Rules for Using Red as the Primary Palette Color


Red is an incredibly powerful color. It signifies strength, passion, anger, and hunger, depending on the context in which it is used. Color Psychology describes it one of the most intense colors in terms of its effect on people. But the overpowering effect can make it less than ideal for your website. The overpowering effect can decrease responses to the content, and it can also make it more likely that people will shut down your site rather than stick around to read your content. Here are some rules you will want to remember when using red as your primary palette color.

Do Not Use Multiple Shades of Red

Red is one of those colors that should not be paired with other shades of itself, particularly in the main palette. Some elements of shadowing are fine, but using bright red, coral red, and orange red will result in a chaotic and hard to view web page. It doesn’t matter that these colors are technically in the same color family, spectrum, and saturation level. They conflict with one another, and they hurt the eye. The one exception to this is pairing a true red with a burgundy or a shell pink. Some conflict will still exist between the colors, but it can work. Just make sure that if you do this that one of the reds is dominant over the others, rather than equally balanced.

Use White or Black for the Font

Red as a background limits the contrasting colors for your font. Using blue, yellow, or green is distracting. “Color Psychology and Your Website” warns that the conflict becomes so intense that it might even create headaches. Instead, make sure that you use white or black font. These two colors are true and basic, making them clear against the background. The best choice will depend on the shade of red you use. For true red, white or black can work. Darker reds work best with white fonts. Lighter reds work best with black. You can make this work, regardless of whether you’re using a shoe store website template or a custom made template.

A Separate Category from Pink

Remember that red is distinct from pink. While pink and red generally do clash against one another, pink can be multi-layered without having the same effect. Coral red and pale red orange tend to be the lightest shades that are considered red.

When using a red palette, you can expect to have a very strong looking website. In fact, that strength may overpower your viewers so much that they cannot stay on the site for long. Using balance in your red palette is key. You will want to make sure that you don’t use multiple shades of red in the same design except in a few instances. Additionally, you will want to make sure that you only use white or black font. Other colors will be too hard to read. In designing this palette, also bear in mind that pink is a separate color from red, even though they are in the same family.


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