Choosing the best website color combination can be one of the most important steps in setting up your online presence. Many companies spend thousands of dollars for experts to create an image for their brands that will be memorable and help them stay in the memories of their customers over their competitors.
Colors play a big role in brand identity. The choice of colors for your website will convey an image about your brand to your visitors which can entice them to remember you over hundreds of other websites they may browse on any day.
A grocery shopping website will not use the same colors as a beauty and fashion tips website. In the same way, a website forum on restoring vintage automobiles will not use the same colors as a pizza delivery website. So it’s important to tie in your website colors with what your company is about and what kind of website you are designing.
Table of Contents
- 1 How to Choose a Website Color Combination Using Basic Color Theory
- 2 Three steps to Choosing the best color combination for your website
- 3 Keeping it all in balance
- 4 Design tip for choosing a color combination
- 5 Website color combinations that work
- 6 Conclusion
How to Choose a Website Color Combination Using Basic Color Theory
Certain colors pair well together. When arranged on a color wheel. That is a tool designers and artists use which places colors in a circle. It makes it easier to see relationships between colors and we can use this tool to pick website colors that are pleasing to the eye.
Colors that are different shades and hues (lighter and darker) of a single color will go well together. Colors which are beside each other on a color wheel, called analogous colors, will also generally be a good color combination. Such as blue, green, and yellow.
Colors that are directly across from each other on a color wheel will produce a color pairing called complementary colors that is bold however, not always pleasing to the eye on a computer or mobile phone screen so avoid using them together as text and background colors.
For example, red and green, orange and blue, or yellow and purple. Many companies use these complementary color pairings to choose a color combination for their brand. Think of the sports team, the LA Lakers which uses purple and yellow for their team colors.
To get just a little bit deeper into color theory, triadic color schemes use three different colors spaced evenly on a color wheel to produce a harmonious color combination.
You can also use other kinds of triangles and rectangles to create color combinations that work well together. But for websites, we’ll keep it simple to start and stick with three colors for an overall color scheme.
Three steps to Choosing the best color combination for your website
Choose a Dominant Color
This dominant color will be the strongest, and most prominent color on your website, your logo, and other brand identity and marketing materials.
Depending on the emotion you want to evoke in your website visitor, and even the type of visitor you want to attract, this dominant color will help keep the memory of your website present in their minds.
According to some studies on the psychology of color, certain colors will immediately bring up certain ideas and values about your brand.
Red is a power color that indicates urgency, passion, danger, and excitement. It stirs up strong emotions as well as stimulates the appetite!
Orange feels friendly and can be tranquil like a sunrise or sunset, or overpowering, creative, and makes you take a second look like a traffic cone. Often, this color is used to attract impulse shoppers.
Yellow represent cheerfulness like a sunshine and optimism. But just like the glare of the actual sun, it may be too bright to be used as a dominant color so it’s advises to use yellow sparingly.
Green can be a color that reminds you about nature, and it can also be about wealth or tranquility.
Blue is one of the most popular website and logo colors because it represents trust, security, loyalty, and peace. Both men and women say that blue is their favorite color and many top websites like Facebook and Twitter use blue as their main color for their brands.
Purple is the color of royalty and also has a calming effect. It creates an air of elegance and sophistication. Many high-end brands use this color.
Pink is often associated with western ideas of femininity, sweetness, romance, and prettiness. Brands which are targeted to young girls, such as Barbie, use pink as their dominant color.
Gray is a neutral color which is associated with logic, calm.simplicity, and futuristic ideals. It seems to lack emotion and is used by many technology companies in their branding.
Black represents power, sophistication, professionalism, and elegance. Too much black can also be edgy, fark, and rebellious depending on what other colors it is paired with.
Choose an accent color
Which brings us to the next step, choosing an accent color for your website color scheme.
Accent colors are chosen to support the dominant color without overpowering. They can be used on portions of your website which require attention but you don’t necessarily want to stand out too much as a distraction.
Areas of your website which accent colors may be used are sub-headings, information boxes, secondary menus, and footers.
Choose a background color
Many websites will use the default white as a background color. It’s clean, professional, and easy on the eyes for readability. Choosing the right background color for your website can make a difference to create a professional design which is inviting, easy to navigate, and expertly used throughout even just a single page to highlight information or products.
Just like each room of a house can evoke a different feeling, smart use of different background colors and images can also help with navigation through a website. Each major page or section can have it’s own style, but should still have common color and design theme links to its parent or main website look.
Keeping it all in balance
Once you’ve chosen your colors, keep them all in balance on your website by following this general rule of keeping colors balanced on your website:
This is a timeless design rule used for decorating interiors, events, fashion, marketing promotions, and yes, even the best website color combinations use this rule.
60 percent is the primary color. Perhaps surprisingly, this is not the dominant color on the website but the background color. It’s the color that anchors and harmonizes both the dominant and accent colors. In a house, think of it as the color that is most present in a room or ties everything together like the walls or a carpet that covers the entire floor.
30 percent is the use of your dominant color – the color that best represents your brand.
10 percent should be how much your accent color is present throughout the design of your website. Just enough to provide pops of interest and contrast, but not so much to distract, overpower, or clash.
Design tip for choosing a color combination
Still need help choosing colors for your website? Try starting with a great image. Maybe the image that you plan to use on the front page of your website. Analyze the image yourself first to see what color is the most dominant, what color supports this dominant color, and what color provides an accent to make it more visually interesting.
Many free online tools are available to help you create stunning color combinations from a single image.
Website color combinations that work
There are 216 “safe colors“ for web use that generally look good on any browser with some differences in individual monitor settings. From these the color combination choices available for websites are almost endless. But there are general tips to follow to ensure a user-friendly site that is easy on the eyes and pleasing to look at as well. Some guidelines to remember are:
- Avoid high-contrast colors
- Play with various hues of your chosen dominant and accent colors
- Keep color-blind users in mind. Color combinations to avoid so your website remains color-blind friendly are: red-green-brown-gray-purple
- Text color should enhance readability and be comfortable on the eyes
Here are some suggested combinations that will make any site look polished, professional, and memorable. They are listed as their web hexadecimal codes.
Minimal with a Pop – black, white, and yellow
Impactful – black, gray, and subdued red-orange
Neutral and Natural – beige, green, aubergine
Classic Denim – blues and grays
Light and cheerful – bright colors on white background
Dark and playful – bright colors on dark background
Use these best color combinations for websites as a jumping off point to inspire you for your own website design. Keep in mind all the factors that should be taken into consideration such as your target audience, the image you want your brand to convey, the type of website you are creating, and ease of navigation and usability of your website.