You want to build a website. You have done your research and felt confident about handling the technicalities.
Problems arise when you have to choose the color scheme of your website. It takes no genius to do it, yet a wrong color combination can end your business before it even started.
In this article, I will show you how to find the perfect website color scheme that suits your brand. Just because it’s hard doesn’t mean it’s impossible to do.
Let’s get creative!
Why Do Colors Matter?
Everyone has their color preference. It shows in everything associated with us, be it our clothes, car, or hair color. Accordingly, this preference also affects our judgments during various decision-making processes which include, but are not limited to, purchasing decisions.
For this reason, businesses incorporate colors in almost all of their operation elements, particularly in marketing and branding.
You might argue that the idea of appealing to a broad audience with certain color choices seems a bit of a reach since we all have different personal tastes. And I would have agreed with you if that was the only motive behind this practice.
That being said, here are the reasons why colors matter in marketing and branding.
Influence customers purchase decision
The reason I addressed this one from the get-go is that it’s the most common reason which people often fall victim to. According to a study titled Impact of Color On Marketing, 90% of people make immediate purchase decisions primarily based on the product’s color.
For this reason, many businesses go to great lengths to make their products available in a wide range of colors.
Strengthen brand recognition
The famous notion “An image speaks louder than words” doesn’t only apply to the shape of your brand logo. Your color choice is equally important in making your brand stand out from the competition.
Take a look at how Coca Cola claimed the colors red and white as part of their brand. By doing so, Coca Cola ensures that customers remember their brand whenever they see a can with that color scheme.
Appeal to a specific target audience
Depending on the type of their product, some brands target audience of a certain gender, age group, nationality, etc. Accordingly, each segmented group has its own color preference that is often the opposite of another group.
For this reason, audience-specific brands usually associate their products with the audience’s color preferences in order to influence their decisions.
Create a first impression
You can also use colors to create a first impression. Businesses use color psychology to mold the way customers perceive their brand and deliver the product statement nonverbally.
You can see the application of color psychology in big brands like UPS, Chanel, and Victoria’s Secret.
- UPS uses brown to emit a sense of comfort and security.
- Chanel picked black and white as the main colors of its website to put an elegant feel to their brand.
- Victoria’s Secret uses pink to state that their target audience is ideal for female customers.
For these reasons, you shouldn’t take the color schemes of your business lightly.
There’s been a debate about whether or not color psychology influences purchasing decisions. The reason for it is the fact that color preference can be influenced by various factors like upbringing, culture, and context among many others.
However, the marketing industry has used the color emotion guide for so long that we as customers are already accustomed to associating certain colors with specific emotions.
Here’s the color emotion guide by The Logo Company to give you a general idea of how the general audience perceives each color.
- Red — bold, excitement, youth
- Orange — friendly, cheerful, confidence
- Yellow — optimism, clarity, warmth
- Green — growth, health, peaceful
- Blue — trustworthiness, dependable, strength
- Purple — creative, imaginative, wise
- Grey — balance, calmness, neutrality
As different places have their own perception of colors, it’s best not to see this color emotion guide as the ultimate truth. Instead, treat it as a guide to help you come up with your own color combinations.
4 Step Guide to Finding the Perfect Website Color Scheme
Now that you know the importance of color schemes in your business, it’s time to dive deeper and find the right color combination for your website.
To make things easier for you, I’ve come up with an easy guide on how to pick the color scheme for your site. Again, choosing a color is not math. So, don’t be afraid to make your own adjustments accordingly as you go.
1. Pick Your Primary Color
If you already have a brand logo, this should be an easy step for you. The primary color is the one color your brand is mostly associated with and it should be incorporated to all elements of your site.
Just like Coca Cola associated themselves with the color red, you’ll want users to remember your brand when they see a particular color.
In case you don’t have a logo or any design elements yet, you can take a look at the color emotion guide above and choose a color that best represents your product statement or appeals to your target audience.
Don’t just pick a favorite or, worse, a random color. Remember, that the color will be part of your brand. So, might as well think it through while you’re still beginning.
To help you decide what color you should go with, I’d recommend using Palleton’s color palette.
The free graphic design tool is perfect for creating color combinations or simply visualizing how a site looks in a certain color.
You can also get the color code once you have made your decision.
2. Pick Your Secondary Colors
Leaving your site with just one color will make it look dull and distasteful. So, try adding secondary or accent colors to complement the primary one.
