How to choose colors for website design

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How to choose colors for website design


As a business owner, startup, or solopreneur, you understand the importance of a strong online presence. Because it’s 2023 and we both know it, my friend.

Your website is the crown jewel of that online presence. But have you ever stopped to think about how the colors on your website can impact your brand's image? 

The truth is, color is more than just aesthetics. It can evoke emotions, influence decision-making, and shape your audience's perception of your brand. That's why I'm excited to share with you my top tips for choosing the perfect colors for your website. Let's dive in and take your website design to the next level!

↘️ Psst…Want to learn more about how to choose the best colors for your brand? Check out the free series: Get Your Brand Together

brand designer working
brand designer working
brand designer working
brand designer working

So, why do the colors on your website matter?

As humans, we have an innate emotional response to color. Colors have the power to evoke feelings of joy, calmness, excitement, and even trust. This is why choosing the right colors for your website is crucial. Not only do they contribute to your brand identity, but they can also affect how your audience perceives your brand and engages with your website.

 

Imagine this: you're walking into a beautifully designed store with warm lighting, soft music, and a pleasant aroma. The ambiance is perfect. You feel comfortable and at ease. You feel inspired, happy, warm and fuzzy inside.

 

The same principle applies to your website. Your color choices can create a welcoming, inviting, awe-inspiring atmosphere for your visitors. But it’s not just about butterflies in the belly. When it comes to branding and business, here are some other compelling reasons why your website colors matter:

 

Enhanced User Experience

Choosing the right colors for your website can greatly enhance the user experience for your visitors. 

Colors can impact emotions, moods, and even behaviors. For example, using calming colors like blue and green can create a relaxing atmosphere, while bold colors like red and yellow can create a sense of urgency or excitement. 

By selecting colors that align with your brand and target audience, you can create an emotional connection with your visitors, which can lead to increased engagement, longer time on site, and ultimately, more conversions.

 

Brand Recognition

Consistent use of colors in your website design can also help to build brand recognition. 

When people see your brand's colors repeatedly, they start to associate those brand colors with your brand. This can help to create a sense of familiarity and trust, which can lead to more loyal customers over time.

 

Competitive Edge

Choosing the right colors for your website can also give you a competitive edge. 

By differentiating your brand with unique and memorable accent colors throughout, you can stand out in a crowded market and attract more attention from potential customers.

 

The facts & your feelings:

Let’s roll in some color psychology facts that will change your mind about how important colors really are for web design:

  • Users form opinions about products within 90 seconds, mostly based on color.

  • 60% of users' acceptance or rejection of a product is due to its colors.

  • Ads in color are read 42% more than those in black and white.

  • The logo color is often the first thing a customer notices when they see a brand.


three colors


Understanding Color Theory and Psychology

Before we get started on choosing colors for your website, let's talk about the basics of color theory and psychology

Don't worry, we won't get too technical here. 

 

Color theory is the study of how colors interact with each other and how they can be combined to create a harmonious color scheme. By understanding these types of color schemes and theory, you can create a cohesive color scheme for your website that looks professional and visually appealing.

 

Now, let's talk about the psychology of color.

This refers to the emotions and feelings that colors can evoke in people. For example, blue is often associated with trust and reliability, while green is associated with nature and growth. 

By understanding the psychology of color, you can see how to choose colors that align with your brand values and personality and appeal to your target audience.


color wheel


Hello, color wheel!

When it comes to choosing colors for your website, understanding the color wheel can be incredibly helpful.

