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How to best leverage colour theory in web design

Get the low-down on how colour theory on your website impacts your audience’s experience and their perception of your business.

Laura Richter
By Laura Richter   /   September 9, 2019
Dark vintage circus image of elements

With an estimated 90% of our snap judgements around products and services based on colour, nailing the right colour balance is an essential part of your brand. A considered colour palette for your website helps encourage users to stay on your site for longer and learn more about your business. When looking at your brand colour strategy, keep in mind that colours hold certain cultural associations and can insight specific emotions. While the colour needs of a website should be assessed on a case by case basis, here are some of the traditional associations around colour theory:

White: Purity, clarity, simplicity, sophistication, innocence, freshness

White colour theory in web design image

Yellow: Optimism, confidence, friendliness, creativity, youthfulness

Yellow colour theory in web design image

Orange: Warmth, youthfulness, abundance, fun, energetic, uniqueness

Orange colour theory in web design image

Red: Courage, passion, strength, power, speed, energy

Red colour theory in web design image

Green: Harmony, balance, environmental awareness, calmness, growth, organic, adventurous

Green colour theory in web design image

Blue: Trust, efficiency, serenity, calmness, logic, cleansing, business-like

Blue colour theory in web design image

Purple: Luxury, regalness, spirituality, authenticity, quality, celestial

Purple colour theory in web design image

Black: Glamour, luxury, substance, efficiency, power, strength, the unknown, accuracy

The colour black in website colour psychology

So how can we best use colour theory?

Again, we need to stress that colour theory in design is not formulaic. Approaching your website with the mindset of if I use blue my brand will feel trustworthy could potentially mislead or confuse your audience. It’s important to consider your whole brand when looking at colours for your website. Brand and identity strategy aside, here’s a few key points to consider when thinking about the colour theory strategy for your website:

  • It’s not just about choosing the perfect colour. A successful website needs a balance between a range of colours to best structure the page hierarchy. This approach directs what the user looks at first and what is deemed the most important so getting this right is key.
  • Don’t overwhelm your audience with too many colours (unless rainbows are in line with your business’ brand!). Too many colours can dilute your core identity and makes it harder to build brand recognition.
  • Rules are meant to be broken but keep legibility and clarity at top of mind to create the best possible user experience. A website that is easy to navigate means your audience will take the time to explore and engage with your business.

Creating a website isn’t as easy as it may seem! To get a hand creating the perfect online presence for your business, get in touch with us.