Style trends that designers use in web design change from year to year, as do the colour palettes that go along with them. So far, 2015 has become the year of vibrant colours. Hues like red, orange, pink and bright green, blue and purple have become a focal point and designers are pairing bright colour choices in a way that was almost taboo a few years ago. Also check out Pantone’s predictions for this fall.
Colour from fashion and interior design
Vibrant colours in web design seems to be taking its cues from fashion and interior design these days–with neons, bold prints and the high contrast of black and white with colour accents. When it comes to your home, colour is also a bold choice for wall coverings and furniture.
How colour is used in the physical world has begun to translate into the digital world. As described in Web Design for the Human Eye, “the goal of all design is to connect with the user – the more relatable the presentation, the likelier (and stronger) the emotional connection.”
Flat design played a strong role in the use of vibrant colour, with high definition technology making the rich hues possible. With more ppi (pixels per inch) on screens, the digital rainbow has greatly expanded to suit our evolving tastes in design aesthetics.
From desktops to iPhones, screens can now render all the colour options designers use today–and designers no longer need to worry about web safe colours (there were just 216 of them). A W3Schools survey from 2014 found that more than 98% of users had devices capable of displaying millions of colours, removing technology as a barrier to the creativity of colour trends.
Back to flat design–one of the key components of the trend is the abundance of bright colour. And while not everyone likes the simplicity of this trend, many of the colour choices and emotions users feel when interacting with these hues were highly desirable.
Monotone colour schemes
Monotone colour schemes are one of the easiest and most effective ways to use a lot of colour without creating a chaotic colour clash. Monotone colour palettes use a single colour with a mixture of tints and tones to create a unified yet nuanced visual design. Vibrant colour lends itself to monotone palettes because it allows designers to use a bold, maybe even unconventional colour without trying to match it to other colours.
This type of colour scheme also allows a company to use colours in ways that might live outside of their traditional branding without worry of matching or issues with readability.
High contrast refers to any colour that is very different from the background. Creating a minimalist web design against a black, white or gray canvas, points of great colour contrast become the visual centre of the design, telling users where to look at what to do.
Bold colour works well because it’s a complete opposite the starkness of minimalist design. However, applying too much too strongly, and your design immediately crosses the emotional spectrum and becomes loud and overbearing.
Common colour associations
When it comes to bold colour, it is important to consider more than just aesthetics–you need to think about meanings and cultural associations that are connected to certain hues. To help, here are some common associations below:
- Pink: Romance, youth, confidence, sensitivity
- Red: Love, passion, danger, urgency
- Yellow: Fun, optimism, happiness, caution
- Orange: Warmth, ambition, enthusiasm, creativity
- Green: Nature, luck, growth, safety
- Blue: Harmony, tranquility, trust, honour
- Purple: Wealth, power, spirituality, calmness
Daniel is an Art Director and Graphic Designer with over a decade of experience in advertising and marketing in the Greater Toronto Area.