Color has the power to make your web design pop, establish your brand identity, improve user experience, and even influence consumer behavior. These hot and cool tips will help you choose the right colors to accomplish your website’s goals. 

What is a Website Color Scheme?

A website color scheme refers to every color that appears anywhere on your website. This includes everything from the logo to the background to the text, buttons, and even photos. Together, they shape the look and feel of your website. 

Why Website Color Schemes are Important

The color palette your website is about more than aesthetic taste. Here are some of the reasons why it’s worth it to carefully and thoughtfully plan your color scheme. 

Aesthetic

Choosing the right color scheme for your website is a great way to give viewers a good first impression.

People like pretty websites better than ugly ones.

Not only do visitors not want to spend time looking at a website that doesn’t look good, but a poorly designed website can make you look like a scammer. A unified color scheme not only looks good, but shows that you put time and effort into your website. 

Brand Perception

Colors can send a message about your brand beyond “this one is pretty” and “this one is ugly.” Color psychology studies have determined what traits US consumers associate with colors. Here are some common examples:

Red

  • Speed
  • Urgency
  • Energy
  • Passion
  • Elevated Heart Rate
  • Frequently used on sale and clearance signs

Orange

  • Optimism
  • Happiness
  • Aggression 
  • Action
  • Often used on Call to Action buttons

Yellow

  • Warmth
  • Positivity
  • Youth
  • Optimism
  • Attention-grabbing

Green

  • Wealth
  • Health
  • Nature
  • Relaxing
  • Often used for health and wellness companies

Blue

  • Trust
  • Security
  • Serenity
  • Frequently used in tech and banks

Purple (Violet)

  • Creativity
  • Wisdom
  • Confidence
  • Soothing
  • Often used for beauty products

Pink

  • Creativity
  • Exuberance
  • Romance
  • No longer exclusively associated with women’s interest products

Brown

  • Warmth
  • Honesty
  • Down-to-Earth
  • Often used for vintage goods

Black

  • Power 
  • Luxury
  • Modernity
  • Frequently used for luxury goods

White

  • Minimalism
  • Transparency
  • Simplicity
  • Frequently used in tech

Grey

  • Maturity
  • Authority
  • Rarely used on its own or as a main color 

You can choose colors based on how you want visitors to perceive your website. Blue is typically considered the safest choice since it’s associated with trust and security and because it’s a lot of people’s favorite color. This is why a lot of tech companies and banks use blue for their logos. 

That doesn’t always make it the best choice though. If your brand centers around health and wellness of nature, green is the best choice for that association. If you want to appeal to impulse shoppers, red or orange could serve you well.

Functionality

Design and color choices also affect the user experience of your website. Buttons, links, and other interactive elements should be easy to spot. Color is one of the most effective ways to accomplish that. You can’t miss an orange CTA button on a white background. 

However, for the sake of accessibility make sure color isn’t the only way you’re communicating information. Colorblind people need to be able to use your website just as easily as people with typical color vision. Effectively labeling your infographics and choosing contrasting colors can make that happen. If you have any doubts, try printing out your pages in black and white to make sure you can clearly understand them. 

Conversion

The principles of color psychology also mean that colors can influence consumer behavior. Using red or orange for CTA buttons leads to more sales than blue or purple. 

Simplify Design-Related Choices

Creating a color scheme may seem tedious now, but it will save you time down the road when you need to choose the color for something new, whether it’s for your website or something else related to your business. 

Brand Recognition

Who can think of McDonald’s without picturing their red and yellow logo and packaging? Or Facebook without their signature blue and white? UPS even mentions their dominant color in their slogan. Though your company may not reach this kind of international fame, the same principle can apply to you. 

Examples of Website Color Schemes to Inspire You

Before you get started on your own website color scheme, take a look at these examples from the pros and see just how varied good color schemes can be. 

 

Hemp Hop's homepage with each color used and their HEX codes on the side

Hemp Hop’s color scheme is a great example of using greens and earthy tones to communicate health and wellness. 

 

Clothing company Fay's website with each color used and their HEX codes on the side

Some people think neutral colors are boring. This color scheme for Fay uses them to convey sophistication, fashion, and class. 

 

A landing page for Spotify's Valentine's Day campaign with each color used and their HEX codes on the side

This campaign from Spotify doesn’t shy away from bright pastel colors to grab the viewer’s attention. As you can tell by the title text, the theme is love, so choosing shades of pink makes sense. 

 

Bank N26's homepage with each color used and their HEX codes on the side

N26 uses a color scheme that makes perfect sense for a bank. The main color is teal, which combines blue for security and green for wealth. The lighter green is bold, yet easy on the eyes. The white space creates a clean, organized look. 

 

Athletic shoe company Diadora's website with each color used and their HEX codes on the side

Diadora uses bright yellow to create a striking contrast against the dark, earthy tones to let you know that they’re nature-y but they’re also exciting. The yellow draws the viewer’s eyes exactly where the designer wants them to be. 

 

Sirin Labs' homepage with each color used and their HEX codes on the side

Sirin Labs is clearly going for a futuristic look with the dark background and light foreground and text. 

 

Pharell Williams' website with each color used and their HEX codes on the side

Pharrell Williams is a whimsical entertainer. It only makes sense that the colors on his website would also be fun, bright, and whimsical. This is also a website that isn’t afraid of white space. 

 

Product page for Exteta's 1964 armchair with each color used and their HEX codes on the side

This product page from Exteta showcases their elegant, minimalistic aesthetic. The contrast between the neutral background color and the pops of red are understated, but appealing. Not putting any other objects in the background also makes sure viewers are paying attention to the chair. 

