It’s Wednesday, December 19, 2018 in Austin, Texas

My Opinion of 2011 Fashion Decorator Colors

Beautiful or boring - will they work in websites?

The Obama Oval OfficeI remember a few months ago we got a look at the redesign of the Obama Oval Office in the White House.  Drab wheat browns and pale sepias had replaced the bright and sunny colors of the old Bush decor. It was quite a shock.  Was it more contemporary and sophisticated?  Was it just depressing?

The color scheme was definitely earthy and Earth Tones was one of the six new fashion colors for Spring 2011.  You are probably wondering what the other colors were... so here they are - Honeysuckle PInk, Blue (Sky, Navy and Aqua), Persimmon Orange, Pale Yellow and White.

Earth tones went from Sand to Santa Fe Red.  Sand (aka Sepia) is a very difficult color to do on the web because monitors shift sepia from "peach' to 'salmon'.  We have spent many hours trying to match a specific shade a Sepia for clients - it's a versatile color that is often requested in site designs.  I have found that people can have very strong feelings about Sepia shades.  I am not sure why.  An alternative is tio use a neutral shade of Gray.  Gray goes with just about everything, but it can drab down a site if their are no bright or strong contrasts - like white and black - in the design.

Many customers have strong feelings about shades of sky blue.  Call it "Baby Blue" or "Hospital Blue" and I know right away they hate sky blue.  Navy Blue is rich and subtle.  Almost every one likes it.  It's a traditional color that conveys trust and reliability.

Orange is a fun color that adds warmth and the taste of fruit to a design.  It goes very well with Navy Blues.  This year they are pairing Orange with Sky Blue, which I don't care for.

White works well with everything, you can't go wrong with white.

Pale Yellow is an odd color, I would only use it one the web with other pastels, Lime Green or Orange.

a hand with colorIn interior design Grays and Sepias are very popular right now - to my mind this is a throw back to the 70's.  Interior Designers are adding Aqua Blues and Orange as accent colors.  So, to return to the Obama Oval Office - the colors are spot-on for 2011, but are they boring?  I find the colors intellectual,  quieting and peaceful, but unemotional and detached.  They say Obama choose them and people say these colors reflect his personality.

I spend most of my waking hours working with color.  At night I dream about color.  Color is a passion for me and it always has been since I was a kid.  I tend to like and prefer bright, optimistic, outdoor colors.  I grew up north of Seattle and this has made the biggest impression on me, since the colors I like are a Pacific Northwest palette.  In contrast I also love the strong colors of the Italian Renaissance; specifically Perugino and Titian.

When I design sites I work closely with my clients to find out who the web visitors to site will be and what colors appeal to them.  We'll discuss what the function of the site will be and what the most important elements are.  Color should never overwhelm the content of a site, it should compliment it.  For a shopping site you always want your product pictures and marketing messages to jump to the front, not the background colors.

Well, that's my blog for today - some opinions on color - I hope it's been useful.

Bob Atchison

Austin Texas Web Design