Aside from aesthetic purposes, secondary colors help users navigate through your site by highlighting attention-worthy parts. The contrasting colors will make those parts stand out from the background color.Just like primary color, you can’t just pick random colors and hope they work well together. Luckily for you, there’s a lot of color matching tools that could help you find secondary colors to complement your primary one. I’ll discuss this topic further in a bit.
3. Pick Out Neutral Colors
All that’s left to pick is neutral colors. Unlike primary and secondary colors, neutral colors aim to create a sense of comfort on your site and ensure that all content is readable. For this reason, you will use them for content-related parts like text and white spaces.
That being said, you should choose colors that won’t overwhelm users. Rather than competing with primary and secondary colors, neutral colors should work alongside them.
The most popular choice for this color pool is white. Depending on your primary and secondary colors, this might not always work. You can always use the color matching tool again to help you make decisions. Ultimately, your choices should support the site’s readability aspect.
4. Create the Overall Color Scheme
Now that you have chosen all the required colors, it’s time to create a color scheme for your site. Just like the color selection process, you should also think carefully about their application to create the best possible user experience and brand recognition.
Due to their association with the brand, primary colors are best for representing important information like logos, icons, and call-to-action buttons.
As this type of information has the highest chance of being accessed by users, you’ll indirectly build your brand awareness through the primary color attached to it.
Secondary colors are ideal for highlighting less important information like captions, quotes, and non-call-to-action buttons. Thus, you still make them stand out without eclipsing the information presented in primary colors.
Finally, neutral colors should be used for backgrounds, text, and other supporting elements within the site. Despite looking unimportant compared to the previous colors, make no mistake that your site’s readability depends heavily on neutral colors.
Since the topic of colors is extremely subjective, it’ll be better to conduct a/b testing to find the best one that suits your brand and target audience. This allows you to experiment with two options and determine which one produces the best results.
Useful Tools for Website Color Schemes
As I previously mentioned, some tools could help you create a color scheme. They are particularly handy if you’re not feeling confident with your color-coordination skills.
This free online color scheme designer has a neat preview feature which allows you to test your color choices on the spot. You can test up to five colors to create the perfect color scheme for your site.
If you found some inspiration from a picture, you can easily extract the color with ColorExplorer. Take advantage of its free image color import feature to create a color palette based on your graphics.
Sometimes great ideas can come from other people. See other people’s color schemes at ColorLovers as it provides a catalog of color palettes created by millions of users across the world.
Examples of Great Website Color Schemes
I know how hard it is to conjure an idea out of nothing. That’s why I come up with a list of five websites you may have heard of. See if they could inspire you or, at the very least, set an example of what you should do to create the perfect color scheme for your site.
Facebook is one of the best examples of the saying “less is more.” While a color scheme consists of various colors, no rule forbids you from creating it from multiple shades of one color.
Mark Zuckerberg chose blue because he’s red-green colorblind. Since his options are limited, he incorporated various shades of blue to make the site more lively. And as you can see, it works!
Paypal uses two different shades of blue as their primary colors. Both colors also work well with black and white as the neutral website colors.
Despite including several images in the site, Paypal ensures that the information on top of them is still readable. You’ll find that most of the images are darkened or coated with a semi-transparent color that makes the white font stand out.
Taking inspiration from an old-fashioned cinema, Netflix chose red and black as its primary colors. The bright red with the addition of white as its neutral color works well with the black background. This color scheme also creates an illusion that users are watching movies in the cinema instead of from their own device.
4. Huge Inc.
In the hands of creative web designers, colors will further enhance a website’s user interface. By combining various colors, images, and sliders, Huge Inc. came up with an artistically made site that showcases their design and digital marketing processes.
Some websites choose to incorporate their color schemes in the form of images. Au Lit Fine Linens does this by creating a color scheme based on the main color of their products and not the other way around. Thus, they get to promote their products more freely without being hindered by the clashing colors of the site.
That’s a Wrap!
As you can see, creating the best color scheme for your site isn’t about picking a bunch of beautiful colors. You need to understand the meaning and function of each color and whether they can work together or not. It’s crucial to choose the right colors to represent your site as they hold an important role in building your brand awareness.
There are a few guiding steps that you could take to make it easier choosing the right website color scheme:
- Pick the color most associated with your brand logo as your primary color
- Pick the secondary colors of your primary one using a color matching tool
- Pick neutral colors for backgrounds and white space
- Create your overall color scheme by incorporating all colors in your site’s elements
Creating the perfect color scheme might be hard, but it’ll be worth it in the long run. So, better start wearing your creative hat and let your inner da Vinci loose!