The color wheel is a visual representation of the relationships between colors. It's divided into three color categories: primary color, secondary, and tertiary colors.


primary colors


Primary Colors

The primary colors in the color wheel are red, blue, and yellow. These colors cannot be created by mixing other colors together, and all other colors can be created by mixing these three primary colors.


secondary colors


Secondary Colors

Secondary colors are created by mixing two primary colors together. The secondary colors are green (a mix of blue and yellow), purple (a mix of blue and red), and orange (a mix of red and yellow).


tertiary colors


Tertiary Colors

Tertiary colors are created by mixing a primary color with a secondary color. Examples are yellow-green, blue-green, blue-purple, red-purple, red-orange, and yellow-orange.


complementary colors


Complementary Colors

Complementary colors are colors that are opposite each other on the color wheel. For example, red and green, blue and orange, and yellow and purple are complementary colors.

Using complementary colors in your website design can create a visually striking effect. But remember, it's important to use them in moderation to avoid overwhelming your audience.


analogous colors


Analogous Colors

An analogous color scheme are colors that are next to each other on the color wheel. For example, blue, blue-green, and green are analogous colors.

Using analogous colors in your website design can create a harmonious and cohesive website color scheme. This can be especially effective if you choose colors that are in the very same color family, such as light blue, medium blue, and dark blue.


triadic colors


Triadic Colors

Triadic colors are three colors that are equally spaced on the color wheel. For example, red, yellow, and blue are triadic colors.

Using triadic colors in your website design can create a bold and dynamic color scheme. But again, too much makes it overwhelming.


illustration shapes


How to choose colors for your website design

Picking colors that are aligned with your brand identity should always be your number 1 priority, but there are also some best practices to consider when choosing colors for your web design. Let’s have a look at some of them now:

 

Your brand identity should be the starting point for choosing colors for your website. 

Before you start designing your website, choose a palette that complements your brand's values and personality.

 

The colors you use on your website should be consistent with your brand identity to establish a cohesive and recognizable online presence. 

 

Consider the personality of your brand, as well as your values and mission.

 

If your brand is playful and fun, consider bright and warm colors like red, orange, and yellow. If your brand is sophisticated and insightful, consider muted and cool colors, and neutral colors like navy blue, gray, and beige. SeeFeel the difference?



Psst…Learn more about how to choose the best colors for your brand and access a free tool inside Get Your Brand Together: download the workbook!



Here are a few tips to help you pick colors in alignment with your brand's personality:

  1. Define Your Brand Attributes: Start by identifying the key attributes and emotions you want your brand to evoke. This will guide your color choices and ensure consistency throughout your brand.

  2. Explore Color Associations: Research the meanings and associations of different colors to understand how they align with your brand's values and messaging. Choose colors that reflect the desired emotions and perceptions you want to evoke.

  3. Create a Harmonious Palette: Select a cohesive color palette that works together harmoniously. Consider using color theory principles, such as complementary or analogous colors, to create visual balance and impact.

  4. Test and Refine: Don't be afraid to experiment and iterate. Test different color combinations to see how they resonate with your audience and align with your brand's identity. Monitor the impact and make adjustments as needed.

 

A color palette typically consists of color combinations of three to five colors that work well together (the less, the better to start things off!). A monochromatic color scheme is a color palette that consists of different shades, tints, and tones of a single color. In other words, a monochromatic color scheme incorporates the different colors found within one hue.



How to use your colors effectively

Use color to create contrast

Contrast is essential in website design because it helps the user differentiate between different elements on the page. It's also great for color accessibility!

You can use your primary color to create contrast by using complementary or contrasting colors, which are colors that are opposite each other on the color wheel. For example, if your primary color is blue, you can use orange as a complementary color.

 

Use color to guide the user's attention

Color can be used to guide the user's attention to the most important elements on the page. 

Use the color schemes to create a hierarchy of information by using a brighter, more vibrant color for the most important elements and a more subdued color scheme for elements that don't have to be so prominent.

 

Use color sparingly

Yep, less is more! While color is essential in website design, don’t overdo it.  Keep your color scheme simple.

Too many colors in web design can be overwhelming and distracting. Stick to your color palette's hex codes and use color sparingly to create a clean and cohesive web design.

 

Test your color choices

Finally, it's essential to test your color choices to ensure they work well together and are accessible for all users, including those with color blindness. 

