Website Color Schemes and Why They Are So Important
Color selection can either be a daunting task or an enjoyable experience, depending on the situation. Suppose you and your future partner are planning to get married. You may have disagreements on which colors to use for the big day. There could be too many good color options to choose from, which makes the process difficult. On the flipside, the whole color option experience can be a fun adventure together, as you and your partner embark on a beautiful journey toward matrimony.
As a web designer, working with clients to find the right color scheme can be a similar process. On each project, I embrace the challenge of finding the right color scheme that reflects what the website is trying to convey.
What is a Color Scheme?
A color scheme is a set of colors chosen to convey an impression or tone. The first step in developing a color scheme is to choose a primary and secondary color. If needed, you can then select an accent / pop color to complement your primary and secondary colors. Your quantity of color options can vary from project to project. Maybe you just need one or two color options, like neutral colors. Or maybe your client wants more than three color options. These should be in service of representing your client’s business, conveying the right mood, and making a lasting impression.
Why is a Color Scheme Important?
Your website is the face you present to the world. For it to be visually appealing, your color selection should generate a mood which grasps the attention of your users and entices them to engage with your aesthetic masterpiece. Some colors may complement one another and others may clash, but they can also be subjective to the user, recalling their personal feelings, tastes, and opinions.
Take McDonald’s color scheme of red and yellow / gold, for example. The company studied color psychology, researching how certain hues interact with human behavior. The color red triggers alertness, energy, and a sense of urgency. The color yellow / gold triggers attention, optimism, and hunger. This is what makes the McDonald’s logo so appealing. Depending on what your website branding will consist of, your color palette will determine what will best represent your aesthetic presentation.
How to Pick Your Colors
There are various resources and websites available to guide you through the color selection process. There is an Adobe website that allows you to create your own color swatches. You are also able to apply color harmony through pre-selected options such as monochromatic, analogous, complementary, and more. The best colors to use for the web are Pantone colors because each color shade is individually color-coded for precise matching and identification. The Pantone website also traditionally selects a specific color as Pantone color of the year.
The 60-30-10 Rule
When color coordinating websites, I usually go with the 60-30-10 color rule. This method is traditionally used in home design. Your primary color will make up 60% of the design, your secondary color will make up 30%, and your accent / pop color will make up 10%. Your accent color will be subtle, but overall your website will have a balanced look. I recommend applying your accent color to small elements such as buttons and horizontal rules.