How to Choose a Color Palette for your Website?

Color Wheel

I started my blog with a bright yellow and hot pink pre-made banner. Now that I think back and remember how it looked I think, how could I have done that? I guess it was the colors that caught my attention, that wasn’t really a bad thing, but the way I used them in the design was all wrong. A huge hot pink banner that took up half of the content area and a bright yellow header banner which was almost impossible to read.

That’s when I learned that choosing a color palette for you website is one of the most important parts of the design process. Color is eye catching, it attracts users and can convert visitors into regular users just because of the way your website looks. So take your time to make a great color palette that expresses the product you are selling or that projects the topic of your website, that is the goal.

How to make a great color palette for your website:

1. What’s your website about? Take some time to think about all the words that describe your website. Write them down and analyze them. That’s key in the creative process because what you really want is to express those things with colors.

2. Color psychology. When you already have an idea about what you want people to think when they go to your site, you can start looking for colors that express that. Do a little research about color psychology. I already have written some posts about positive color psychology here that you can check out. Here is also a quick list of color associations:

  • Red: Exciting, passion, drama.

  • Orange: Energy, active, enthusiasm, creativity. It’s well known for stimulate the appetite.

  • Yellow: Happiness, energy.

  • Green: Nature, freshness, growth, stability.

  • Blue: Intelligence, faith, calm, sky.

  • Purple: Royalty, power, extravagance. It’s one of the least used colors in web design.

  • White: Clean, perfection, pure. My favorite background color for a website.

  • Black: Power, elegance.

Do you already have a favorite color you want to use in your website? Does this color match with the topic of your website?

3. Choose a color scheme: Monochromatic, Analogous, Complementary, Triadic and Tetradic. Ok, These five words are maybe really scary sounding, but don’t be scared, they are really easy to understand.

Color Schemes

  • Monochromatic: A color and many shades and tints of the same color.

  • Analogous. Colors that are situated together on the color wheel.

  • Complementary. Colors that are situated on opposite sides of the color wheel.

  • Triadic. Three colors situated on three different extremes of the color wheel.

  • Tetradic. Two complementary schemes.

After you see the images it looks really easy, right? My website has so many colors that it’s basically a tetradic color scheme. I love the fun look to it. Monochromatic schemes can be too plain sometimes. I really enjoy the effects created by analogous and complementary color schemes. Which color scheme do you like best?

4. Create a palette. When you find a color scheme, start playing with those colors. Play with with your colors and look at the different shades and tints of the same colors until you create a personalized color scheme that you can really identify with.

Something important to think about: It’s all about shades. You could be thinking that green is your color, but then you go and do a tests and realize that it doesn’t look that great. Well, maybe green is your color, but you are choosing a green that doesn’t match your style. Here is an example: If you are designing an Eco-friendly women’s clothing store, you might use something like a leaf green with some neutral touches, but if you own a toys store and want to use green too you might go for something more playful.

Green and blue color palette

An analogous color palette in two different shades.

You can also use online color tools like Kuler or Colourlovers. I love using keywords to browse for a color palette like creative blog, craft fun, professional tech or something that reminds you of what your website is about. You can also choose a category like monochromatic, complementary, analogous, triadic and tetradic color scheme, this can be really helpful.

5. How to use the palette. When you already have a color palette there are no rules about how to you use it in your website. I generally like choosing two main colors for the header banner. Then I use the other colors for links, titles and details around the website.

Try to choose a background color that doesn’t fight with your content. I used to have texture in my background but then I realized that it didn’t look good with my pictures so I changed it to a plain white and I love it. If most of your website has pictures, go for something plain, soft and maybe a neutral color. If you have mostly text, you can play with textured or even dark colored backgrounds.

5. Texture. Sometimes you love the color palette but the website just doesn’t look what you had in your head. Think about textures! Add a pattern, motifs, dots, lines or something interesting or fun in your side bars and header banner just to make the space a bit more playful and fun. I really think that those little dots that separate topics on my left sidebar and the colorful arrows really pull the website together. It’s important to make things flow.

I hope this tips help you through this new adventure! You can always look for color palette inspiration in other similar websites, Pinterest or take your own pictures, but before you make this makeover live think about this, Are these colors expressing the main topic of my website?

Don’t forget to be original and unique, that’s what’s gonna make you different and irresistible for customers and readers. Good Luck and happy week. 

7 Responses

  1. janika R says:

    This is soo informative dear. My blog is mostly white now. I must upgrade it soon. I will comeback to this post definitely then. Thanks for sharing.

  2. onel says:

    Ohhhh, thanks so much for this post, Elba! How could I miss this. I’ve never thought about adding texture, so it is definitely something new to think of! Very very informative. I can’t wait to start picking the colors now! Thanks a zillion! 😀

  3. Peter says:

    Great Stuff, i like pictorial explanation…………

  4. varshini says:

    Nice post. Thank you so much

Leave a Reply