Free Web Design Tutorial: How to Use Color
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Color sets the mood for your web site. Web designers should pay attention to font and background colors. In this free web design tutorial, we'll look at how to use and how NOT to use color.
As a rule in web design, think for the visitor. First, try not to use a plain white background. White gives off monitor glare and harms the eyes. To reduce eye strain, use a dark or subdued foreground. Black is best, but this isn't suitable for all kinds of web sites. If you cannot use black or any dark color, pick a light gray or pastel shade. For a black background, we recommend a light grey text as a complement.
Second, avoid patterns and weaves. These are distracting. If you find a weave or pattern that you like, edit it for lower contrast and reduced hue/saturation. Also, use a thick font type like Verdana. Do not use Times New Roman with a background like this since it is a thin font.
Third, avoid colorful backgrounds. This is the worst sign of poor web design. A background should STAY in the background, not grab the viewer's attention.
Fourth, be flexible in your web design. If your site looks good only if it looks EXACTLY the way it does, something is wrong. Web surfers their own types of waves, so to speak. Experiment. Change the font size settings of your browser. Try overwriting your design with different system color and font settings. Ask your friends and family to try it in their computers. How does your site hold up?
Fifth in our free web design tips: Use transparent GIFs for irregularly shaped graphics and buttons. This helps your web design look fine regardless of the visitor's computer settings.
Sixth, do not use loud colors for a background, like red or magenta. These obnoxious shades do nothing but cause teary eyes. Use them with text only, for emphasis. Some otherwise nasty colors look good with certain other colors though. Yellow text on a red or blue sliding menu MAY look good against a black background. (But that's because people don't spend a lot of time reading menus!)
Seventh, stick to only one or two font colors at most. If you use different colors for text, your visitors may get confused thinking those are hyperlinks when they aren't. Red color is enough to emphasize text, along with boldface and maybe CAPS.
Eighth free web design tip: When you use a texture file for a background, make it low contrast with an image editor. It is good for avoiding that "flat page" look, but it can make your text harder to read if you use Times New Roman, Century Schoolbook and the likes. So ask others to test it for readability. Try different screen resolutions.
Finally, settle with a suitable color theme and stick with it. You can get ideas from free web design templates online with names like Ocean (blue-green?), Baby (pink-white?), etc. You don't have to copy these free web design sets, but do use themes that match your site's topic. If you're making a Wimbledon tennis fan site, it makes sense to add some green in there.
Color dominates life even on the Internet. Learn to use color wisely, and you send the right message to your audience before they even read a word on your web site. In this free web design tutorial we have attempted to give you some basic ideas to get you started in the right direction. Be creative and try to come up with your own color formulas.
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