Color Matters – Interactive Design Write up

Color is an important factor in web design, and can be essential to creating a website that is appealing and eye catching. On February 9th I attended an event titled “Color Matters” where Ivy Stevens-Gupta, an artist and marketing expert, gave a lecture on color theory and the psychological impact it has on people who view it.

Color theory states that color has an effect on those who view it, so color can really impact brands, websites, products, and others objects people may or may not want. Every color represents different things in different cultures. Some cultures see black as symbols of death and mourning while others see white as symbols of death and mourning. In the US colors have deeper meanings as well, Green representing greed and luck, Blue symbolizing sadness and strength, and Red representing anger and romance. Gupta states that if color theory is true, then when taking into account culture’s meanings attached to colors these meanings can be used to give a specific feeling for a product. Even without the meanings attached to the colors, the type can be used to deliver a specific feeling for a product. Warm colors can show energy and light heartedness while cooler colors can be more serious and relaxing. Red tends to grab the viewer’s eyes and Yellow has a similar effect. Triad and Analogous colors can also add to a product depending on which kind of feeling is needed for it. Triad colors would be better suited for something eye catching and full of energy while Analogous colors would be better for something more calming.

Gupta’s knowledge of color theory is also shown in her many art works shown at the Library the same day of the event. In Gupta’s work “Aquatic Symphony” you can see how she used a gradient of blue to purple for the background and used various colors for the circles to draw the eye around the painting, Red being the most vibrant color used.

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In the work “Toasted Marshmallow” Gupta utilized a gradient of white to brown to make the viewer see the painting as a toasted marshmallow

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“Glacier” is another one of Gupta’s pieces that utilizes color to give the impression of a glacier when the painting itself is not a glacier. Much like “Toasted Marshmallow” the colors used are made to have the viewer fill in the blanks based off of the title and see something that isn’t there.

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When incorporating all of this into web design, it makes the color choices for web pages more of an important factor than I originally thought. The first thought that comes to mind is how would the colors I choose impact those in other countries given the multiple meanings the colors have in different areas of the world, would they cause negative or positive effects? What about the feeling translated between using warm colors, cool colors, or mixes of the two? Do I want my colors to be more saturated or less saturated? Should I use multiple colors that compliment each other or should I use different shades of one color? Color is the main backbone to a good design of any product and it is no different when considering this in web design.

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