Posted on Jan 27, 2020

Choosing the Best Colors for Effective Web Design

The power of colors cannot be underestimated. People have a natural, instinctual reaction to colors, and colors can be used to influence mood and behavior. When you run a business, it’s important to carefully select colors for your logo, website, and other marketing materials. Your color selection will have an impact, make sure it’s one that you intended. 

The Psychology of Color on Website Design

If you have a website, you likely have an ideal interaction or behavior (Conversion) that you would like for your visitors to take. That could be to make a purchase, contact you to find out more, read another article or blog, or subscribe to your emails. Since you will need to use more than one color on your website, you also need to consider color combinations that work together, in way that is both pleasing, and creates a mood or personality that matches your brand. Be sure your color scheme sets the right tone and encourages the right actions for your website.

Understanding the Color Wheel

Many studies have shown how colors stimulate different areas of the brain by promoting excitement or tranquility. With this in mind, your website can easily influence your online users and their conversion rate by grabbing their attention and trigging certain emotions. What emotion do want to trigger with your website?

Color Combinations

The color wheel is an abstract illustrative organization of color hues around a circle. The ‘wheel’ represents the relationship between colors. Visual designers and web designers use it to combine colors that go well together.

Cool colors and warm colorsThe color wheel can divided into:

Warm Colors

Use them in your design to stir up passion, happiness, energy.

Cool Colors

Use them in your design to promote calmness, trust, and professionalism.

Be careful when combining the warm and cool colors. If you’re using them exclusively, you might confuse the user and your web design may look too busy, and present confusing emotions.

The Main Colors for the Web

Have you noticed how websites use of color is often associated with an industry? It’s not usually a coincidence. Designers are using the color to represent their brand personality or feature of their product.

Primary Colors

The three primary colors, Blue, Red, and Yellow are the source for all other colors and appear at equally spaced points along the color wheel. See how these colors affect mood and emotions, and how brands can use them to influence perception.


  • Associated with the ocean and the sky, promotes trust
  • Give a feel of security and safety
  • Represents calmness and serenity
  • Shown to lower blood pressure and heart rate
  • Curbs appetite
  • Good for health, dental, high tech, medical, science, government, legal, and utilities.


  • Stimulation color
  • Promotes passion and energy
  • Creates urgency
  • Increases heart rate
  • Encourages appetite
  • Seen in clearance sales
  • Most effective when designing CTA’s, can be good for food, fashion, entertainment, sports, marketing, advertising, emergency services, and healthcare
  • Don’t overuse it, too much excitement can be a bad thing and may detract from the image of your brand


  • Promotes cheerfulness and warmth
  • Stimulates the nervous system
  • Creates a sense of optimism
  • Grabs attention
  • Can cause eye fatigue, so use it sparingly

Secondary colors

Secondary colors are produced by mixing 2 primary colors.


  • Associated with health and nature
  • Promotes calmness, peace, and relaxation
  • Symbol of fertility
  • Alleviates depression
  • Encourages decisiveness by balancing emotions
  • Great for science, tourism, medicine, human resources, environment, and sustainability


  • Promotes excitement and enthusiasm
  • Shows warmth
  • Increases cheerfulness & optimism
  • Creates strong CTA’s
  • Good for eCommerce, automotive, technology, entertainment, food, and childcare


  • Color of royalty and majesty
  • Symbolizes opulence and luxury
  • Associated with success, wisdom, and respect
  • Promotes creativity by stimulating the problem-solving areas of the brain
  • Great for beauty products (specifically anti-aging), astrology, massage, yoga, healing, spirituality, and content related to adolescent girls and feminine brands


  • Promotes power and edginess
  • Creates instant feelings of sophistication and timelessness
  • Elegance is especially strong when paired with white font an set against a minimalist layout
  • Can be great for luxury goods, fashion, marketing, and cosmetics


  • Promotes cleanliness, virtue, simplicity
  • Associated with virtue, purity, and innocence in western cultures
  • The best for accenting the other colors on the page
  • Associated with doctors, nurses, and dentists which makes it great for websites related to the health care industry


  • Promotes neutrality, formality, and melancholy
  • Popular choice for a traditional or professional website, luxury goods, or to create a balancing, calming effect

The Best Color Scheme for your Website

A web project is often started with choosing a color scheme – a set of colors that go well together. You can certainly start with your favorite colors and create your site design? But will this really represent your brand? And do the colors really work together. Remember that a bad color scheme can be hard to look at, and a bad design reflects poorly on your business.

Take into consideration the personality of your brand, the audience, and what emotions you want them to associate with your products for selecting your primary color. Are you powerful, trustworthy, exciting, or precise? Then use the color wheel to help you select the secondary or supporting colors that work together to create a complete color scheme. Use this guide below to help you select colors that will work together.

Complementary color schemeComplementary Color Schemes

Complementary colors are opposite on the color wheel and do not contain the same primary color.  Use two opposite colors on the wheel to create a powerful contrast. Web designers use this scheme to set both the background of a website while using the contrasting color to put an emphasis on the content.

Monochromatic color schemeMonochromatic Color Schemes

Use three different values of the same color. This provides a polished cohesive look. This is an easy combination to work with because the colors will always suit each other.

 Analogous Color Schemes

Analogous color schemes use three adjacent colors on the color wheel. This scheme is often found in nature and it’s pleasing to the eye because they match well, therefore, creating pleasing designs.

Split Compliment Color Scheme

Split Compliment Color Schemes

This is a version of the complementary scheme that uses a color and the two adjacent tertiary colors of it’s complement. This color scheme has a high degree of contrast, but not as extreme as the complementary scheme. It creates a sense of harmony.

Triadic CTriadic Color Schemeolor Schemes

Use three evenly spaced colors on the color wheel. This color scheme is considered to be the best because you could use one color for the background while the remaining two can be used to highlight the content and other important areas.

Tetradic color schemeTetradic Color Schemes

Use two complementary pairs. This color scheme works at its best when you choose one color to be dominant. When using this scheme, pay attention to the balance between your warm and cool colors.

Where should you use colors

The colors that you use might not always be apparent, but they do make a difference. Consider the important areas of your website.

  • Headlines
  • Borders
  • Background
  • Banners and Graphics
  • Buttons
  • Pop-ups

Choosing the Right Colors

Choosing the right colors for your website requires a lot of creativity and experimentation. Bear in mind that every color is very psychological, and different color harmonies produce different effects. For example, analogous colors are similar in hue, creating a smooth transition from one color to the next. Complementary colors are opposite to each other on the color wheel, so they create a strong contrast. Monochromatic color schemes can be subtle and sophisticated.

Once you’ve selected your colors or your color scheme, you are free to adjust the value of each color – how light or dark the color is. Or you may wish to adjust the saturation, how rich it is. Each hue on the color wheel has a different inherent value. Yellow, for example, is lighter than blue. To increase contrast in your color scheme, you may need to adjust the value of a specific color – like making a yellow darker or lighter. Or perhaps adjust the saturation to vary the intensity.