Deciding on a color scheme for your website

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Creating the perfect color scheme for your website involves much more than just picking your favorite colors. It requires understanding the psychology of color, how it aligns with your brand, and the message you want to communicate to your audience. Here’s some information on how to decide what colors to use for your website, including a discussion on the tone that different colors portray.

Understanding Color Psychology

Color psychology is the study of hues as a determinant of human behavior, and it plays a critical role in website design. Colors can evoke emotional responses and influence how visitors perceive your brand. Here’s what different colors typically represent:

  • Red: Energy, passion, excitement, danger. Red can increase heart rate and create a sense of urgency. Often used for call-to-action buttons or areas where you want to draw attention.
  • Blue: Trust, calmness, professionalism, security. Blue is one of the most universally favored colors and is preferred for corporate websites to evoke professionalism and trustworthiness.
  • Yellow: Happiness, optimism, youth. Yellow can catch the viewer’s eye and make them feel optimistic and cheerful. However, it’s also a color that can cause visual fatigue if used in large amounts.
  • Green: Health, tranquility, freshness, wealth. Green is versatile and can work for environmental causes as well as banking sites, depending on the shade.
  • Orange: Creativity, adventure, enthusiasm, success. Orange is less aggressive than red but still eye-catching, often used for calls to action.
  • Purple: Royalty, mystery, spirituality. Purple is often associated with luxury and creativity; lighter shades can have a calming effect, while darker shades are more synonymous with luxury.
  • Black: Power, luxury, sophistication, elegance. Black works great for luxury products and high-end services.
  • White: Purity, cleanliness, simplicity. White spaces help create a sense of freedom and breathability on your site.
picture of living room with earth tone colors
Picture of living room with earth tone colors

Setting the Tone with Color

The colors you choose for your website set the tone of your brand and affect how your message is perceived. For instance:

  • A health and wellness blog may choose greens and blues to promote peace and growth.
  • A professional consultancy firm might use navy blue or dark green to project security and trust.
  • A children’s toy store could opt for bright colors like yellow, red, and orange to reflect energy and fun.

Choosing Your Website Colors

Here are steps to help you choose the appropriate color scheme for your website:

  1. Know Your Audience: Understanding who your audience is, can guide what emotions you want to evoke. Younger audiences might respond better to bright and vibrant colors, whereas an older, professional group might prefer more subdued shades.
  2. Consider Cultural Contexts: Colors have different meanings in different cultures. Ensure the colors you choose do not have negative connotations in the cultures where you aim to do business.
  3. Use the 60-30-10 Rule: This classic decorating rule also applies to colors in web design. Use 60% of a dominant color, 30% of a secondary color, and 10% of an accent color to create a balanced design.
  4. Analyze Competitors: Look at what color schemes your competitors are using. While you want to stand out, it’s also crucial to not stray too far from what customers expect in your industry.
  5. Test for Accessibility: Make sure that your color contrasts are strong enough that everyone, including those with visual impairments, can easily read your content.
picture of living room with vibrant color scheme
Picture of living room with vibrant color scheme

Tools and Resources

  • Color Wheel Tools: Tools like Adobe Color or Coolors can help you find complementary and analogous color schemes.
  • A/B Testing: Implement A/B testing on your color schemes to see what works best in terms of user engagement and conversion rates.
  • Feedback: Get feedback from users and stakeholders to see how the colors are perceived.

Integrating Colors into Your Website Design

Once you have your colors, integrate them thoughtfully:

  • Background Colors: Should not overpower your content. Light colors are generally preferred for background.
  • Text Colors: Ensure high contrast for readability. Typically, dark text on a light background is most readable.
  • Accent Colors: Use accent colors sparingly, such as for call-to-action buttons or for highlighting important information.


The colors you choose for your website do more than just make it look nice; they communicate values, evoke emotions, and influence actions from visitors. By understanding the psychology of color, considering your audience, and testing your choices, you can create a color scheme that not only looks great but also furthers your business objectives. Remember, the best color choices are those that improve user experience and align with your brand identity.