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Colors 101: How to Choose the Right Website Color Schemes

The color palette is one of the most significant elements of web design. Colors are mood-setters that can articulate the message of your site without words. In addition to their direct impact on the site’s look, colors can also compliment or even define the type of statement that you want to make in your website’s design.

This is why choosing colors is one of the first steps you take when you create a website, and it’s important that you make an educated decision on the matter. There are a number of factors to take into account when you choose the color schemes of your website.

Color Your Brand, Not Just Your Site

When you’re comparing color options, remember the big picture. It’s not just about the color of the font and how it matches the color of the buttons. The colors that are prominent on your website should reflect your brand identity more generally.

You wouldn’t use one logo for your website and another logo for your package design, right? It’s the same with colors. Be consistent with how you look across different marketing platforms and work with colors that you believe really represent you and your brand’s vision.

Combine with Care

Defining a site’s color palette requires a bit of mix and matching, but unlike a mad scientist, you can’t simply throw in several options based on a whim.

Simply put, color combinations are measured by how the colors compliment or contrast each other. Working with a color wheel and following the principles of color theory can help you create successful combinations based on the relationship between primary, secondary, tertiary colors, etc.

We assume not many of you carry around a color wheel, but that shouldn’t be a problem. With online tools like Paletton or Adobe Kuleryou can create lovely color combos.

Don’t Neglect the Practical Issues

The task of web design does not end with making sites look good. Good design should support smooth and easy browsing, and colors play a significant role in determining a site’s usability. Beyond aesthetic considerations, your choice of colors should take the following into account:

  • All texts must be easy to read. If your background color and text color don’t match well visitors will have a hard time reading your content.

  • Visually-impaired and color-blind visitors benefit greatly from high color contrasts.

  • Call to Actions, buttons and other clickable items are invitations for site visitors to take immediate action. With colors you can make these invitations much clearer

Apply Color Psychology

Many colors are closely linked with a specific mood or feeling. Most of your website visitors are already “programmed” to identify red with passion, to distinguish between cold and warm colors, or to associate cleanliness with white backgrounds and a minimal palette.

To make this work in your favor, you first need to identify the mindset you want your web design to create and then find the right palette to support it. This guide provides an informative introduction into color psychology that any web design could benefit from.

Remember Cultural Contexts

Whatever your associations with certain colors are, keep in mind that colors operate in a cultural context and may have specific (and sometimes contradictory) meanings to groups from different backgrounds.

For example, English-speaking societies think of white as a color of purity while some Asian cultures associate it with mourning; while many cultures nowadays link between green and the environment, green is also the most sacred color in the Muslim religion; specific shades of red and blue gain an additional meaning during a US presidential campaign; and the vintage trend that has been with us for a while connects certain hues with the decades they were most prominent in.

These color associations don’t necessarily overwrite each other, but they do remind us that we shouldn’t assume that color interpretations are universal.

Ready to color the world with your brand?

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