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January 20 2014


From Fabric to Flat Screen: How Color Combination Theories in Fashion Can Help a Web Designer

One cannot deny how color combination theories in fashion can help a web designer. You see, clothing and web designing have a lot in common. Both require a great deal of effort in trying to balance purpose and beauty. The two fields also require a great amount of effort in making quality designs become tangible products. In clothing, the design should be transformed – using scissors, thread, fabric and needles – into a tangible, comfortable, wearable and fashionable outfit.

Meanwhile, in web design, the designer should be able to create – using images, text boxes, codes and typefaces – a browsable, comfortable and usable website. These two, being common in some ways, also possess the similar techniques in creating elements. Fashion designers should have a very good sense of color combination. They make the most out of every hue to make their clients feel good about themselves. In fact, designers take loads of time to decide which colors they are going to use for such creations. They employ careful selection and consideration of visual and analytic aspects to make their work more appealing to the eye. For, in the end, fashion, clothes and dresses are still visual.


Photo by: Michiel Schuurman


Photo by Madame Herve


Photo by Amelie Hegardt

It is in the same principle that a web designer must select his color scheme. Like fashion, web design is mainly visual. The eye is the main processing unit of the body which perceives what is flashed on the screen of the computer or mobile device. A good web designer knows which colors combine and which do not. The designer must remember that these combinations suit different occasions and circumstances.


Experiment with color schemes at color-scheme-01

What if you haven’t studied web design or multimedia arts? What if you are just an ordinary blogger who has an extraordinary dream of getting a lot of readers? What will you do? Fear not. The secret is simple: stand up, go to your dressing room and  look at your closet. Try to look at your clothes. Which fabric fits the color of another? Which combination fits an occasion? Which of these gazillion fabrics compliment each another? Choose and answer these questions. Then, transform those fabric colors into flat screen ones

. color-combination-web002jpg

Photo by Andrea of

But, in case you are too preoccupied, (or in semantic terms, too lazy) to open your dresser, here are some few friendly reminders:

1. Occasionalize

Here is an example: unless it’s Christmas, or your company color dictates so, do not mix green and red. Don’t make your website look like a Christmas present. Red and green mix well only when it’s Christmas time (or when the company or client dictates so). People might think of your blog as a Santa’s Elves Labor Union website. Your readers might appeal that they got the wrong present last year. To avoid this, apply color theories. Learn the techniques on using colors to fit the theme of your website. Having a theme gives you identity. It’s something that all products, either on the Web or in the real world would want to attain. If a person recognizes you because of the color of your site, then you have nothing to worry because your website can be popular before you know it.


The thing is, you should learn how to occasionalize. Fit a color for the occasion or the nature of the website or blog. Example, if you manage a bank website, use blue colors as they suggest trustworthiness. If you are running a spa, use brown or/and green. If you are into a restaurant business, better use orange, yellow, and red. If you are a car dealer, use black. Fit every color, hue and shade for every occasion. But if you are designing for a Christmas-themed website, better retain the red and green colors because there’s no other more appropriate colors for Christmas than those. Web designing is like dressing up. If it ain’t fit the occasion, might as well go naked.

2. Be a Fame-whore!

Be a fame-seeking-madman, in a good sense. Get attention. Crave for it. Be crazy about it. Use your colors to attractively get subscribers. Like in clothing, neon colors of red, orange, yellow, purple and green attract attention. It suggests urgency. It is very useful to convey important messages. In the context of web designs, you could use such colors in your buttons which require attention. Hook your prospect readers by attracting their eyes first. Provide a good bait.


Getting their attention is one way of making them read your blog. The formula is simple: get them to read a part of your blog. If they like that part, they might as well read every entry. So that’s why you should able to get their attention! Use bright colors for your subscribe buttons, read-me pages, or any page or button that will require the attention of your would-be readers. Remember: Bright is right! Just be careful with this and don’t make your page look like a book with Stabilo highlighters all over. Too many neon colors are blinding, irritating and uninteresting to read.

3. Background-foreground agreement

If in clothing, you need to consider your skin color in selecting hues for your shirt, we have the seemingly same rule here. When designing web pages, consider the text-background relationship. Now, most beginners have a hard time on this. That is the reason why we see a lot of photos superimposed with texts and the text becomes unreadable. The background-foreground agreement rule generally says that you should make the foreground text readable. The background is just a designing tool. It just decorates the main thing.


Photo from Pamela Geller’s Book Stop the Islamization of America 

You should always remember the general principle: light colored background to dark colored text and vice versa. But if you are using pictures as background and the color is varying, it is most advisable to use solid-colored shapes as background superimposed to images.

Sta Ana

Photo by Rudolph Musngi


Web designing and fashion have the same roots. They both come from the early concepts of visual design. It is very obvious that they should possess the same philosophies- and color combination is one of them. The ability to produce a design which has complementing colors is something a designer should possess. He should be aware that the colors that he will use will affect, either visually or psychologically, the quality of his work. Knowing, understanding and applying the rules of fashion in web design is very beneficial. Yes, learning the theories and concepts that make colors coordinate with each other is a very tall order; and yes, it’s a big struggle but it’s a battle that you should win. All of these hard-fought troubles in learning new things will make you a better designer. You’ll produce better designs, and in turn, more money. So, start learning today!

Though the learning process may be,you should out-battle this struggle. You should be able to pick up the important lessons of design and put them in your arsenal. And these will matter to you in the end.

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