Thursday, January 22, 2009

How to Use Colors in Your Blog

The first step in constructing an appropriate layout involves the color theme. You want to use colors that either match or complement your main website, or even just go along with your printed materials. Remember the value in branding, especially if you have traditionally been an offline company and are now moving things ahead on the web.

Color psychology can have a positive or negative effect on every single visitor that reaches your site, and you can make the most of your branding strategy by using special colors that evoke specific feelings. The following colors are generally associated with different emotions, feelings, and reactions in both positive and negative ways:

• Red: excitement, warmth, energy, and stimulating in the positive, but aggression and excessive visual impact in the negative. Red is a strong and powerful color, and can be used properly in subtle ways. It demands attraction and recognition, but can also be perceived as overly aggressive.

• Blue: intelligent, cool, efficient, and trustworthy in the positive, but unfriendly and aloof in the negative. Blue is essentially soothing, and the different hues can create a peaceful and serene feeling. However, it can also be perceived as cold and unemotional so you will need to pick the right tone to deliver the appropriate message.

• Yellow: confident, creative, strong, and friendly in the positive; depressing, irrational, and even fearful in the negative. Yellow is a very stimulating and energizing color, but overusing it or using the wrong tone can work against you.

• Green: balance, rest, peace, environmentally friendly in the positive, but bored, bland, and stagnant in the negative. Green can be used in very positive ways for a refreshing and energizing color palette, but too many dark tones can be perceived negatively.

• Orange: warmth, security, fun, and abundance in the positive, but frivolity and disorder in the negative. Orange is a very energizing color, and can also attract immediate attention; however, too much of it can indicate foolishness or not being taken seriously enough.

• Pink: femininity, love, tranquility in the positive, but weakness and inhibition in the negative. Pink can be soothing and attractive, but can be draining and overdone very easily. Avoid using it unless it clearly matches and represents your brand.

• Brown: seriousness and warmth in the positive, but lacking in 'flavor' or taste in the negative. Strong browns can be helpful as accents, but a site completely done in brown can indicate boredom or lack of creativity.

Using powerful color combinations is very helpful when choosing the layout of your blog, and most blog platforms offer 'color combos' so you make the right choice. If you are designing your palette from scratch, just remember the principles of each color's psychological impact and proceed accordingly.

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