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Swatch and Learn
Written By: Wendy Ogryzek, June Bachman and Teresa Mitchell ~ 7/7/2008

bWyse wants to talk about color and your website .  Color styles change in web design the same as they do in the towel department at Macy’s -- the same is true of the internet.  What is a popular color today is a “dated” color tomorrow.  Remember Olive Green refrigerators and Pink porcelain in the bathroom?  

A few short years ago web designers were limited to only 256 web-safe colors, colors that monitors could safely display as the designer intended them to be.   The bonds of 256 colors were lifted with increased display capabilities of monitors.  Today, web designers have access to the full color palette.

Background Colors
As website fashions go, the hot background colors are plain and white or grayscale fades.  Pure and simple, a white canvas allows you to be bolder, more playful or downright cheery with specific page elements.   White backgrounds contrast with dark reds, blues and purple while lighter colors, such as yellow, pink, and lavender radiate from a black background.

Look to bold, exciting colors to draw the eye to a specific element of your website – logo, font and navigation bars.   Use color as a target for the viewers’ eye to hit, such as your “weekly sale item.”  Do keep in mind that while bold statements in color add emphasis to key points of your message, too much vibrant color can effectively desensitize your message to viewers.  Remember canary yellow pants suits?   
An Element of Design
Remarkable design is effectively enhanced by color.  Use color to evoke a specific response or emotion in the viewer.  Think of color as Musak for the eyes;  it can be effectively used to affect the mood of the visitor.  Jazz things up with primary colors or slow the visitor down with soothing blues and calming greens. 
The simplest way to update the “look and feel” of your website is by changing the colors.  You need not change your logo or the layout of your site.   Here are two extremely user- friendly tools to assist you in developing an attractive palette for your website:   This is a really cool tool.  Simply type in the URL of the image you want to develop a color palette around and the tool will generate two palettes – “dull” and “vibrant.”  We love this tool, especially when a client has a specific image or logo that they are using as their source inspiration!   Color Hunter is an equally user-friendly tool.  Instead of using a URL, simply upload a jpeg or gif image that either inspires you or that you want to use in your website to generate a color palette.  Think of it as a type of “color-by-number” approach to web design with no brushes to clean.  Yes!

Setting the Tone
bWyse encourages you to play with colors, not only because it’s fun, but because your site may become a greater representation of what you want it to be.  Visit the websites to which we’ve provided links.  Visit the towel department at Macy’s.  Visit other websites.  How do the colors speak to you?  Do they scream their message, or do the colors invite you to sit down and chat for awhile?  Find your inspiration in color! 

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