How to choose the right colors for web?

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The color scheme of a website is what makes it memorable, trustworthy, appealing, and in
turn, profitable. It’s all about making a good first impression. When creating a website, it’s
important to think thoroughly, which colors to use from the color wheel and why. Different
colors send different messages to the user, they can influence their mood, and perception of the
website when they engage with it.

Color psychology is a branch of science that studies the impact of color on human behavior.
Scientists have discovered that colors can indeed elicit emotions: some make the user happy,
or comfortable, while others tap into deeper feelings and relate with sadness and nervousness.

Essential principles in finding the best color in web design:

  1. Finding primary color – this phase is important because it will determine the color that the brand will be associated with – the primary brand color.
  2. Deciding on the number of colors – the use of a three-color combination is usually recommended.
  3. Using secondary colors when needed – underlining a secondary call to action.
  4. Using neutral colors – the neutral colors are most often used for text, to create contrast for elements, make them stand out, or as background colors. The neutral colors are white, black, and gray.

Color selection is more than just a matter of taste. Each color has a different meaning and
can have an influence on the visitor. That is why color is so crucial in web design: it has the
ability to convey the right message about the business right away. Color plays an important role
in attracting interest, creating demand, driving conversions, and earning visitor loyalty.

Psychology of color – Warm & Cool

Warm colors are orange, red, and yellow, as well as their combinations and related colors. As
the name implies, they are associated with warmth, brightness and fire. Blue, green, and light
purple are examples of cool colors. They generally soothe and relax. Cool shades are
reminiscent of water and blue clouds, as well as ice and snow.

warm cool colors 1
Designme – warm & cool colors from the color wheel

How to pair colors in web design?

The first step in choosing the right colors and pairing them correctly is to choose one dominate color.
Knowing the meaning of each color is essential when selecting the dominant color for web design.

meaning of colors
Meaning of colors

The next step in pairing colors is to choose two more colors combining the dominate color
to create a palette of 3 matching colors. Complementary colors such as different shades of
a dominant or accent colors are also commonly used in design. There are a lot of tools
that are useful in performing this task. An example of such tool is

It helps finding matching colors and combine them into a 6-color palette. It is not obligatory to
choose exactly the color suggested by the tool, but it is helpful in understanding a general
concept, and idea in which direction to go, and base the selection on the results suggested
by the tools.
The last step is applying the selected colors into the design. It is worth using the 60/30/10
rule, borrowed from the interior design industry.
The 60/30/10 rule describes in what proportions the colors should be placed on the page.
60% is the dominant color that is chosen in the first step. It is mostly used as a background
color. The 30% applies to a complementary color, for main elements like headings, and
paragraph text, and the remaining 10% is used as an accent color which can be applied to buttons, CTA, icons., graphics etc.

Symbolism of colors

Colors have extremely contradictory meanings in different contexts and different
cultures. If a certain project is targeting a specific audience, it is necessary to take time to
get to know the target audience. What country do the users come from, what culture they
live in and what age they are.

meaning of colors table
Designme- meaning of colors

Choosing the right colors

The right choice of colors in the process of designing a website has an impact on
various aspects of usability. Accessibility is one of them, as certain groups of people
perceive colors differently than the rest of users. The next is readability, which can be
improved by choosing the right background color, fonts, and graphics. The relationship
between colors and human behavior is known to marketing specialists. Colors have a
large impact on the customer’s well-being, they can even change their mood. The use of
a specific color palette in the project also affects the positive or negative reception of the
website and the time spent on browsing it, and consequently the willingness to return and
build loyalty. Accessibility is an inherent aspect of UX, referring to the practice of design,
i.e. creating a digital product that can be used by everyone, including people with special
needs. It consists in eliminating barriers that make it difficult or impossible for the user
to use the website.

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Designme is a full-service design agency specializing in providing ui/ux design, branding, development, and hosting solutions for startups, SMEs and brick & mortar stores.

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