What Colors Should I Use on My Website?

by Sep 1, 2020Design

Are you working on your web presence and find yourself asking, “What colors should I use on my website?” Don’t worry, we’ve all been there!

Colors, although we have known them since we were young, can be daunting when it comes to design. There are so many options, and not only should it be a color combination that you love for your brand, but one that demands attention.

Creating a good website color scheme can be the deciding factor for if visitors remain on your site. That being said, you need to make sure that you pick the best color for your website so it passes the 15 Second Rule.

What is the 15 Seconds Rule?

In the website design and development world, the 15 Seconds Rule explains that you have 15 seconds to capture the attention of your visitor, otherwise they will leave your site.

The various advancements in web design have caused visitors to expect more responsive websites. That being said, designers have become extremely creative in terms of attention-grabbing landing pages. This begins and ends with choosing the right colors.

Why do I need a Website Color Scheme?

In general, colors play a crucial role in marketing. They are used to stir emotions and get people to perform certain actions. That being said, colors can make or break your audience’s perception of your website.

Website Color Scheme

You need a website color scheme to give your visitors a positive impression of your site and brand. Colors that work well together and appear visually pleasing will have your customers remaining online and browsing your website longer.

Additionally, color scheme plays a crucial role in establishing visual hierarchy.

What is Visual Hierarchy?

Visual hierarchy arranges elements in a design order by importance. Elements at the top of the list will demand a user’s attention immediately. Designers use visual hierarchy to influence users’ perceptions.

It’s important to note that colors have their own hierarchy, which can be best explained through how they make people feel. For example, a bold color like yellow is eye-catching and requires our attention. Yellow might be used by designers to help users find what they need quickly or emphasize a call to action. A weaker color such as grey could be utilized more for contrasting certain features.

Therefore, if you want to tell users about a special offer or get them to perform a certain action, you might use a brighter color to stand out and capture their attention. It’s even better if this color is included in your overall color scheme!

What is Color Preference?

One of the first things people learn about the psychology of color is how it influences consumers.

Color preference explains that the influence of colors guide our choices in everything we do and see. Even though color may have nothing to do with how something performs, we each have our own preference and want things in a specific color. As humans we like to think that we are rational, but we are actually ruled by the unconscious impact of color.

As humans we like to think that we are rational, but we are actually ruled by the unconscious impact of color. Click To Tweet


In other words, everyone has different experiences and relates those experiences to different objects and their colors.

What is Color Theory?

In short, color theory sets the rules for color combinations. Just like people have a color preference, we make decisions based on color theory. Since essentially everything in our world is visual, anyone creating something with hopes to connect with others will choose their colors wisely.

Colors affect our emotions so it’s no surprise that people use color psychology marketing to their advantage.

The Color Wheel

Sir Isaac Newton created the color wheel in 1866 to identify how light reflected off prisms.

The Color Wheel
Image Source

The first color model is red, yellow and blue and they are known as primary colors. Primary colors are the base from which all other colors are derived.

The secondary colors in this wheel are green, orange and purple and they are the combined result of primary colors.

Finally, the tertiary colors are green-yellow, yellow-orange, orange-red, red-purple, purple/violet-blue and blue-green. These are the result of the primary colors mixed with secondary colors.

You’ll find that complementary colors can be found directly across the wheel from each other. Examples include, blue/orange, red/green and yellow/purple.

An alternative model of the color wheel is based on red, green and blue.

How do I properly use color on my website?

Color must be used correctly with the right people at the right time. That being said, before using colors in your marketing, do your research!

  • The color blue encourages trust
  • The color red triggers passion
  • The color yellow is used for warnings
  • The color orange is fun and can represent impulse
  • The color black represents luxury or value

The most important thing you need to know about colors are the feelings or responses they trigger. Once you have done your research and know the impact they have on people, you can begin to properly use colors on your site.

How do I integrate my brand into the colors on my website?

First and foremost, your logo should set the guidelines for the colors you utilize on your website. Not only should they be colors you like, but they should be consistent on all of your branding. You want visitors to know they’ve come to the right website because all of your colors match.

Popular Brand and Logo Colors
Image Source

Now that you’ve determined what colors work best, you need to integrate them into your site.

Color in Images

A great way to make sure you are including your brand’s colors on your website is to use them in photos. Whether you only choose photos that reflect your main colors or play with the saturation and color levels to get them to look a certain way, you can make your photos match up.

Colored Text

Having a set colored font is an awesome way to incorporate your branding into different aspects of your marketing efforts. Whether you use it on your advertisements, social media or your website, this is another way for people to recognize your branding.

Colored text is a great way to call attention to certain aspects of your site while incorporating a splash of color from your branding palette. It is more popular to use colored text for a title or header over a body of text, but whatever you choose, make sure that there is an obvious contrast between the background and your text color.

Choose Color for Your Background

The background color is an important aspect of your website. Yes, you can choose white or grey, but consider using one of your brand colors. Remember that a solid background color, unlike a pattern or image, won’t distract users from other elements on your site.

Want to use a white or grey background, but still want to incorporate your palette? Try adding a band of color, color borders around images or color in the header. These are all great ways to keep your brand recognizable and the color harmony on your site visually appealing.

Get Creative

Now that you have a more basic idea of colors and how they can be used on your site, you’re all set! Don’t be afraid to get creative with your palette and incorporate your brand in fun and unique ways.

Did you find this article helpful? You may also like “How to Create Landing Pages That Convert” which talks about designing landing pages for conversions. Further, our article “Resources to Use When Creating a Website Style Guide” goes through various tools that will allow you to utilize all of this information!

Want to know when we have new design blogs posted? Follow us on Twitter at @dcdevshop!


Download our eBook:
Web Design, Redesigns & Rebranding

Our eBook is packed with tips, tricks and tools to build out your website like a professional designer. It lays out an easy-to-read procedure for the entire process.

Download our Inbound Marketing Playbook

Take a PDF copy of our Inbound Marketing Playbook with you to read on the go.

Let's Work Together

We are the leading  WordPress development and HubSpot Inbound Consulting agency in the D.C. area, working with brands to attract and retain clients by leveraging web technologies and inbound marketing methodologies.

Don't be shy, drop us a line. Whether you are aiming to launch a new website yourself or want to hire a team of experts to build a custom site, we'd love to hear from you.