Content and graphics are important, but as any web designer will tell you, the color and color scheme you choose makes a big difference because it affects people in different ways. Red in particular can be very effective because it grabs viewers’ attention and is a call to action. Depending on the shade you choose, red can be used to convey different emotional responses.
The Symbolism of the Color Red
If you want to use red in your website, you need to understand what it stands for so you can put it to good use. Red is an intense color and is perfect for drawing attention, and it connotes passion, excitement, anger, beauty, love and other strong emotions. As one of the primary colors, red is perfect for designs or artwork that convey urgency or speed. Red isn’t just vivid, but encourages action which is why fast food joints and brands incorporate it in their logo and website. The color moreover, can be used to indicate urgency, emergency or an important message.
General Guidelines for Using Red in Web Design
Red should be used to get attention to a particular spot on your webpage and to encourage them to take action. Red can also be used to indicate confidence and style, and in small amounts can be used effectively. There’s nothing wrong with using plenty of red, but it must be done properly so that it doesn’t become a distraction.
You also need to consider the content of your website and how color can be used to relay its message. If the website is about a restaurant for instance, you can use red freely because it is an appetite stimulant. Different shades of red can also be used to highlight navigation, menus, text or any part of the website you want to emphasize. Red is also associated with risks, blood, fire, sacrifice and in some cultures it denotes happiness, so take that into consideration when designing your website. If your website has products or services that play on human emotions like excitement, red should be a part of it.
Red comes in different shades, some dark and others light, but what they share in common is the ability to convey mood, especially in as expressive a medium as the web. Research has also shown that vivid red shades are more effective attracting attention than other bright colors.
How to Use Different Shades of Red on a Website
True red, if you want to be specific in your website design, has an RGB value of 255, 0, 0 and its hex value is #FF0000. This specific shade cannot be achieved in CMYK, but the nearest is 0, 99, 1000, 0. But of course red is available in more shades other than the primary one, and it’s important that you use the right shade to achieve the desired effect.
If your website is selling feminine and beauty products, light and pale shades of red or pink will do nicely. Darker shades like crimson can be used for Valentine’s Day themed sites, holidays, love, fashion and more. Shades in the middle, neither too dark or light, can be used to express freedom and happiness, but depending on the other colors can express passion and fury as well.
In other words, different emotions can be conveyed with red, so you can use it in different ways. There is no specific “correct” shade to use since it depends on the products and services that your website is promoting. It should be stated that red usually isn’t used as the main color, although it can be in certain circumstances. Usually however, it is effective as a complementary color for particular areas. Unless you have a very good reason to use red as the main color, don’t, because as has been pointed out, it can convey different messages.
Working with Specific Shades
Bright red will grab people’s attention, so use it anytime you want to point the user to a specific area of your website. And if you use it with other colors, your website will have a sleek modern, professional appearance. Dark red on the other hand, can convey reliability and warmth. It can also be very welcoming, which is why red curtains and red seats are popular in movie houses.
You can use different shades of red to great effect, but there’s nothing to prevent you from combining it with other colors. Red and black for instance, evoke a sense of style. Red and blue on the other hand, provide a vibrant and “alive” feeling, great if you’re an artist or promoting a concert on your website. Red, white and black on the other hand, calls up different moods and feelings, but above all else there’s a sense of minimalism.
The most important thing to remember is that with red, you have a lot of choices, so you should feel free to experiment with various shades.