Color Harmony in Web Design – A Deep Dive into Color Psychology

Oskar Bugarić

Oskar Bugarić

Color Psychology In Web Design


Have you ever noticed how some websites just feel right? Well, one big reason is color. In fact, it’s arguably the most important thing when making websites. When you visit a new site, it’s like meeting someone for the first time.

The 7-Second Rule

Research suggests that, on average, it takes 7 seconds to form an impression. In the vast world of the internet, those initial seconds are make-or-break. If a website isn’t attractive, potential visitors may leave due to bad first impressions.

Why Colors Matter

Color plays a vital role in the look and feel of a website. It is the first thing you see when you open a new page. Colors evoke emotions, set the tone, and leave a lasting impact. Understanding the psychology behind colors is key to creating a visually appealing website.

Industry Color Trends

Before picking a color scheme, it is a good idea to analyze competitor websites. Take note of the color palettes they use and see if there is a pattern. Understanding how competitors use colors on their digital platforms can inspire your choices. This is also a good time to explore alternatives you could use to stand out from your competitors.

Color Wheel

The Color Wheel

The color wheel is a circular diagram of colors. The primary purpose of a color wheel is to illustrate relationships between colors. It helps designers create color combinations, and it’s a great starting point.

Color wheel includes: 

  1. Primary Colors: Red, blue, and yellow are the foundational colors. They cannot be created by mixing other colors. All other colors derive from these three.
  2. Secondary Colors: Green, orange, and purple result from mixing two primary colors. For example, blue and yellow make green.
  3. Tertiary Colors: These are created by mixing a primary color with a neighboring secondary color. Examples include red-orange, yellow-green, and blue-violet.

The color wheel helps show which colors look good together:

  1. Complementary Colors: Colors on opposite sides make each other stand out. It gives the largest possible contrast. For example, red and green.
  2. Analogous Colors: Colors next to each other, like blue and green. They offer a harmonious and calming color palette.
  3. Triadic Colors: Three colors evenly spaced around the wheel, like red, blue, and yellow. They offer a dynamic color palette.

Color wheel is a fantastic tool to help you choose a color palette for your website. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t experiment with other color combinations. It is always there if you get stuck or need inspiration.

Picking The Right Colors

So how will you choose the right color for your website? There is no concrete answer to that question, but there are some guidelines you should follow.

  1. Consider Your Brand Identity: Use colors that reflect the values of your brand. If your brand is modern and vibrant, consider using bold contrasting colors. Alternatively, a more sophisticated brand could enjoy a muted, more silent color palette.
  2. Understand Your Target Audience: Different colors resonate differently with various demographics. If your audience consists of younger individuals, you should lean towards vibrant colors. Alternatively, if your target demographic is more conservative, a classic color scheme may be effective. Understanding your audience helps you choose the right color scheme.
  3. Conveying Emotions Through Colors: Colors can make people feel things and send messages. For example, red can make people feel passionate and urgent. Blue can make them feel calm and trusting. Green might make them think about growth and nature.

When you pick colors for your website, think about how you want people to feel. Choose colors that match those feelings on purpose. It’s like creating a mood for your website.

  1. Pick A Base Color:  Select a primary color, considering the steps above. This color conveys the important elements of the website. Consider the emotions associated with the color and how well it resonates with your brand.
  2. Build A Color Palette: Now add the secondary, and possibly tertiary colors. Remember, The more colors you add, the harder it is to balance them all. A general guideline is to aim for 3-5 colors.

There is nothing wrong with picking one main color and adding shades of black and white. Limiting the colors simplifies the decision-making for both designers and users.

  1. Experiment With The Colors: Take your time to experiment with different color combinations. It is very difficult to change the full-color palette when the website is already finished. Create some sections, add text and pictures, and see how it looks. This is the best time to make visual changes, in the early stages.
  2. Gather Feedback: Before finalizing, ask your team members or target users for thoughts. The more information you can gather this way, the better.

Importance Of Contrast

The importance of contrast can’t be overstated. It is a great way to create a visual hierarchy between elements on your website. It ensures that the important elements stand out and grab attention.

Contrast can be created in many different ways. Whether through color variations, size of elements, or images, it is equally important. It improves accessibility, making content more digestible for all users. Make sure that there is enough contrast between the text and background colors. Use an online contrast checker for text readability.

Contrast is key to a well-balanced design that leaves a lasting impression. Be careful when adding contrast, as too much contrast can overwhelm the user. If everything stands out, nothing stands out.

Avoiding Pure Black And White

While black and white are powerful tools in design, using pure black (#000000) and pure white (#FFFFFF) can sometimes be harsh on the eyes. Instead, consider using off-white tones for backgrounds and dark grays for text. This reduces eye strain and enhances readability while maintaining a modern aesthetic.


It’s easy to overlook this step, but staying consistent is key. It is the main ingredient for professional-looking sites. Consistency reinforces your brand identity. Being consistent with colors builds trust and familiarity with your audience. It also helps guide users to navigate through your website.


Choosing colors is like building the foundations of a house. If the foundations are unstable, the whole house could crumble at any time.

Take your time choosing colors for your website. It is arguably the most important part of first impressions of any website. Each color you add must have a reason behind it. If you are adding colors randomly, they are probably redundant. The more colors you use, the harder it is to balance them. 

Use the steps we described above, and you are one step closer to mastering color theory. And if you need some extra help, we at Adonomy can assist you.

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