While leafing through my review copy of The Web Designer’s Idea Book: The Ultimate Guide To Themes, Trends & Styles In Website Design , I realized that pink, like orange and yellow, is an unpopular color on the web. In fact, the safest generalization you can make about pink websites is that the owner of one is probably not an American.
Vandelay Designs has a nice list of pink websites, including some U.S.-based ones. I’ve worked on a couple of pink websites, including the one at above, which is no longer online. Read a little more about it in The Cute Website.
This is certainly the first thing that comes to mind for a pink website: something cute, girly, perhaps childish. Maybe a bakery or a site that sells little girls’ dresses. That’s definitely what we were going for when we hired designer Sean Sallings for the updated design at Vintage Virgo, shown below.
But what if you truly want to include pink in your website, and you’re not selling cupcakes or hair bows?
Your first step should be to think seriously about why you want to include pink. Good reasons include, “Because our logo is pink” and “Because testing has shown that our target market responds best to pink.” Bad reasons include, “Because it’s my favorite color,” “Because it’s the company owner’s/major invetor’s/major investor’s wife’s favorite color,” and “Because it will really pop!”
Got a good reason?
Then here are some ways to use pink successfully.
Mix pink with neutrals
We planned a website for Princess Robinson’s cleaning company at one point. Since her name is Princess, it’s no surprise that her logo included a pink Cinderella-style coach. Designer Jay Jaro came up with a silver gray website design that would showcase her logo and yet keep the effect overall sophisticated. Princess’s site was never built, but that pink and gray color scheme is classic.
Dark pink with camel or ballet pink with black are also classics. The site shown in the screenshot below, a new site offering health coaching for women, uses pink with brown shades throughout.
Add pink touches to a color scheme
We’ve used pink as a comforting touch, as at Homefront Air and Medical, where designer Tom Hapgood included pink and tan with the predominant heavenly blue to give a sense of calm to a stressful topic.
Almost all of the many photos that form the visual focus of the design contain some pink, but with no pink in the background or logo, this website doesn’t come across as a pink site.
Tone it down — or up
This shade of pink is called “Rose Smoke,” or, in web colors, #e6bfae. Check it out at Color Hexa for lots of ideas for how to combine it with other colors, as well as many darker and lighter variations on the shade. None of them says, “This site is for little girls!”
The point is, there are so many pinks that you can move far toward wine, brown, coral, or even white and still have a shade of pink. Suppose your company is in a building made of rose-pink stucco and you want to feature a big photo of your highly recognizable building on the homepage of your website. You could use one of the variations at the far ends of the spectrum to bring the photo’s color into the font, background color, or other design elements.
Most of the suggestions so far have been ways to finesse the pink. Maybe you don’t want that. Maybe you really want a pink website.The most cursory search for pink themes or templates clearly shows that there is a large supply, which implies a large demand, even if we don’t see them much in business.
Then go ahead. Make sure that your header, your content, and your main visual elements do a good job of making your primary selling points clear at first glance. Then use analytics and testing to make sure your site stands out rather than getting in the way of your success.