Coordinate the Best Matching Colors for Your Website

Jim Sweet / February 20, 2019

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Is your website color scheme encouraging visitors to browse your site for longer periods of time, subscribe to your newsletter, or commit to making purchases? Unless you’re investing time and effort into finding the best matching colors to form a coherent and complementary scheme, then the answer might be “no.

Here are three techniques that can help you avoid this problem, while ensuring that your content is easier to read and has emotional impact on your readers.

1. Prioritize readability

If your visitors struggle to read the text on your website, then all of your hard work will be for naught. People aren’t going to strain themselves to read something if they can find the same information on a competitor’s website instead.

When creating a color scheme for your website, it’s crucial to use contrast appropriately. After all, using yellow text on a white background isn’t the most legible combination. There’s no reason to overthink or get too elaborate with your design choices. Select a background and text color combination that has enough contrast to be easily read across desktop and mobile screens.

2. Use contrast to signify an information hierarchy

Once you confirm that your content can be easily read, take your color strategy to the next level by using contrast to provide subtle context for what your visitors are reading.

For example, take a look at the Didi theme from the WordPress.com theme showcase:

Notice how the best matching colors (like black and white) are combined to set the tone and style, while the accent color (yellow) grabs the reader’s attention and directs them to important links and action items?

3. Drive emotional responses with color combinations

In addition to providing a comfortable reading experience and information hierarchy, smart website color matching also allows you to strengthen emotional connections with your website visitors.

All colors have general emotional components. For example, red is often associated with love and boldness, and green is linked to ideas of wealth. The question is, what overall tone and emotional impact do you want to deliver with your website? Refer to this post from Art Therapy to get a better understanding of color psychology, and how to best coordinate your website’s color scheme to align with your goals.

While understanding color psychology can be immensely useful, remember that you shouldn’t pick colors just to elicit emotional responses from readers. Instead, pick a primary color and use a site like Coolors.co or Colormind.io to find a palette that complements it. This way, your website will convey the correct tone in a welcoming and aesthetically pleasing way.

Websites that match colors

The Jetpack site uses blues and greens to reveal its content hierarchy. Showrunner.fm uses red shades to impart a tone of boldness and pride. Once you establish your site’s purpose and the tone that you want to convey, you can move forward with coordinating colors to help reach your goals.

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