Why Your Website Color Scheme Matters

Jenny McKaig / November 27, 2017

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You’re building an exciting new website and want to select the best color scheme to complement it. Since color conveys emotion, it can be a powerful tool to evoke the responses you desire from your audience — whether it’s by learning about your background, engaging with your content, or even purchasing your products or services. Clearly color is an important design element for any website, but how do you select the right ones to make your pages pop?

Understanding color schemes is a great place to start. Incorporating the right colors into your site design can shape positive user experiences. Along with content that’s engaging and a website theme to match, your color selections will align your brand’s look and feel, further fostering relationships with your fans.

Feeling colorful

You’ve likely seen a color wheel at some point in your life. Color wheels are composed of combinations of the three primary colors (red, blue, and yellow), and the various shades that can be made by combining them. The three main color schemes we’ll cover here (analogous, triad, and complementary) are selections of colors based on their placement around the wheel and include main, support, and accent colors. According to color psychologists, each of these schemes conveys different sets of emotions, offering brands different looks and feels.

A woman writes on a pad while reviewing the color wheel for her website design

Analogous color schemes

Analogous colors are located next to each other on the color wheel, and include various shades of a single color. For example, an analogous color scheme might use bright green as the main color, with light green and turquoise as accent colors. Analogous colors are gentle on the eyes, and entice feelings of peace and relaxation.

These color schemes aren’t as vibrant as others, but the smooth visual flow they create works well for certain types of websites. If you own a spa, for example, you could use a blue or green analogous color scheme to suggest a serene, calming feeling. Or if you run a lifestyle blog about home organization, you may want to use analogous colors to convey simplicity.

Complementary color schemes

Complementary color schemes are vibrant and use colors opposite of each other on the color wheel. Yellow and purple, for example, are complementary colors that can introduce a royal feel to a website. This color scheme makes selected items on websites stand out.

When utilizing complementary colors, you’ll want to ensure that you use each in smaller amounts so that viewing your website doesn’t overwhelm your shoppers’ eyes. If your jewelry store is having a big sale, you can accent your purple blog with some yellow text highlighting the event — just don’t make every other element on your site yellow, too. Limit it to a few blocks of text for precise emphasis.

Triad color schemes

Another vibrant choice is a triad color scheme. Triad schemes consist of three color selections, evenly spaced around the color wheel. When using a triad scheme, choose one color to dominate your pages, and use the other two colors as supportive accents. Balancing them in subtle ways will create an even level of contrast and will result in optimal color harmony.

Choosing the best color scheme

When you’re finalizing a website color scheme, answering the following questions will help narrow down your choice:

  • What is the purpose of your page? Every website has a purpose, whether it’s engaging your audience on an emotional level, moving potential shoppers to action, or helping visitors fully understand your products and services. Knowing your page’s purpose will help you decide which color scheme is the best fit.
  • What do you want your audience to experience? Do you want your readers to feel excited enough to take action? If so, you should consider the vibrancy of a triad color scheme. If your desired response is for audience members to feel serene while reading your posts, choose an analogous color scheme with soft, cool colors.
  • What colors align with your business or brand? Color impacts how people perceive brands, according to the blog Color Matters. Understanding the meanings of various colors and selecting ones that are meaningful to your business will bolster your brand.

Having a clear purpose, defining your audience, and determining the right feel for your brand will help you choose a color scheme. Go with one that feels right and is visually pleasing. Remember to have fun revving up your site with the best website color scheme possible.

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