1. The Importance of a Website’s Colour Scheme
  2. Factors to Consider When Choosing a Colour Scheme
  3. Types of Colour Schemes
  4. Practical Tips for Creating a Great Website Colour Scheme
  5. Common Mistakes to Avoid
  6. Struggling To Get A Colour Scheme?
  7. Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Did you know that up to 90% of snap judgements made about products are based solely on colour? That’s right. In the digital world, a website’s colour scheme is a critical component that can make or break user engagement. So, how do you go about choosing the perfect colours for your site? In this comprehensive guide, we’ll delve deep into the science and strategy behind selecting an effective website colour scheme.

The Importance of a Website’s Colour Scheme

As our web designers here at Starbright would say, “A good colour scheme can attract potential customers, while a bad one will drive them away”.

Read on to find out why colour is so critical to the success of your website.

Colour Psychology: More Than Just Hues

When it comes to website design, colour is far more than just eye candy. Different colours evoke distinct psychological reactions. For example, red typically symbolises passion and urgency, while blue exudes calmness and trustworthiness.

If you understand the psychological impact of colours, you can use this knowledge to your advantage.

A Matter of User Experience and Engagement

User experience is a crucial aspect of any website. By carefully selecting a colour scheme, you can create an environment that’s conducive to user engagement.

For instance, if your goal is to increase sales, you might opt for a bright and vibrant colour palette. This could promote excitement and encourage users to take action. Alternatively, if your aim is to generate leads or provide customer support, you may want to go with a calmer, more subdued colour scheme like blue.

Establishing Brand Recognition

Having a unified colour scheme can also help you establish brand recognition.

Take McDonald’s for example.

Most people immediately recognise the iconic golden arches and red and yellow colour palettes. This distinctive branding helps to create an emotional connection with customers, allowing them to easily identify the company wherever they go.

Reflect Your Values and Mission

The colours you choose for your website should also reflect your values and mission.
If you want to project a sense of professionalism, for instance, you may opt for a muted colour palette with classic hues like black, white, and grey.

If your goal is to showcase creativity or innovation, on the other hand, brighter colours like orange, yellow or green may be more suitable.

Factors to Consider When Choosing a Colour Scheme

Choosing a colour scheme is not simply a matter of picking the colours you like. There are various factors that must be taken into account in order to ensure your website looks professional and attractive.

Consider the following factors if you want to have a successful website colour scheme:

Align with Brand Identity

Your brand identity should be the cornerstone for any colour choices you make. The colours need to reflect your brand’s personality, message, and target market. For instance, if your brand is youthful and dynamic, consider vibrant and bold colours.

Know Your Target Audience

Understanding your audience is essential for selecting an appropriate colour scheme. Different demographics respond differently to colours. Younger audiences might resonate with bold, bright shades, older demographics might prefer more subdued hues.

Accessibility: Inclusive Design Matters

An estimated 1 in 12 men and 1 in 200 women worldwide are colour-blind. Using colour combinations that are accessible to all, including those with vision impairments, is not just ethical but can also expand your website’s reach.

Consider the Context

The colour scheme you choose should always take into account the context in which it is being used. Context refers to the purpose and setting of your website. For instance, a medical website should use more muted colours like blue or green as they are often associated with trust and stability.

Balance Your Colour Scheme

An effective colour palette will have a balance of both complementary and contrasting hues. Complementary colours are those that appear opposite each other on the colour wheel, such as blue and orange. Contrasting hues, such as red and green, are also important for highlighting certain elements of your website design.

Create a Visual Hierarchy

Your colour scheme should be used to create a visual hierarchy on your website. This means that you assign different colours to specific elements or sections of the page in order to draw attention to them. This could involve making headings and titles a different colour than the body text.

Use White Space Wisely

White space is an important element of any effective colour scheme, as it helps to draw attention to specific elements on the page. It can also make the design look more inviting and easy to navigate.

Don’t Be Afraid To Experiment

While there are certain guidelines you should follow when creating a colour scheme for your website, don’t be afraid to experiment and think outside the box with different shades and palettes.

Types of Colour Schemes

There are different types of colour schemes to choose from. Here they are:


Monochromatic schemes use shades and tints of a single colour. This choice creates a harmonious and balanced look but can become monotonous if not done correctly.


Analogous colour schemes use colours that sit next to each other on the colour wheel, offering more variety while maintaining harmony.


Complementary schemes use colours opposite each other on the colour wheel. This scheme offers high contrast, making text easy to read.


A triadic scheme uses three evenly spaced colours around the colour wheel. This scheme is vibrant and should be well-balanced to avoid overwhelming the audience.

Practical Tips for Creating a Great Website Colour Scheme

Here are a few practical tips to following when creating a great website colour scheme:

1. Use Colour Picking Tools

For professionals and amateurs alike, colour-picking tools like Adobe Color and Coolors can help you find harmonious colour combinations effortlessly.

2. Test Different Combinations

Always A/B test colour combinations to see which schemes your audience engages with the most. A/B testing in web design can be a powerful tool for determining the best aesthetic and engaging with your audience.

3. Consistency is Key

Maintain a consistent colour scheme across all your website pages to build a coherent brand image.

4. Prioritise Readability

Ensure that your text is easily readable against your background colours. High contrast between text and background is crucial for readability.

5. Consider Accessibility

Be mindful of colour accessibility and contrast ratios. The Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) recommend using a minimum contrast ratio of 4.5:1 between text and background colours.

6. Limit Your Palette

Using too many colours can be distracting, so limit your palette to 2-4 primary colours that you can use consistently across your website.

Common Mistakes to Avoid

Using too many colours: Stick to a palette of 2-4 colours.
Poor contrast: Make sure your text is easily readable against the background.
Ignoring brand identity: Your colour scheme should reflect your brand’s personality.
Not looking at competitors: Look at the colour schemes of your competitors to identify trends in an industry.
Not using tools: Colour-picking tools can help you find the perfect combination with ease.

Struggling To Get A Colour Scheme?

If you can’t settle on a colour scheme, you don’t have to do it alone! Our website design services in South Africa include professional colour palette curation that helps you express your brand’s unique personality.

With our help, you’ll develop a website colour scheme that appeals to your target market and drives conversions for your business.

Get in touch with us today, and we’ll get started on transforming your website into the perfect canvas for success!

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1. How many colours should a website have?

Stick to 2-4 colours for a balanced look.

2. Are dark mode colour schemes effective?

Dark modes are increasingly popular and can reduce eye strain, especially in low-light conditions.

3. What are some popular website colour schemes?

Popular colour schemes include monochromes (black and white), vivid colours, pastels, and jewel tones.
4. Do I need to use a logo in my website colour scheme?

Your logo is an important part of your branding and should be included in your website design. Use it as part of your colour scheme to create a consistent look.