Effective Guidelines to Manage Colors on Your Site

Colors are one of the most important elements in your website. Your whole design and structure is at risk if you don’t get the perfect mix and match of colors. This is exactly why developers around the world lay so much of emphasis on color scheme of your website. From the font to the background and from the hyperlinks to the borders all colors used must be in complete harmony with each other to make your ecommerce website appear visually attractive. Now this might sound cliché to many but the fact remains colors are a deciding factor in the success of a website.

Let us go back to the kindergarten days and recall what we were taught. We were taught that there were three primary colors – Red, Green and Yellow which combine to form other colors or secondary colors. This theory holds good even in today’s highly technical Computer Age with only one correction, ‘Yellow’ is replaced by ‘Blue’ and all the colors that we see on our computer screen are nothing but a combination of these three colors – Red, Green and Blue or RGB as it is popularly known. You can get any shade of color from pure black to pure white changing the component values of these colors from 0 to 255. Pure white is R-255, G-255 and B-255 while pure black is R-0, G-0 and B-0.

Secondary colors are formed when you combine. You get yellow combining red and green, magenta combining red and blue and cyan combining blue and green. Then there are the tertiary colors which are the result of combining the primary with secondary colors: yellow-orange called marigold, yellow-green is chartreuse, red-orange or vermilion, red-purple is magenta, blue- purple born the violet color, and blue-green is aquamarine. This can be further understood using the color wheel.

Apart from these there are ‘warm colors’ which are situated on the color wheel between red and yellow and arouse desire and action and. ‘Cold colors’ which are based between blue and green radiate calmness and are used to create backgrounds. A professional web designer must know the proper usage of colors and use them as per the requirements of the project.

Different Usage of Color

  • Monochromatic – The name is self-explanatory and in this form or color scheme a single color is used to design the websites. The difference in the hue and saturation denotes the different sections of the website. Websites using this color scheme look elegant if this is neatly done. This type of color scheme lacks high contrast but looks visually attractive especially for single column websites with little information.
  • Analogous – This color scheme refers to using colors that are neighbors on the color wheel. Such websites are easy on the eye as there isn’t too much of contrast between the colors used. This color scheme allows you to experiment with all the twelve colors on the wheel and creates zero tension for the eye.
  • Complementary – Complementary color usage is all about making use of color contrast and this is used in website where the message needs to be delivered in an intense manner. Complementary colors attract the visitor’s attention immediately. In theory complementary colors are those which are placed opposite to each other on the color wheel. But be careful with the choice of complementary colors as this shouldn’t create tension in the eyes of the visitor.
  • Triadic – Many web designers in the world prefer to use triadic color scheme which allows them much more flexibility than using the complementary colors. Here three different colors are used which are situated each one under 120°. In practice designers use only two colors dominantly in the website while the third one is used only to highlight.
  • Split Complementary – This is similar to choosing the complementary color with the only difference being instead of choosing the complementary color you choose its neighbors. Here you choose a color which is either on the left or right of the complementary color on the color wheel to design your website.
  • Tetrad – In this kind of color scheme four colors are used to design a website. Usually two adjacent and the opposite of these colors are used in websites which are developed using this color scheme. This is a very complicated color scheme but helps create highly attractive website with different highlight points.

Importance of Colors


We have talked all about colors and their technicalities so far and you might be wondering why are colors so important in a website. Why is it that certain colors bring you more brand value than others? Well here are a few of the benefits that right choices of colors bring to your website.

  • Colors Brand Businesses – There are a certain colors which represent businesses such as the Coco Cola red for the beverage giant or the dull blue which Nokia uses colors brand business. If your products or company is themed around a certain color you need to make sure the website designer uses the same color to design your website as it will give you speedy recognition and competitive edge in the market.
  • Colors Are Manipulative – Light shades of blue has a calming effect and thus many financial websites tend to use this color as their users need to have a calm mind for wise decision making. Environmental websites are green or brown as it enables visitors to identify with the issue. The color red tends to arouse a person and thus many political organizations tend to use this color to create their websites.
  • Colors Can Act Winners or Killers – As we have mentioned it earlier proper usage of colors can act as winner for your website and in case you get it wrong it can affect the performance of your website adversely. There are many websites which you might have closed as soon as the page rendered and the reason for this would have been bad choice of colors which created tension in your eyes and brain. So along with functionality, structure and multimedia elements it is important that one gets the color scheme right. It Emphasizes Your Message – In everyday life we tend to use the highlighter to mark important lines or sentences in our book. Colors achieve the same thing in your website. The contrast is very important in the context of a website and a message can be highlighted with proper usage of contrast. However it is also important that you get the contrast right to make the website appear pleasing to the eye.
  • Color Forms The Soul of Marketing – Colors increase your brand recognition and you need to make use it is used adequately in your marketing campaign. It allows viewers to easily identify with your brand easily and just for your information color ads appearing in a newspaper are viewed 40% more than the black and while ads and now you know what to do with your marketing campaign.

Colors are one of the most vital elements of your web design and once you get it right you can be rest assured that you will have an increased viewership to your website.

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    Thanks for defining terms like “Monochromatic”, and “Complementary”. The explanation was really good.

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