"Less is more." Can that principle, credited to renowned architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe also apply to WEB DESIGN? Absolutely! A restrained or limited color palette often contributes to more effective and tasteful web design. Here's why:
Use of restrained, simple color palettes are an effective way to convey a sense of luxury and elegance to American and European audiences.
The "real estate" or viewing area of a web browser window is restricted, quite like being in a small room. Architects and interior designers will often use proven design strategies to make small rooms feel larger. Most often, they will use a restrained color palette in small spaces, with a preference for pastels or neutrals. It "opens up" small spaces making them more open and inviting. That design technique can also be effective in web design.
With the limited space we have for content in a web page, simple, clean color palettes using neutral or pastel colors has the effect of creating an open, "airy," feeling. Here is an example of this principle in action:
In this web design we wanted to create an enhanced sense of luxury and openness. We choose what is basically a one color palette. The tan base color is repeated on all pages of the site and provides a clean, simple foundation for the graphic elements in this design.
Even when the web page contains numerous elements, the restrained color palette makes the design feel light and open.
Color restraint is an effective way to convey a sense of luxury and elegance to American and European audiences. In the web design seen below, we restricted the overall color palette shades of grey. Red is used as an accent color, adding a bit of spice to the design. The efffect is clean, elegant, and uncluttered. We used subtle background texture to add depth to the design. This subtle element gives the page depth without using any additional color.
The bright red color in the logo directs the eye to what is most important in the design. The logo, or branding is the first thing your eye is drawn to, followed by the navigation at the top of the page.
When using color restraint, the placement of elements in the web design becomes much more important. Layouts demand a higher level of refinement. However, like black and white photography, color restraint trains the designer's eye to see tone and shadow as vital design elements that add drama and interest to the web design.