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    The Art and Science of Choosing the Best Colors for Websites

    By Kay Swift

    Color is magical, energizing, powerful, and most importantly, persuasive. Without it, life would be dull and gray. However, there is more to color than meets the theoretical trichromatic human eye. The psychology behind color is fascinating, largely inspiring the process of picking out brand and website colors. This is because colors evoke different emotions and actions in humans.


    The best colors for websites have the potential to increase brand memorability, revenue, and customer engagement. This involves understanding the psychology and meaning behind popular shades as well as looking at how different web color themes and palettes work.


    website colors

    How to Select the Best Website Colors?

    There are a few important rules to follow when selecting web color palettes. These form part of other critical website design best practices and apply whether you’re an experienced website designer or inexperienced and using a website-building platform.


    Find a Web Color Scheme That Fits Your Brand

    As far as web color palettes go, one important best practice prevails. A website color scheme must match the person or business’s branding guidelines. Following this design rule ensures that the website is recognizable. If you don’t have yours mapped out, now is the time to get your branding on track.


    Consult Branding Guidelines for Focus Colors

    The branding guide you, your business, or your clients’ follow is where you should look for your website color palette, especially the website focus colors. Going through it will make your task straightforward and result in a design that seamlessly fits your brand identity. Ultimately, this is one of the main goals when designing and developing a website, not simply achieving an aesthetic look.


    Take Inspiration From Packaging and Marketing Material

    It’s very unusual to start designing an online store or website without already having a logo, brand colors, and fonts picked out. However, if this is the case, you may turn to existing brand packaging, logos, and marketing material for inspiration. This way, you might be able to use the most recognizable and popular content to create a suitable website color palette.

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    Refine Your Web Color Palette

    You don’t have to use all the colors in your branding guidelines or material. Picking the most distinct, attractive, and complementary colors to build upon is the ideal way to go. Remember that your priority should be building brand recognition, and not going with your favorite colors or the one you find the prettiest.


    Expand on the Web Color Palette

    When designing a website, it’s not unusual for a designer to expand on the focus colors with additional complementary shades. After all, you cannot use bright red for every button, tab, and page background. Not only would this look unattractive, but it would also confuse users by creating a lack of distinction between elements and pages.


    How Designers Create the Best Website Color Schemes

    If you’re not a professional, you may be wondering how a web design company chooses a color palette for any given website. While it may employ a few tricks to create a suitable color palette, it will, without a doubt, rely on color theory to select the most effective alternatives.


    The best color palettes for websites typically consist of various focus colors and complementary hues, shades, tones, tints, and neutrals. All these colors should work well together. However, a web color palette should also offer enough variance to differentiate elements and pages in an attractive manner. Here are colors that complementary color schemes for websites may consist of:

    • Focus colors. Focus colors are the specific colors that web designers pick to be central to a website. It’s common to select bright primary and secondary colors (known as hues) such as red, blue, and yellow as focus colors. However, focus colors are also generally central to a brand, tying it and its website together.
    • Pure neutrals. You may consider black, gray, white, and brown pure neutrals. These colors are safe to use with almost any focus color. As they contain no distinct primary or secondary color hue, they don’t compete with focus colors. When used correctly, neutrals ensure that focus colors remain the stars of website color palettes.
    • Monochromes. Monochromatic colorsare different shades, tones, and tints of the same color or hue. It’s possible to create them by mixing pure black, gray, or white into the original focus color. This way, monochromes do not compete with focus colors, making them a top color palette choice for website design.
    • Pastels. A color with white mixed into it is a tint, but it’s also common to refer to it as pastel. Ideally, you should only use pastels with the same base hue as your focus colors. However, you may also consider using pastels with complementary base hues in color schemes for websites.
    • Shades. A color mixed with black into it is a shade. While it’s best to use shades with the same base hue as your focus colors, like pastels, you may also use them with complementary base color hues.
    • Complementary colors. In color theory, complementary colors are ones that oppose each other on a color wheel. If your focus color is red, green is its complementary color, as is orange to blue and purple to yellow. Complementary colors offer a way to add additional focus colors that are also eye-catching but still fit color schemes for websites well.
    • Neutrals. White, black, gray, and brown are pure neutrals as they contain no distinct color hue. However, you may also create near neutrals by mixing a pure neutral with one primary or secondary color hue. It’s best to use near neutrals with focus colors containing the same or complementary base color hues.


    colors for websites

    The Best Background Web Color Palettes: Neutrals

    Selecting bright primary and secondary colors as website focus colors is the obvious choice. Hues of red, blue, green, purple, orange, yellow, and pink are excellent accent colors, ideal for catching the eye, and easy to recall. Choosing a custom-mixed hue for your business also improves brand awareness.


    If you are wondering which the best website color palettes for backgrounds are, consider these alternatives.

    • Pure and near neutrals. As they are less eye-catching and gentler than focus colors, neutrals make the best background colors for websites. The less brightly or distinctly hued, the better.
    • Pastels, shades, tints, and monochromatic colors. Pastels, tints, shades, and monochromes are also ideal. These background color choices ensure that the attention remains on focus colors and elements such as tabs, buttons, and text.
    • Tinted textures, illustrations, and images. A background may be a gradient, textured, or opaque, not simply a flat neutral color. A web design company may also place illustrations or photographs as backgrounds. However, it’s common to edit these images to be semi-opaque, lighter, or darker. Alternatively, you may tone them to match your website’s focus colors.



    Website colors vary, influenced by a business’s industry and the image it wishes to portray to the public. Primary and secondary colors are top choices for website color schemes. Monochromes, neutrals, shades, and pastels play an equally crucial supporting role, serving as the best background colors.


    However, there is no conclusive list of the best colors for websites because the ones you should select depend on your existing business branding and ethos. Remember that offline and online branding plays a key role in website design, and you need to put brand awareness and memorability first. Then, you may choose a web color scheme your customers will identify easily.

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