How To Choose The Right Color Palette In Web Design

Jean| 2014-04-18 Tutorials, Web Design Comments( 0 )

When we design a website, it is inevitable to meet the issue of the selection of colors .The right combination of colors is beneficial to conveying the subject and also catching the users’ eyes. So do you know how to choose the right color palette for your page?

First, before making a choice, we should ask ourselves the following questions:

What’s your purpose of your website? Is its main mission to show something intuitively or to attract more members to register ? Is it a personal website or a SNS one? An ecommerce one or an official one?

What’re the major potential visitors of your website? Does the website convey message to some special groups exclusively ? Does it have a global or regional market?

The purpose and the potential visitors contribute a lot to the choice of colors. A personal website may use more satured colors, because it shows the designers’ passion. However, a SNS website may just use monotonous colors, for the main purpose of SNS is to lead users to communicate and share with others and the decoration is less important. Besides, colors evoke different emotions of people in different cultures. For example, yellow is an imperial color in China, but in America it may symbolize cowardliness or urine. We should pay attention to these issues.

However, nowadays emotions evoked by colors gradually have no regional differences. In the color psychology, colors have the following intimation:

  • Red - energy, excitement, symbol of life, aggressive, passionate, vigor.
  • Yellow - cheerful, happiness, optimism, playful, sunny, warm.
  • Green - conservative, wealth, nature, good luck, fertility, generosity.
  • Blue - cold, uncaring, focused, dependable, loyal, serene, sedate, trustworthy.
  • Purple - royalty, religious, superficial, spiritual.
  • Pink - calming, gentle, delicate, feminine, tranquil.
  • Brown - reliable, stable, earthy.
  • Gray - unsettling, moody, dull.
  • Black - authority, power, somber, evil, easy to overwhelm, bold, empty.
  • White - purity, clean, sterile.

According to the factors mentioned above, we can choose the proper combination of colors now. There are some basic roles, such as color theory, helping us to organized colors easily .

About the basics of color theory:

Color theory is a set of principles in order to create harmonious color combinations. Color representation can be visually represented by the color wheel.

Color Wheel

We can refer Munsell Color System in wikipedia to get more information about colors.


So which colors combining together can get a harmony? Theory shows that:

  • 2 colors opposite of each other on the wheel are harmonious.
  • Any 3 colors equally spaced around the color wheel forming a triangle are harmonious.
  • Any 4 colors forming a rectangle and each opposite of each other on the color wheel are harmonious.

There are some efficient color schemes as following.

Monochromatic color scheme

A monochromatic color scheme has a dominant color. We can use various shades, tones, variations of lightness and tints of the color to get the auxiliary colors. These colors can work well with the achromatic colors, the common black, white and grey. This scheme makes website have a sense of hierarchy, and have a clean effect.



Analogous color scheme

This color scheme uses colors which are adjacent to each other. For example, the green-blue-purple scheme and red-orange-yellow scheme. One color is the ruling color, and the other colors are used to enrich the effect. It has two main different categories, cool colors scheme and warm colors scheme. The cool ones are often used to create a peaceful website and also get an elegant atmosphere. The warm ones make our website more stable, and make users feel more welcome.



Complementary color scheme

This color scheme are two colors that are opposite of the color wheel. Such as a green-red one or yellow-purple one. Strong color contrast brings our website visual allure. It can highlight the particular area.



However, the whole feeling changes when the hues changes.4

Triadic color schemes

A Triadic color scheme uses three colors that are each separated by 120 degrees on the color wheel. These schemes can make our website more rich and vibrant.10


It is recommend select limited number of colors. Four or five main colors, plus black and white, should be sufficient. Too many colors create discord and will distract the user.

So do you get a inspiration of using colors now?

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