Learn how you can use red and pink in your store’s design for a striking effect, as well as see some examples of how other sites have made it work.
Hearts, candies and lots of kisses. Oh yes, it’s that time of year again.
Valentine’s Day has arrived, bringing with it the usual burst of websites suddenly sporting a red and pink color palette. But these colors aren’t the easiest to use together, and there’s more than one way this mix could fall flat.
So let’s check out some websites that are using these colors successfully and see what we can learn from them.
Using red in any design can be a struggle. Simply put, it’s a very strong color, often used to signify danger or caution. But it’s also used to convey passion and even intense energy.
Red as an accent color
Bell Helmets does an amazing job at using red sparingly. Their logo is an immediate focal point and they reiterate their brand’s color in important elements for user interaction such as call to action buttons, menu hover states, slideshow navigation links and their social media.
By keeping their site’s overall color palette neutral, they can focus exclusively on their photography, products and the red they’re known for.
Red as an overall palette
Milwaukee Tool takes a completely different approach from Bell Helmet. Their site is almost completely covered in their distinctive red.
So how do they keep the red from becoming too overwhelming? For starters, they break up the red immediately by showcasing strong, dark photography in their main slideshow. Not only does this make their site easier on the eyes, it also gives them a chance to showcase the red in their tools, reiterating their brand’s image.
Textures can also be a great way for you to subtly introduce different tones of the same color into your site without the risk of clashing your existing palette. Milwaukee Tool does this by adding a darkened texture to the site’s background, allowing the main content area to take the most visual importance.
Red used in other ways
Redington is a fly fishing supply company that uses red in a very similar way to Bell Helmets, but doesn’t give off the same industrial, high-energy feeling. By simply adding in some earthy tones and subtle textures, the site becomes calming and warm.
Simply adjusting what elements and colors you pair with your red can change everything from visual hierarchy to tone. Have fun with red, but use it with caution.
Pink, on the other hand, usually invokes feelings of love and compassion. It’s the color of warm cuddles, kisses and hearts. Although rarely used in a masculine way, pink still has a number of uses.
Pink as an accent color
Everyone knows Victoria’s Secret is known for their pink. But they’ve recently done a site redesign.
Their site is now primarily black and white, and their signature pink is only used in important details such as link hovers, promotional graphic headlines and backgrounds and their photography. By keeping the background and content areas white, they put all of the focus on their actual products and bold pink identity.
Pink as an overall palette
Sweet and Low may not have their site steeped in pink the way Milwaukee Tool uses their red, but they definitely let it take center stage.
The soft, sweet baby pink color is used in the navigation, call to action buttons, links and select photography while still maintaining balance. By breaking up the pink with large images and illustrations, they help create a contrast, ultimately drawing your eye back up to their navigation and any sweet spot that holds images of their product and message.
Pink used in other ways
NastyGal is a site where the pink is essentially toned down. It’s not nearly as bold as Victoria’s Secret, but it’s not as sugary sweet as Sweet and Low.
It’s subtle, modern and fashionable. Keeping the pink color neutral lets Nasty Gal showcase their bold photography. It also creates a more refined and elegant look.
In the end, thinking strategically about how you use these colors is the key to balance and visual harmony. Don’t overdo it. It’s just like getting dressed in the morning, make sure your colors don’t clash and you adorn just the right amount of bling.
-Kim Sullivan, Volusion