When it comes to building your website, choosing the right color scheme creates a memorable user experience. Color plays a significant role in how we perceive the world, and it can greatly affect how we perceive a website.
In this article, we will discuss how to choose the perfect color scheme for your website even if you have no experience in design. Let’s get started!
Table of Contents
How to choose the perfect color scheme for your website
1. Get to know the color psychology basics
Color psychology plays a crucial role in marketing as it can influence consumer behavior and perception. It is based on the idea that colors can evoke emotional responses and associations. These associations are often subconscious and instinctive, developed during infancy and lasting throughout life.
While some color associations are universal, such as green with nature and yellow with the sun, others are cultural. For instance, black, green, and red are associated with envy by Americans, while Russians associate envy with black, purple, and yellow.
As many brands have a global presence, cultural associations are more important than ever. Using colors that have negative associations in certain countries can harm your brand. Thus, it is vital to consider color psychology when choosing colors for your brand and marketing materials
2. Understand the Color Theory
Color theory is the science of how color works. It involves a range of concepts that can help you choose effective color combinations for your website design.
Primary, Secondary, and Tertiary Colors
To start, you need to understand primary, secondary, and tertiary colors.
Primary colors are the three colors that cannot be created by mixing any other two colors. They are red, yellow, and blue.
Secondary colors are created by mixing two primary colors. For example, mixing blue and yellow creates green.
Tertiary colors are created by mixing a primary color with a secondary color that is next to it on the color wheel. Mixing blue and violet, for example, creates blue-violet.
Warm and Cool Colors
Another important concept in color theory is warm and cool colors. Warm colors include reds, oranges, and yellows, while cool colors include blues, greens, and violets.
Not every color you see is a pure color. There are many color nuances that can affect the color you see online.
Tints are colors with white added to them, while shades are colors with black added to them. Tones are colors with gray added to them.
Colors can also be oversaturated or desaturated, which refers to how bright or dull the color is.
Understanding these color nuances can help you choose effective color combinations that work well together.
3. Think about mixing color combinations
When it comes to selecting a color scheme for your website design, you’ll want to consider mixing color combinations. Depending on how many colors you end up working with, your color scheme might involve multiple color combinations. Understanding color nuances is critical in selecting the right colors for your website.
Color theory is great for telling us what colors work well together. There are five main color combinations to consider: complementary, split complementary, triads and tetradic, analogous, and monochromatic.
- Complementary colors sit across from each other on the color wheel. A complementary color combination will be composed of one warm color and a cool color. Red and green is one popular complementary pair.
- Split complementary colors are made up of a base color and two colors that are adjacent to the complement of the base color.
- Triads and tetradic colors have similar relationships. Triads use colors that are evenly spaced on the color wheel (like red, blue, and yellow). Tetradic colors are four colors comprised of two pairs of complementary colors (like red, green, blue, and orange).
- Analogous colors sit next to each other on the color wheel. As a result, analogous colors are extremely similar, like green and yellow-green.
- Monochromatic colors are simply variations of the same color. This is accomplished by using tints, shades, and tones.
Think of these color combinations as your tools. Since these combinations all work, you won’t have to worry that your colors don’t match.
When considering mixing color combinations, it’s important to keep in mind the mood you want to convey on your website. For example, complementary colors can create a bold and dynamic contrast, while monochromatic colors can create a more subtle and calming effect.
In addition to mixing color combinations, you can also modify colors to better suit your scheme. For example, you can adjust the saturation, brightness, and hue of a color to create a different shade or tint.
Overall, selecting the right color scheme for your website design is crucial in creating a powerful and engaging website. By understanding the different color combinations available and how to mix and modify them, you can create a color scheme that perfectly fits your website’s mood and purpose.
4. Keep your Color Scheme Simple
When it comes to choosing a color scheme for your website, keeping it simple is key. A complicated color scheme can confuse the eye and make it difficult for viewers to process what’s going on. Instead, opt for a few colors that work together to create a unified look.
One of the biggest benefits of a simple color scheme is effortless cohesion. With just a few colors at work, everything on your website will look unified, especially if you use one of the color combinations mentioned earlier.
Another benefit of simplicity is that viewers don’t have to work hard to understand your website. A great website is one that is easy to navigate and understand. If you go overboard on the color, your users will be more confused.
These simple designs have a huge impact. So, when selecting your website color scheme, keep it simple and unified. Your viewers will thank you for it.
5. Contrast Your Colors
When creating your website color scheme, it’s important to consider contrast. Contrast is one of the most important elements of good design, as it can draw attention to certain parts of the page and create impact.
Complementary colors, which contrast each other, work together well. For example, the orange call-to-action button on WordStream’s blue background is an excellent example of contrast in action.
Research has shown that buttons that stand out convert better, so it’s important to make important elements contrast from the rest of the page or at least from the design elements that are closest to it.
Consider using bold text or different font sizes to create contrast between headings and body text. You can also use contrasting colors for buttons or important elements to draw attention to them. However, be careful not to overdo it, as too much contrast can be overwhelming and detract from the overall design.
6. Integrate Your Branding
When choosing a color scheme for your website, it’s important to consider how your branding will fit in. If your brand already has specific colors associated with it, you can use those colors to create a cohesive website color scheme. However, if one of your brand colors has a negative connotation, it may be necessary to adjust your color choices.
It’s crucial to think about the color associations that people have with your chosen colors. Are these associations consistent with the values that your brand represents?
For example, if your brand is associated with eco-friendliness, using green in your color scheme would be a good choice.
It can also be helpful to look at what other successful brands have done with their color schemes. For instance, blue is a popular color for display advertising.
