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Community Building and User Generated Content Forum

The Color Question:
Different colors give different "moods"...

 4:28 pm on May 28, 2004 (gmt 0)

I'm in the middle of re-working my entire site to give it a "warmer" feel. The layout isn't really going to change, but the predominant color scheme is.

Right now, its a mixture of greys, which gives it a bit of a harsh, techy feel. Fine for me, because I like it. I don't think its going over well with the intended audience, because its not a "tech" related site.

I'm moving towards more of a Sandy-color base, which may not be "warm", but it sure won't be as harsh as the greys.

I'm curious as to what people here think about color schemes, specifically as they apply to forums, and how they can affect your forums "feel", the traffic, and the first impression it give your visitors.



 5:21 pm on May 28, 2004 (gmt 0)

my suggestion would be to look @ women's magazines and copy colour schemes.

a good one is Sunset... its very friendly and warm feeling to me.


 5:43 pm on May 28, 2004 (gmt 0)

I like your suggestion, zigx - instead of guessing, see what some big-dollar operations have done. They've got graphic designers, marketing pros, even focus groups.

To broaden the range a bit, I'd look at the following kinds of things that might be read/used by your target market to identify possible color schemes and good combinations:

- magazines
- individual product advertisements in magzines or other media
- products and product packaging

I had a client bring in a beer can (empty :() as an example of the color scheme he was aiming for on his site. I got some weird looks with an open can of beer sitting on my desk at 8 AM, but his idea wasn't a bad one.

While you are looking at those idea-generators, watch for textures, graphic elements and symbols, etc., that you might incorporate into your design.


 5:49 pm on May 28, 2004 (gmt 0)

Here's an article on the subject...

Personally I like a forum that gives me the ability to change the colors to suit my tastes.


 6:15 pm on May 28, 2004 (gmt 0)

That's a great article. Another bookmark for me.

So the question is... do we want users to be energetic or relaxed? What mood drives people to particpate more. Is there a color that inspires creativity and helpfulness?

I definitely like websites that allow me to change the colors, but since most people don't know that it's even an option, the default color scheme is of great importance. Especially since if I really dislike it, I may not stick around long enough to realize I can change it.

One thing I don't like visually.... flashing images! Just say no to those ugly beasts!


 6:37 pm on May 28, 2004 (gmt 0)

Target audience is a major deal - I'd never choose a black backround for a forum because of readability, but it's the defacto standard for gamers & some other (mostly teen) audiences.

My guess is that the majority of users stay with the default style even if they have the ability to choose.


 10:47 pm on May 31, 2004 (gmt 0)

I'm in favor of board-ware which allows the user to select from a range of colorations, some with graphical backgrounds etc. and some without.

Which reminds me: I've tried in both IE and Firefox to "fix" the default here, and it won't let me. I'm not precisely "net challenged" y'know, so what am I missing?


 10:51 pm on May 31, 2004 (gmt 0)

BTW zigx:

Sunset isn't specifically a "woman's magazine". Many many of the pages in each issue are pointed to men. Sunset is one of those mags which has such a wide readership and appeal that it's practically unquantifiable demographically....

I've been reading it since 1964, when my parents first subscribed to it. Sunset, along with Real Simple, are the only two magazines my husband and I still retain subscriptions to, outside of the sports and hunting fields.


 10:52 pm on May 31, 2004 (gmt 0)

Hey grel -

Let me know when you have a test site setup, I'd be happy to take a look at the "colorway" for you. Among other things, I'm an interior designer....


 11:09 pm on May 31, 2004 (gmt 0)

Sure, I'll sticky you. The site is suffering from "too many other pressing projects" at the moment.


 7:52 pm on Jun 1, 2004 (gmt 0)

I like colors that "clash" if you will. For my sites I like Black on Orange, but they are in no way "loud". Text is white, grey and some greens are good with this. I like it.

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