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When a site's identity contains (or consists of) warm colors, would you also use warm colors as the main color(s) for its design or not?

The problem I find in using warm colors as the main colors in the design is that I can't use warm colors to get users' attention anymore for warnings, errors or anything else that needs to stand out in the design. And, from my experience, marketing people would never ever approve of a site that doesn't use the identity's colors in the site's design.

How do you work-around this issue?

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2 Answers 2

Use tone-on-tone

When challenged by a color palette that restricts your options try different saturation levels of the same basic color to do the basic design, and then you can use heavy saturation of the color to draw the user's eye in to elements like status messages etc.

Use a color wheel

Remember your design friend the color wheel. Choosing highlight colors from say an analagous or triadic point on the wheel might give you the level of visual impact you need, and again play with the saturation levels to play off contrast.

Keep the basic design reasonably neutral

Some of the most effective sites I've created have been based off neutral palettes where I then used the brand identity colors for highlights. Its really good when someone says "I don't like that color" and you say "But its the official brand color"....

Don't forget other design techniques

From Jon W's answer to this question...

The use of Contrast and Sizing is equally important. Call-to-action buttons, alerts etc can be styled to provide greater contrast against the main content, or can be sized so that they are more noticeable as well.

Totally agree with Jon W's answer. I would add to that change in shape as well, particularly on mouse events like hover.

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Great tips, thanks! I'll try them and see how they work for me. :) –  Mashhoor May 25 '10 at 12:30

Colours are not the only method to get a users attention, particularly when colour blindness issues are taken into account.

The use of Contrast and Sizing is equally important. Call-to-action buttons, alerts etc can be styled to provide greater contrast against the main content, or can be sized so that they are more noticible aswell.

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I'm aware that they're not the only method, but they're still very helpful/useful. Thanks for the tip though. –  Mashhoor May 25 '10 at 12:28

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