Why Color Schemes on the Web Matter

When it comes to choosing colors for your website, there are a lot of factors that go into that decision. As a designer, you have to consider the psychology behind the color, how the color meshes with the overall brand image, and how the different colors on the page all work together as a whole.

Here are five reasons color schemes matter on the web.

First Impressions

A website is the first impression online visitors have of a company. A poor color scheme is almost painful to the eyes and may be hard for the visitor to read. On the other hand, a well-done color scheme is a beautiful thing to behold.

In fact, by using the same colors in its web design as in its marketing materials, a company can boost brand recognition by 80 percent, according to Kissmetrics. This creates trust between the consumer and the company.


One example of good use of brand colors on a website can be seen at Starbucks’ website. Starbucks is known for its earthy-green logo. This logo is easily spotted in the upper left corner of the website page. However, the color scheme then ties into the branding color by placing a band in the same green across the top, setting off those colors against some white space and then throwing in some complementary colors, such as charcoal-grey.

Elicit an Emotional Response

Color can help connect site visitors to a feeling. About 85 percent of online shoppers base their decision on whether or not to buy exclusively on color, says Kissmetrics. That is a powerful connection! Although there are some basic thoughts on color choice and emotion, nothing is set in stone.

For example, you might have heard that blue is calming and associate that color with something boring. However, there are many different shades of blue. A bright, Caribbean blue can be fun and exciting, for example.


Take a look at Made by Fieldwork to see how a blue-green can be fun and fresh. No one could argue that the bright and lively colors on this site are boring.

Set a Mood

A color scheme can be used to set the mood for your business. Some site visitors will land on a page and won’t know what your company is about. Using the right color scheme can help you set the mood and inform visitors without using a single word.

For example, if you use bright colors like in the example above, then site visitors will know your business is lighthearted and fun.


A good example of how a color scheme can set a mood can be found at 12 Keys Rehab. Notice how the color scheme uses positive and encouraging colors. The blue is a bright and hopeful blue. The color scheme then pulls in green, yellow and purple. All of the colors represent uplifting hues.

Creating Contrast

Have you ever visited a website with yellow text on a black background?

If so, then you probably still remember how your eyes hurt after attempting to read that text. Your color scheme is important because all of the factors come together to create an experience for the website visitor. If you don’t use the right colors, then the reader may find your text hard to read or the colors on the page grating to the eyes.

A good contrast between colors works best. To figure out what colors contrast and complement one another, you may want to utilize a color wheel to help you choose the colors in your design scheme. Or you can employ a ready-made color palette to be sure you use the best colors possible for your design.


A good example of complementary colors and contrasting colors can be found on Athena Art Finance. The site uses some beautiful jewel tones to create an elegant look. However, there is also a balance of white space. Note how the designer used a color scheme that included dark text on a light background and light text on a dark background.

Set You Apart from the Competition

If your competitor has a readily recognizable color for its branding, you’ll want to avoid that color scheme for your own website. A unique color scheme that meshes well and touches on the mood you want to evoke can help you get an edge up on the competition.

You can learn a lot by studying color schemes done well and studying the various factors that go into choosing a color scheme. For example, take a look at Dunkin Donuts’ website. Compare it to Starbucks. Note how the colors are very different, which sets the two companies apart, yet they are both in the top three for coffee sales along with McDonald’s. If you visited DD’s website, you would instantly recognize the colors.

Coming Up With Your Own Color Scheme

Knowing the importance of a color scheme is one thing, but coming up with one can be more challenging. For example, you might need to design a site around an unusual color on the company logo.


Fortunately, there are color palette creation tools that will allow you to plug in one color and receive suggestions for complementary colors that might work.

Color is a powerful tool in your designer arsenal. Take the time to understand the company branding, figure out which colors look best with what the company is already doing from a branding standpoint, and don’t be afraid to try something new and fresh.

4 thoughts on “Why Color Schemes on the Web Matter”

  1. Very useful, I sometimes struggle with color palette’s for our clients, but with the above mentioned tools, I am sure to surprise our clients with beautiful schemas. Thank you so much for the wonderful artic.

    1. Color scheme is not as easy as many believe. A lot goes into them, and I’m glad you found the tools helpful!

  2. I have found awesome tips to be very helpful. The key is to use the ones that work for yourself, of course. Thanks!Hello there and thank you for an incredible article. I truly simply cherish your website. I will bookmark it and returned for additional.

  3. Color is an important factor in web design. It can be used to brand a business, inspire certain emotions, and more. Great post.

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