Applying the Color Theory in Web Design

14765888_sSome psychologists consider colors as a conditioning tool that can affect the behavior of people to a certain degree. Colors can also play a huge part in attracting the attention of the readers of your website. Expanding your knowledge on the color theory can make a difference on how your website affects the mood of the readers.

Selecting a Color Palette

A useful tool in the selection of color palettes is the 12-part color wheel. You can take advantage of this simple but logical arrangement of colors in order to choose the best combination for a website.

Analogous Schemes

Analogous colors are three colors located side by side on the color spectrum or wheel. An example is the scheme containing yellow, yellow-orange and orange. This combination of colors can give your web page a soft and harmonious appearance that is pleasing to the eye.

Depending on which three you will choose, you can also come up with a seemingly monochromatic scheme. An example is yellow-orange, orange and red-orange. This type of scheme is usually used when taking into consideration the branding of a company or a product.

Complementary Schemes


Complementary colors are two colors located at opposite positions on the color wheel. As its name suggests, this type of scheme makes use of colors that already naturally complement each other. This can be used if you want to introduce a high level of contrast on your web page or if you want to highlight a certain element.

Contrasting colors, for example, can improve readability. When selecting a background and a text color, contrast can be used to grab the attention of the readers and reduce eyestrain. Complementary colors can be used with the lighter color in the background.

The same principle of contrast and complementary can also be used when selecting colors for other elements in the web page. For example, if the website has a dark background, a lighter color can be used to highlight the main content. In this case, the high contrast between the large background and the main element can guide the attention of your readers. However, too many complementary colors can sometimes be overpowering so it is important to find a nice balance.

Triadic Schemes

Triadic colors are three colors, which are at equal distances from each other on the color wheel. An example is red, blue and yellow. These three colors can give your website a sense of equality. With an equal vibrancy, these colors can give life to a dull website without being too overpowering.

Color Schemes from Nature

Another useful tool that you can take inspiration from when selecting a color palette is nature.

Regardless of whether it fits in the technical structures for color harmony, colors found in nature can usually help create a harmonious design. For example, looking at the colors a garden can give you a scheme with red, yellow and green. Taking the colors from the beach can give you white, blue and green. Taking the colors from the forest can give you yellow, green and brown.

Readers, what’s your take? How do you use color in your designs?

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