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How to Choose Your WordPress Theme: the Importance of Color

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First, the good news: WordPress has thousands and thousands of themes for you to choose from. Now the bad news: WordPress has thousands and thousands of themes for you to choose from. Sound confusing? You’re not alone. With all of the options out there, picking the theme for your site can be downright nerve-racking. Fortunately, knowing a few things about color theory can make the task much simpler.

Colors Mean Things

Ever wonder why caution signs are yellow and black, stop signs are red, and banks seem to love green hues? Extensive research by marketers and psychologists has found that different shades evoke various emotions and reactions. Red, as well as the combo of yellow and black, are strong attention grabbers. On the other hand, green suggests prosperity, especially in its deeper, darker forms.

Once you develop an eye for how this principle works, you can see examples of it throughout society. Police and other uniforms are often navy blue, because research has found that the color evokes feelings of stability and dependability. Dance clubs use mixtures of red and violet because they convey a sense of energy, and medium gray suggests professionalism and a strong work ethic, which is why it’s used for office buildings and cubicle walls.

How to Apply Color Effects to Theme Selection

First, decide on what feeling you want your site to convey. A family blog centering around vacation pictures and videos might look best with bright colors like teal and light yellow. A commercial site for a security company, though, would do better with the aforementioned navy blue, with a mix of gray tones thrown in for an overall neutral yet serious look. Find a theme with a color scheme that matches the atmosphere you want to create.

Match the Color to the Purpose

Here’s a list of shades commonly used by graphic designers, and the moods they’re intended to create:

  • Bright red – Power. If you’re trying to say “Hey, you! Pay attention!” then consider a theme heavy with this hue.
  • Bronze/dark red – Comfort, tradition, and affluence; association with the “finer things.” If you’re selling fine furniture, expensive designer chocolates, or other luxury items (other than cars) then this would be a good choice.
  • Pink – Romance, seduction, gentle eroticism. Not to be confused with hard-core porn, this shade suggests physical love, but of the wine-and-roses variety. A great choice for any site devoted to romantic themes or products.
  • Earthy – Refers to reddish-orange tones, often with a healthy serving of black or brown tossed in. Think autumn, with its changing leaves and warm colors. A perfect choice for anything related to environmentalism or “back to nature” themes.
  • Pale orange – Friendliness, casualness. A non-threatening choice that sets minds at ease and invokes a laid-back, welcoming feel. Great for leisure-centered products and services, especially when a soft-sell approach will be used.
  • Yellow – Creativity, energy, inspiration. Paired with lighter versions of blue, green, blue, or purple it suggests creative activities such as painting, writing, and sculpting. A natural choice for a site dealing with anything artistic.
  • Pale blue – Calmness, serenity. There’s a reason institutions that house criminals or mental patients paint their “time out” rooms in this shade. If you sell stress reduction products you won’t go wrong with this choice.

If You Want to Find Out More

This site offers a solid, easy-to-follow introduction to how colors work, with plenty of tips and examples. By using basic color theory principles, you’re sure to pick a WordPress theme that matches your goals for your site. Good luck!

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Comments (1)

Comment by siim says:

My site is currently red but i’m thinking to change it to yellow. Nice post though :-)

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