By integrating your branding into your color scheme, you can create a website that accurately represents your brand and appeals to your target audience.
8 Tools to Help Pick Your Website’s Color Palette
As you work to align your color scheme, there are a number of design tools you can use to better evaluate particular website color palettes and see which one works for you. Here are some of the most popular options that can help you get started.
Adobe Color makes it easy for you to explore different color combinations. You can select the type of scheme you’d like to generate, such as analogous, complementary, or monochromatic.
You can also explore libraries with beautiful color schemes and trends to help you find a great palette. Adobe Color is suitable for both beginner and intermediate users.
Coolors offers a variety of special features, such as the ability to pick palettes from a photo and explore popular options while generating your own palette. The site also offers add-ons and extensions to save and export your color creations. Coolors is suitable for intermediate users.
Paletton has created a color wheel designed for users of all levels. You can use pre-generated color combinations or use the wheel to generate the best color to match your brand identity. The wheel can help generate monochromatic colors, adjacent colors, triad colors, and tetrad colors, or you can select four colors in a freestyle. As you select your colors, you can see a simulation that helps you understand how the colors might appear on a website. Paletton is suitable for beginner to advanced users.
HueSnap allows you to select either a specific color and view all of the complementary colors and where that color will fall with different color palettes. Those who prefer to select a color combination based on a photo can also select that option. Your selections can then be shared across devices or with others. Site-generated color schemes can also serve as inspiration for users. HueSnap is suitable for beginner users.
Palettr operates in a slightly different way than some of the other tools. You can use the search tool to enter keywords that help communicate important concepts related to your brand. For example, you might offer “family” or “modern.” The site will then generate color palettes based on that theme. Palettr is suitable for beginner to intermediate users.
Canva Color Palette Generator
Canva specializes in allowing you to upload images and create a color palette based on the colors in the image. If you have a particular image that helps capture the essence of your brand, you can upload it to the site and extract the precise colors it uses. Additionally, you can also browse generated color palettes or work to generate your own. Canva Color Palette Generator is suitable for beginner users.
Khroma works to generate color palettes based on an algorithm that has learned from various human-made color palettes found within the digital ecosystem. The site has you select particular colors you like and then uses these preferences to generate palettes. You can also search for specific color combinations with different hues and tints. Khroma is suitable for intermediate to advanced users.
Color Safe can be a particularly helpful tool for website designers because it helps generate palettes that are accessible for all users according to Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG). Here, you can select an initial background color along with your font type and size and then select colors from options that will help you abide by these guidelines. Color Safe is suitable for intermediate to advanced users.
Choosing a color scheme can help brands create websites to attract users and encourage conversions. Working with a web designer, such as an independent professional through Upwork, can help brands tap into the full potential of color theory and color psychology—creating a scheme that aligns well with their message and attracts their target audience.
13 Most Popular Brands Color Schemes
Here are some of the most recognizable brand color schemes that have helped these companies connect with their audiences and stand out in their respective industries.
Mastercard’s color scheme is composed of different shades of orange, red, yellow, and green. The bright colors are associated with happiness and energy, which helps people feel positive about their finances.
Starbucks’ color scheme is composed of green and white. The green color is associated with nature, freshness, and vibrancy, which aligns with the company’s mission to provide high-quality coffee.
NBC’s color scheme is composed of a rainbow of colors. The colors represent the network’s mission to provide a variety of programs and shows to its viewers.
Ahrefs’ color scheme is composed of a dark blue and light blue. The colors are simple yet effective in conveying a sense of professionalism and reliability, which is important for a company that provides SEO tools.
Dunkin’s color scheme is composed of bright orange and pink. The colors are distinctive and serve as a pick-me-up in the mornings, which aligns with the company’s original intent.
Best Buy’s color scheme is composed of bright blue and yellow. The colors are timeless and work well together to convey a sense of trust and reliability.
Panera Bread’s color scheme is composed of a distinctive green and white. The colors are recognizable and work well on their website and every other communication dealing with their brand.
Hello Fresh’s color scheme is composed of bright greens in different shades, accented with white. The colors are associated with eco-friendliness, nature, freshness, and vibrancy, which aligns with the company’s mission to provide fresh and wholesome food.
Reese’s color scheme is composed of deep bright orange, yellow, and brown. The colors resonate with their audience who see happiness, excitement, something that tastes good, and is reliable.
Airtable’s color scheme is composed of red, blue, and mustard colors. The colors convey a sense of security, excitement, and optimism that the software delivers.
Burger King’s color scheme is composed of red, bright blue, and muted colors of yellow and orange. The colors work together to provide trust, excitement, happiness, and more.
Pampers’ color scheme is composed of warm and cool colors. The yellow and orange grabs attention and are seen as being friendly, while the variation of green/blue (aqua) is security, trust, and nature.
Hewlett Packard’s color scheme is composed of peach, yellow, purple, and green. The colors are used wisely to make their audience feel secure, which is very important when dealing with online functionality.
These companies have successfully used their color schemes to connect with their audiences and stand out in their respective industries.
Congratulations, you now have all the tools needed to create an engaging color scheme for your website. It may take some trial and error, but that’s part of the process. Any good color scheme will go through its fair share of iterations.
Start by deciding on the primary color that will represent your brand, and then choose a complementary color palette that supports it. Use color psychology to guide your choices and ensure that your color scheme is visually appealing and effective in conveying your message.
Remember, this knowledge will come in handy down the road. These design principles have many more applications than just website design. You can use them to optimize things like social media posts and infographics.
But for now, start with your website. Take the information you’ve learned from this guide and go crush it! You’re ready to make your site the best it can be.