Monday, October 05, 2009

Why you shouldn't use bright gaudy images on your website.


It doesn’t matter if you’re promoting an event, a product (hell even a blog) think of your image choice as more of a garnish for your content than anything else. If you choose a busy /bright image it will detract from the message rather than enhance it, it’s a bit like placing a sparkler in a glass of fine wine (and will have much the same effect in blinding the poor unfortunate victim of your graphics).

Bright colours work great on circus posters where they have to catch the attention of a speeding soccer mom in an SUV in order to convey a message, but colour schemes that can send a Geiger counter into meltdown are not appropriate to use on a website where you are trying to reinforce the professional cache of your organisation. I have decided against purchasing from companies based entirely on dodgy site graphics and dog shit colour schemes, and you may be shocked to learn I’m nowhere near as unique as my mum thinks I am. I am however, exactly as great as she believes me to be.

The use of gaudy images is a vicious spiral, with each new graphic having to outdo its predecessor in vibrant violence until you're in a situation where you have to make your user’s eyes bleed just to get their attention. The logical end of this downward spiral will involve breaking into the homes of your potential customers and tattooing your message on the faces of their kin. Of course there’s a guy in marketing that will STILL feel that’s not going to get the message across so you’ll end up having to do some sort of naked sacrificial dance on the beds of your terrified customers wearing the still-warm skins of their pets. Having spent a couple of weeks in America recently – and having been exposed to the one sided abusive relationship they call ‘television advertising’ – there’s a part of me that fears things really could reach such a low point before the decade is out.

Look at the big boy’s websites - I mean the really successful websites that even cave dwellers and residents of the international space station have heard of - you’ll notice they use slightly subdued colours that compliment each other rather than causing a migraine of stroke like proportions. These colour schemes designed to engender trust, a feeling that using your site is welcoming and comfortable, not that you're trying to shake a rattle in front of a distracted toddler. If you think the owners of these sites are wrong in using pale pastels and relaxed hues consider for a moment why they’re flying private fighter jets and forgetting how many super cars they own, and why you’re still driving that 1987 Dodge with the brakes that are about as effective as using breadstick weapons to repel Samurai hordes.

And if you use animated gifs or pointless flash movies then you are just like that kid at school who ate whatever he managed to excavate from his nasal cavities to impress the girls.