When designing a website, colors are one of the crucial elements that help to form a first impression. People will make a judgment based on color alone within 90 seconds. Meaning, your choice of color can make a difference between people staying on your website or going and never returning.
Therefore, picking the right color palette for a website is no easy task. All options must be considered carefully, which can be a challenge, especially with the wide range of options available.
This article will tell you about fundamental color theories to help you get your head around them. It’ll also include some methods to help you decide on the most suitable color scheme for your website.
What Is Color Theory – The Basics
Color theory refers to the rules of creating appealing visuals. Understanding this can help you make a better website design. You’ll know how to highlight essential website elements and influence people’s feelings about your site.
In color theory, the fundamental principle is about color basics, including:
- Primary colors. Colors that can’t be created from other colors: yellow, red, and blue.
- Secondary colors. A mixture of two primary colors:
- Orange. Combining red and yellow.
- Purple. Combining blue and red.
- Green. Combining yellow and blue.
- Tertiary colors. A mixture of primary and secondary colors, resulting in different hues. For example, violet, magenta, and amber.
What Is the Color Theory Wheel?
A color wheel is a diagram of color hues in a circle. It helps show the relationship between primary, secondary, and tertiary colors.
To help you with color mixing, try to draw a line through the center of the color wheel, and then you should see two areas:
- Cool colors. Represent calm and peace, like blues, purples, and greens.
- Warm colors. Associated with energy and brightness, like reds, oranges, and yellows.
To give you more variations, look for an advanced color wheel because it offers several spectrums of one color, such as blue, brighter blue, and darker blue.
The advanced color wheel is divided into:
- Hue. A pure color, like red.
- Tint. A hue that white is added to, like pink (red plus white).
- Shade. A hue that black is added to, like burgundy (red plus black).
- Tone. A hue that black and white is added to, like Indian red.
Choosing the Color Scheme for Your Website
This section will share five methods to help pick a color scheme for your website.
To have a website that engages visitors, you should think of more than just its color. Make sure it also has sufficient storage for creative elements, including animations and videos.
If your current hosting plan isn’t enough, consider upgrading to a more extensive service, like VPS hosting with Hostinger.
Use a Color Wheel
Referring to a color wheel is one of the easiest ways to pick colors, especially if you know color combination theories.
Here are several color combos to try from the color wheel:
- Monochromatic. Uses different tints and shades in one color, like bright blue and dark blue.
- Analogous. Refers to colors next to each other in the color wheel, like yellow, orange, and red.
- Complementary. Combines opposite sides of the color wheel, like red and blue.
- Triadic. Divides three equal parts on the color wheel, like red, blue, and green.
If you still find color combinations confusing, try an online color wheel tool like Canva Color Wheel. It’ll calculate the most effective color schemes based on your needs and provide some suggestions.
Consider Color Psychology
Pick a color scheme based on the emotional experience you want to deliver to users. Every color triggers a different emotion, so make sure to research which colors will work best for your industry and brand.
Below is a brief explanation of what popular colors convey and some industries that suit them:
- Blue. Demonstrates stability and security. Banks and insurance companies often use this color.
- Red. Symbolizes excitement, passion, and hunger. Popular food brands like Coca-Cola and McDonald’s tend to use this color.
- Yellow. Represents innovation and happiness. It’s suitable for the energy sector and automotive industries.
- Green. Relates to health, harmony, and nature. It best represents eco-friendly and agricultural companies.
- Pink. Often associated with femininity and playfulness. It’s a popular choice among fashion, beauty, and toy brands.
Integrate the 60-30-10 Rule
The 60-30-10 rule is a timeless decorating principle in interior design that can be applied to your website’s color scheme to create the right balance.
60% of the palette should be your background. This proportion usually uses a neutral or light tone, such as a shade of white, gray, or beige.
Then, 30% is the area of a secondary color. The color needs to contrast the main color to draw attention.
The 10% of the palette is your accent color for something that pops up on your website, like a call-to-action. That’s why this small proportion often has a bolder color than other areas.
Get Inspired From Nature
Nature is one of the best inspirations for picking a color scheme. Imagine a beautiful sunset with pinkish, reddish, and purple combinations or a beach scene with blue, white, and cream composition. They will always look natural.
Pick a reference photo whose colors represent your personality. Then, upload the picture to a color palette generator like Adobe Color. It will create a color scheme for you.
Another option is to directly take a photo using Adobe Capture. The app can extract a color scheme from whatever the camera sees.
Teleport Back in Time
Each era has its distinct color scheme.
For example, you may relate the 1960s with psychedelic colors, like shocking pink and turquoise. Or the 1990s with darker colors, like deep red and dark plum.
Gathering artwork from a certain period and creating a color scheme from each era will give inspiration when choosing colors that represent your brand personality.
Use Color Leap, a tool that shows many color palettes from 12 eras in history. Just go to the website and choose a period like 1930 or 2000 BC, and it will generate popular palettes during that time.
The right color scheme plays a vital role in web design as it evokes certain emotions in visitors.
When choosing a color palette, understand the theory first to give you basic ideas on how to make color combinations. Then, try one or more methods above, like referring to a color wheel or implementing the 60-30-10 rule. For quick results, use color generator tools like Color Leap and Adobe Color.
Whatever methods you choose, the rule of thumb is to choose between three to five colors. More than that can often make the design look overcomplicated.