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I am designing a corporate website for a software company, with primary colour scheme comprising of red, black and white.

Breaking away from this colour scheme will just look wrong, and I do not want to use neutral passive tones such as grey and black. I've read alot of articles regarding the subject and many contradict each other saying: its a warning colour meaning stop, and some suggesting it is infact the best colour for CTA's.

What's the general consensus?

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3 Answers 3

up vote 1 down vote accepted

You could do one of the following:

  • change contrast
  • make it bigger
  • add animations for dynamic color/contrast change

If the button is really important, such attention grabbing mechanisms are okay.

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Thanks for your feedback, much appreciated –  IronBasset Dec 20 '13 at 20:16

The best practice is to test everything, including this. What is pleasantly neutral or "in theme" with the site may be effectively invisible, or it may turn out that loud contrasts are unappealing. Split-test every choice you make in terms of design tweaks, and go with the one that gets the best results (conversions, order value, customer lifetime value, not getting fired, or whatever else matters to your organization).

Edit: Ideally, you would do user testing (i.e., watch groups of users try to complete specified tasks on the site and collect feedback) as well as split testing for any significant changes, as pointed out in the comments. But the great thing about split testing is that it's incredibly inexpensive -- you can test both huge and minor changes essentially for free -- so it can be done all the time, without the cost and hassle of full-on user testing.

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I too strongly support user testing. I would add that "split testing" is more commonly called "A/B testing" (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A/B_testing) if you need to find resources and tools on that. There are very good tools to do 2 designs on a page, define goals, and see which design works best (we use Visual Website Optimizer at work, I believe) –  cosmo0 Dec 21 '13 at 12:44

I beg to differ. Though red is a danger color, it is also the color that tells us at a sub-conscious level to take action. Sales are still advertised in red so are discounts across the globe. I think if you use it wisely, it can look good.

You can have transitions aid your cause or use color blocking along with transitions. I know these techniques are mostly effective offline, but its roots are found in art.

De Stijl, a Dutch artistic movement founded in 1917, focused on the essentials of form and color, attempting to simplify art to vertical and horizontal directions and only using primary colors, black and white.

You can do something with black and red.

Again, for me it works with trial and error.

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