Use tools like WebAIM's Contrast Checker or the Adobe accessibility tool to test the contrast between your colors and make sure they meet accessibility standards.

 

 

Color combos everybody loves

When you pick colors for your website, there's no question about it: every choice should be intentional, based on your business's core values, your mission, vision and your story.

But, there's no denying some color pairs work better than others! Here are some color combinations that everybody adores:


black and white tiles


Black and White

There's something about the classic combination of black and white that exudes sophistication and elegance. It's a timeless color scheme that can be used in a variety of design styles, from minimalistic to bold and dramatic. The high contrast between black and white makes it easy to read text and draws attention to key elements on the page. Use this color combo to convey a sense of straightforwardness, professionalism and class.


blue and green tiles


Blue and Green

Blue and green are calming colors that are often associated with nature. They work well together to create a relaxing and peaceful atmosphere, making them perfect color combinations for brands that evoke a sense of trust, stability, and growth.


purple and yellow tiles


Purple and Yellow

Purple and yellow are complementary colors that create a striking and visually appealing color scheme. This color combination is often used in the beauty and fashion industry to create a sense of playfulness and creativity. It can also be used to convey a sense of royalty, luxury and joy.


orange and blue tiles


Orange and Blue

Orange and blue are complementary colors that create a dynamic and energetic color scheme - a warm and a cool color together! They are often used in sports and fitness websites. This color combination can also be used to convey a sense of professionalism and creativity.


Examples of brands’ websites with ah-mazing website color schemes

Coming next: real-world examples of websites that apply the perfect color scheme to convey their brand values and appeal to their target audience:


marie forleo website color scheme


Marie Forleo

Queen Forleo keeps her primary and secondary colors simple and elegant online. Her website has a consistent color scheme of black, white, and cream, which reflects her brand's values of elegance and sophistication. The use of cream as accent colors adds a touch of warmth to the site, and the black and white palette keeps it straightforward, clean and modern. Her call outs are usually bordered in green-yellow or pink. This ensemble allows for less distraction, so the audience focuses on the messaging.


ritual website color scheme


Ritual

Ritual is a brand that uses bright yellow as its primary color, which immediately grabs your attention when you visit its website. The yellow color creates a sense of warmth, optimism, and energy that aligns with the brand's mission to make high-quality vitamins accessible and approachable for everyone. They keep the rest of their website minimal, using a lot of white space to make the yellow stand out even more. The fonts they use are in a dark blue color, which contrasts nicely with the yellow. The classic complementary color scheme.


hello fresh website color scheme


Hello Fresh

Hello Fresh is a meal delivery service that has become increasingly popular in recent years. Their website colors (including photography!) create a sense of freshness. The site uses a bright color palette of green, orange, pink and a white background, which is consistent with the brand's values of health and sustainability. The bright and vibrant colors get you hyped up and excited.


jenna kutcher website color scheme


Jenna Kutcher

Jenna's website features a warm and friendly color scheme, with shades of yellow, orange, and beige. Monochromatic color schemes like this website's color scheme are attractive, yet relaxing. These types of color palettes represent joy and excitement which aligns with Jenna's brand personality. The use of these warm and inviting colors creates a welcoming and supportive environment for visitors.


brand designer picking inspiration


Your next step!

Choosing the right colors for your website can be time-consuming, but by understanding color theory and psychology, and considering your brand and target audience, you can create a color scheme that is authentic, professional and impactful. 

But hey, we all need an expert web designer in our corner, right? Lucky for you, I’m by your side, every step of the way. 

If you're DIYing your brand and website design, check out my two free trainings: Get Your Brand Together (start here!) and Get Your Website Together.

And, if you would love to get some eyeballs on your colors and website, check out my mini offering: Loom Check-Ins so we can finally nail your color palette and get the job done ✔️

Ready? You SO are! See you on the other side, friend!