practically always readable, but unless there is a lot of interest elsewhere on the page through images, graphics and pictures, it might sometimes seem a little less than exciting.

For this I like to borrow a darker colour out of the logo as a starting point to work from for the main text area if black is not looking exciting enough. But, you do not need to change the entire text to an exciting colour, only the headers, links and so on will give enough lift to the page to make it interesting. Perhaps even give the bold text a different colour scheme.

It must match! – Whatever you do the colour palette of the page must match. For ideas on a full colour palette you could pick merely one colour that you want to include in the web site, say from your logo, and then type in the colour name to Google and make some searches for colour palettes that include that colour. Even only changing the colour from a light blue to a lighter blue could sometimes affect the entire colour palette that will work well together, there are never hard and fast rules that certain colours always work.

Written by Keith Lunt, who offers a Southport web design service. For more useful tips about good web design call into the blog.

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