Learn color theory if you want to be a good developer

As web developers, we are building websites and color plays a huge role. If you are like me, you came up with a dozen excuses not to learn color theory:

  • I am not a graphic designer
  • Phew, colors are easy, I colored in 1st grade
  • No one cares about colors
  • I will just make the site grey and red
  • Monochrome is enough color
  • I will just my favorite color

When we first start building a site, we usually have the logo that dictates our brand / primary colors. Unfortunately, for most of us, that’s as far as it goes. We just slap them on the site by repeating them 10 - 20 times (if we are feeling adventurous, we might change the saturation) and call it a day.

Colors are incredibly important. You need to balance between your hues in order for the visitors to have a good user experience. Colors also help with accessibility - people with learning disabilities rely on them in order to work with our interface easier.

Not to mention the “call-to-action” buttons. You are probably thinking “I will just use red!” NO! What if the color palate of the site is blue and black? That red will look hideous. What if someone who is color blind visits the site? They will have a hard time finding the “Buy” button. That’s where contrast and color fallbacks comes into play.

When I learnt basic color theory I opened my site and I was apalled - what I did as a stupid developer was to repeat my brand colors E-V-E-R-Y-W-H-E-R-E on the site!!!! There was no hierarchy and top it off, my phone number was in pale grey on top of a white background!

It also helped me to distinguish between good and bad graphic designer. If someone sent me a mock-up with no color hierarchy, obviously this person was incompetent.

You don’t have to be pro, just learn enough to be able to choose and build your site using colors. At first it will be challenging but then it will become like second nature to you.

And if that doesn’t motivate your, imagine having a client who want to launch their serious political analyses newspaper and you choose yellow!