Color Theory vs. Color Psychology

Color theory tells us where on the color wheel colors that go well together are located relative to each other. It standardizes something that many people think is simply a matter of taste and eyeballing it. When you learned about primary colors and mixing them together in childhood, you were learning the most basic elements of color theory. 

Color Psychology concerns associations that the brain draws between colors and how they are influenced by cultural factors. Both of these concepts combined can help you pick colors that will appeal the most to viewers. Though yes, beauty is in the eye of the beholder, appealing to the most popular preferences for colors and putting your own twist on the design is the way to go for designing a website when the goal is to convert as many visitors to customers as possible. 

Create Your Own Website Color Scheme

Creating your own color scheme for your website and business may sound tedious, but it doesn’t have to be hard. Here are some practical steps to get you started. 

Consider Your Target Audience

Color associations are not universal. Culture, age, and life experiences all affect how people perceive colors. Here are some notable examples of colors that carry different symbolism in other countries than in the United States

  • Red represents good fortune in China, but mourning in South Africa
  • Orange represents spirituality in Buddhist-majority countries
  • Green is the sacred color in Islam
  • Purple signifies wealth and nobility in many cultures, but represents death and mourning in Brazil
  • Pink signifies trust in Korean culture
  • White is the mourning color in many East Asian cultures

Blue is associated with trust and serenity in almost every culture, which makes it the safest color choice for companies with international audiences.

Creating a Color Palette

Find Your Primary Color

The first step is to choose the main color that will dominate your brand’s design. This will typically be the color of your logo. Choose it based on the traits you want people to associate with your company. 

Decide On The Number of Colors

Next, decide on a number of colors. Most common color schemes use two, three, or four colors. 

Choose Your Secondary Colors

Next, choose the rest of your colors. Secondary colors are a mix of two primary colors. Think purple, orange and green. Tertiary colors are a mix of a primary color and a secondary color like red-orange, yellow-orange, yellow-green, blue-green, blue-violet, and red-violet.

Here are a few common methods for choosing color combinations that go together: 

Analogous 

An analogous color scheme uses colors that are next to each other on the color wheel. This can be difficult to do for beginners, as similar colors can easily overpower each other and color contrast between the background and text is important on websites for readability purposes. But if you find the right balance by changing the tints, the results could be vibrant and eye-catching.

A color wheel showing an example of an analogous color scheme

Monochromatic

A monochromatic color scheme has one main color in different shades. This is the easiest type of color scheme to create and results in a simple, understated look. However, it’s not the best idea for every website. 

A color wheel showing an example of a monochromatic color scheme

Complementary

A complementary color scheme includes colors that are directly opposite of each other on the color wheel. Complementary colors create a high contrast look, which makes them a great choice for websites and brand colors. 

A color wheel showing an example of a complimentary color scheme

Triadic

A triadic color scheme uses three colors that are 120 degrees apart on the color wheel, making a triangle. Triadic color schemes are balanced and harmonious. 

A color wheel showing an example of a triadic color scheme

Rectangle/Tetradic

A rectangle or tetradic color scheme uses two pairs of complementary colors that are separated by at least one color. It will look like a rectangle on a color wheel. 

A color wheel showing an example of a tetradic or rectangle color scheme

Achromatic

An achromatic color scheme uses exclusively black, white, and grey. An all black and white website may not be a good idea, but throwing in a bright accent color against an otherwise achromatic scheme can have a cool effect. 

Don’t Forget Your Neutral Colors 

Neutral colors are greys, browns, blacks, and whites. They may not be as exciting, but they’re a crucial part of any color scheme. They’re the colors for the body text. Sometimes they’re for the backgrounds. 

Neutral colors are great for text and backgrounds. Logos should be primary or secondary colors. 

Applying Your Scheme to Your Web Design

If you’re using three colors, aim for a 60-30-10 breakdown. One color should take up 60% of the design, another should take up 30%, and the last color should take up 10%. 

Your primary colors should go on the sports on your website where you want to draw the viewers’ attention such as:

  • Calls to action
  • Headings
  • Benefit icons
  • Download forms
  • Important information

Secondary colors should highlight less important information including: 

  • Secondary buttons
  • Subheadings
  • Menu items
  • Backgrounds
  • FAQ and Testimonial pages 

That leaves your neutral colors for:

  • Text
  • Backgrounds
  • Alongside other colors in designs

Document Your Color Palette in a Brand Kit

After you’ve chosen the color scheme for your website and brand colors, make sure the work continues to pay off as you grow your brand presence. To ensure that the exact colors in your scheme are easily available to every member of your team, make it part of a brand kit. For web design, that includes the RGB and HEX codes for each color. 

Color Tools

If you’re stuck on choosing the perfect colors, try some of these tools to get your creative juices flowing. 

ColorZilla can find the HEX code for any color.

Color Space automatically generates color schemes. Great if you get stuck.

Dribbble is a great place to find inspiration from other designs.

Palleton makes it easy to choose colors on a color wheel from different types of color schemes. 

Coolors randomly generates color schemes.

If you have design needs but don’t have the skills to meet them yourself, Canva is wonderful. Their color wheel tool is a great starting point. 

Many website builders, including Sav's, have their own color picker tools. 

Now It’s Your Turn

Picking the perfect colors for your website is at your fingertips. Whatever colors fit your tastes and your brand, our professionally made, customizable templates take the guesswork out of website design.  Start designing today

Luca Harsh

Luca Harsh

Luca Harsh is an in-house content writer for Sav. They live in Chicago with their cat, Polly. Yes, Harsh is their real last name.