After getting to know your client and his/her preferences, becoming aware of the emotional feeling you want to establish with your web design and having chosen the colour theme, you need to start thinking of shapes.
Know thy shapes
In addition to colour, shape has a scientifically proven effect on people. Round shapes feel more feminine and artsy. Shapes with sharp corners and angles feel more masculine. Techie websites use a lot of angles in interface elements and appeal more to men than women. The effect can be mitigated by the use of colour. An interface with angles and sharp corners that uses a pastel green or even a light pink will not look masculine but it will look more masculine than the same interface with slightly rounded angles and shapes.
Website designs with swooping curves are more feminine and organic. A combination of masculine and feminine works well for dental websites â€“ swooping shapes and conservative blues (the colour mentioned earlier â€“ slightly darker than sky blue) works well to appeal to both men and women. Medical websites usually use flat colour without embossing or drop shadows and tend to be angular with minimal curves and a white background because the central theme of such sites is cleanliness and medical precision.
Curved shapes with green work well for health spas, feminine beauty products and eco-friendly products. Corporate designs use a lot of mid-blue and mid-green and use both curves and straight shapes. Feminine shapes appeal to both men and women. Masculine shapes appeal more to men but also appeal to some women.
Banks almost never use curves except perhaps in featured ads and graphics - except perhaps to slightly round out the corners of rectangular interface elements ... and no more than a 5 pixel arc at that!