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Much has been written about the use of colour in web design. Back in the day there were stark warnings. Pick as few as possible, seemed to be the general advice, and be sensible about your choices.

I covered the main points when I wrote about colour and web design five years ago. A lot of that advice still stands up but there has been a definite shift, and nowadays it seems that more and more designers are embracing colour like never before. The polychromatic web is upon us!

The combination of flat design and blocks of saturated colour is certainly a winning combination from where I’m sitting. It's a trend that is perhaps underpinned by the growing number of devices with retina screens in circulation.

A strong, clever use of colour can be great for branded web experiences, web apps of various flavours, and agency websites. That said, I’m not fully convinced that this design trend is ideal for retailers with hundreds or thousands of product pictures, as too much colour can be overpowering, but no doubt there are some good examples out in the wild.

So then, here are 24 websites and apps that are not remotely afraid of colour. See what you make of them, and be sure to share your views in the comments area below!

Colourful blocks / tiles 

This is a definite web design trend, particularly among fans of flat design. Windows 8 has been rather influential, it seems, so let’s start there...

Windows 8

Piclab

Fizy

Fitbit

Calendar

Gary Johnson 2016

 

Weather app 

Weather widget

Sun

Yet another weather app!

Flat UI Colors

Ultimately, a lot of these examples remind me of colour palettes like this one...

Colourful bars

Some sites make great use of coloured stripes and bars. Here are a few examples...

Blue

I featured this colour weather app in a recent post on beautiful mobile design.

Coloured Lines

A super-colourful website...

Minimal Monkey

Svpply’s mobile app

Daily Routine

Colourful backgrounds and washes 

Some sites and apps go well beyond blocks and lines... 

Wacom

Scroll down and see the colour change. I bet you’ll want to scroll back up again.

Lowdi

 

Trinto

Triplagent

Blocks and washes galore, using gentler hues...

Red Bull Studios

 

Colourful cards

'Cards' are increasingly being used by web designers, for all manner of reasons, but perhaps largely due to the growth in mobile / smaller screens, and following on from the widgets that were all the rage in the Web 2.0 era. This is a good thing, I think. Instead of focusing on designing whole web pages, we should focus on designing the content and functional elements that make up web pages. 

Pravda

A responsive Wordpress theme that combines a strong use of colour with cards.  

 

Google+

An unused card-based design aimed at helping users to get the most out of Google+.

Colourful icons

I thought I'd throw in an example of how colour can be used to group different types of icons, representing different kinds of functionality and information. This sort of thing can be subconsciously persuasive, if you get it right.

Dribble (concept)

A design concept for a Dribble Android UI, featuring some vivid icons.

Branded colour coding

We see this a lot in the world of design, and here's one website that closely mirrors the colour of its product. Scroll through the products and the colour changes...

Purity By Monster

 

What other colourful websites and apps have you noticed recently? Do you think that this is a growing design trend that is might stay the distance, or will we be saying that "it looks so 2013!" in a few years time? Do leave a comment below! 

Econsultancy's Punch event is where 'Marketing meets Creative in the age of data and insight'. Curated by Creative Review, this event showcases the best of insight-driven creative. This event forms part of our week-long Festival of Marketing extravaganza.

Chris Lake

Published 17 September, 2013 by Chris Lake

Chris Lake is CEO at EmpiricalProof, and former Director of Content at Econsultancy. Follow him on Twitter, Google+ or connect via Linkedin.

582 more posts from this author

Comments (17)

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alan

Great article. I love the design

about 3 years ago

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Cru

My eyes!!! bombarded by lame trendy colors!

about 3 years ago

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David Aldred

One thing to remember when using a range of colours: accessibility.

My colour vision is not perfect (though it's not all that bad), and some of those designs feature white text on a light yellow background - I'm aware there is text there, but I couldn't read it.

Designers tend to be people with good colour vision; web and UI designers should be people who care about getting their message to users regardless of visual ability.

about 3 years ago

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Maryrose Lyons

What a beautiful post to wake up to! Some lovely examples in there. My faves: Wacom, Triplagent and that drop dead gorgeous Nokia Purity one.

The long lists are just out for the Irish Web Awards. Check out the entrants for "Most Beautiful Website In Ireland": http://webawards.ie/

about 3 years ago

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Seamus

It will be interesting to see how continued developments of this nature in web design impact digital advertising, especially Display. Whether it be banner size or the aesthetic landscape of the banners, it is something businesses and agencies need to keep abreast of when considering audience engagement.

about 3 years ago

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Andrew Scherer, Marketing Manager at Inspiring Interns

Inspiring Interns - http://www.inspiringinterns.com - redesigned their site about 18 months ago to incorporate four strong, distinct colours. They have addressed the issue of talking to two audiences (employers and candidates) by allocating each a core colour that applies across the website and other marketing material, allowing for clear distinction between messages while staying on-brand.

about 3 years ago

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Rishabh Datta

All the designs are just amazing, superb work.

about 3 years ago

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David - Web Designer

Websites today are really colorful, unlike the good old days where only a plain, dull text is laid upon your eyes after loading a web page. The same with our offline art and architecture, which changed and improves over time, unlike the old "stick" drawings from the past.

about 3 years ago

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Jenny

I really like the use of bold color. I remember when minimalist themes were encouraged. I prefer adding some dashes of eye-catching color. Very sweet eye candy here!

about 3 years ago

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angel del

colours are essentails for the website but need to focus on the ux design and ui principles of the site .check the site with good design and poor UX and UI http://www.jargonwebtech.org

about 3 years ago

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Jerralyn Tanoc

Wow, they are all amazing! I really like those colorful flat designs. Thank you for sharing this article.

almost 3 years ago

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Jerralyn Tanoc

Wow, they are all amazing! I really like those colorful flat designs. Thank you for sharing this article.

almost 3 years ago

COG IT Solutions

COG IT Solutions, Web Developer at COG IT Solutions Pvt Ltd

Its look really great and i can image that how much hard work did on this web designing from their web designers. Great job.

almost 3 years ago

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Martin Hall

I love the flat, colourful and modern GUI styles driven by touch controls and Windows 8. A throw-back to the good old days of the 90's when websites were charmingly simple in their look and feel.

I'm getting retro in my old age!

almost 3 years ago

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Erin @ Web Design Philadelphia

Wow, these are smooth and creative! I like the way you have enclosed these flat and modern design trends.

almost 3 years ago

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Maryrose Lyons, Founder at Brightspark Consulting

Well researched post. Thanks. Although nothing seems really 2014, it's all been around a while?

I love this one for video background: http://arttica.is/

over 2 years ago

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juliya martin, software engineer at ATEES Infomedia Pvt Ltd

wow... Great article... The different colors help us to improve visitors of website. Thanks for sharing this. I will try to use these trends in my next website design...
http://www.ateeseurope.com/

over 2 years ago

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