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How to Use a Color Palette in Web Design

Table Of Contents

Introduction to Color Palettes

In the world of web design, color is more than just a visual element. It's a powerful tool that can evoke emotions, convey messages, and guide user behavior. But how do you effectively use a color palette to enhance your website's design and user experience? Let's dive in.

Understanding Color Theory in Design

Before diving into the practical application of color in web design, it's essential to grasp the basics of color theory.

  • Primary Colors: Red, Blue, and Yellow are the foundation of all other colors.
  • Secondary Colors: Created by mixing two primary colors. (Green, Orange, Purple)
  • Tertiary Colors: These are combinations of Primary and Secondary colors.

Understanding how colors relate to one another on the color wheel and in design can help web designers create harmonious designs. Understanding when to use contrasting colors and when to use complimentary colors is crucial.

The Psychology of Website Color

Different colors can evoke different emotions and reactions:

Primary Colors

  • Red: Symbolizes passion, energy, and urgency. It's a color that demands attention and can evoke strong emotions, making it ideal for call-to-action buttons or sale announcements.
  • Blue: Associated with trust, calm, and stability. Often used in corporate and tech websites to convey reliability and professionalism.
  • Yellow: Represents happiness, optimism, and warmth. It's bright and inviting, often used to grab attention or highlight important elements.

Secondary Colors:

  • Green: Evokes feelings of growth, nature, and tranquility. It's also associated with health, renewal, and harmony.
  • Orange: Exudes enthusiasm, creativity, and warmth. It's vibrant and energetic, often used to highlight important elements without the intensity of red.
  • Purple: Often linked to luxury, mystery, and spirituality. It combines the calm of blue with the passion of red, making it versatile and rich.

Neutral Colors:

  • Black: Denotes power, sophistication, and elegance. In design, it can be used to convey a sense of luxury or modernity. However, overuse can make a design feel heavy or oppressive.
  • White: Symbolizes purity, simplicity, and cleanliness. It provides a sense of space and can be used to create contrast, making other colors pop.
  • Grey: Represents neutrality, balance, and sophistication. It's versatile and can be used in various shades to provide depth and contrast without overwhelming the design.

Understanding the emotional and psychological implications of colors is crucial for designers. By choosing the right hues, they can guide user behavior, set the mood, and convey the desired message effectively.

When choosing a color palette, be sure to consider the emotions and reactions you want to elicit from your audience.

Positive and Negative Space in Web Design

Color isn't just about the elements you see; it's also about the space between them.


Using color to differentiate between positive (filled) and negative (empty) space can enhance readability and guide user attention.

The strategic use of negative space, often left in its natural state or filled with a neutral color, provides a visual break, allowing the viewer's eyes to rest.

This balance between filled and unfilled spaces ensures that the design doesn't feel cluttered.

Moreover, the interplay of colors in these spaces can create depth, hierarchy, and focus, directing users to key information or calls to action. Proper utilization of both types of spaces can lead to a harmonious and effective design.


The areas highlighted in red are classic examples of Negative Space in Web Design.

Website Conversion and Color Choice

Colors can significantly impact user actions!

For instance, a red CTA button might attract more clicks than a blue one due to its urgency. Test different color combinations to see which ones drive the most conversions.

The psychology behind this is deeply rooted in our perceptions and experiences with colors throughout our lives.

While red often signifies importance, alertness, or even danger, blue tends to be associated with trustworthiness and reliability. This is why emergency stop buttons are often red, while many social media platforms use blue in their logos.

Contrasting Colors

Utilising contrasting colors can make CTAs stand out more, drawing the user's attention. It's not just about the dominant color but also about how it interacts with other elements on the page.

A/B testing with various hues and accent colors can provide valuable insights into user preferences and behaviors, allowing designers to optimize their sites for maximum engagement and conversion rates.

Testing two different color options on a website.

Creating a Cohesive Color Palette

When designing a website:

Designing Your Color Palette

A well-thought-out color palette can elevate your web design, enhance user experience, and drive conversions. By understanding color psychology and complementary colors, positive and negative space, as well as the difference between cool colors and warm colors, you can create stunning and effective web designs.

Don't Know Where to Start?

Start with some of your favorite colors or why not steal one of our hand-picked color palettes below.

Monochromatic Blue

  • Shades: Light Blue, Sky Blue, Royal Blue, Navy Blue or Deep Navy
  • Mood/Industry: Corporate, Technology, Healthcare
  • Description: Conveys trust, calmness, and professionalism. Shades of blue.

Earthy Greens

  • Shades: Sage Green, Olive Green, Forest Green, Mint Green
  • Mood/Industry: Environment, Organic Products, Wellness
  • Description: Evokes feelings of nature, growth, and tranquility. Monochromatic colors.

Warm Neutrals

  • Shades: Beige, Taupe, Brown, Cream
  • Mood/Industry: Fashion, Lifestyle Blogs, Coffee Shops
  • Description: Cozy, inviting, and timeless. Light colors.

Vibrant Tropical

  • Shades: Turquoise, Coral, Bright Yellow, Hot Pink
  • Mood/Industry: Travel, Fashion, Events
  • Description: Energetic, fun, and attention-grabbing. Bright colors.

Modern Grayscale

  • Shades: White, Light Gray, Charcoal, Black
  • Mood/Industry: Modern Businesses, Portfolios, Tech Startups
  • Description: Sleek, sophisticated, and versatile. Minimal design.

Classic Red & Black

  • Shades: Bright Red, Black, White, Gray
  • Mood/Industry: Media, News, Entertainment
  • Description: Bold, dynamic, and authoritative.

Pastel Palette

  • Shades: Pastel Pink, Lavender, Baby Blue, Soft Yellow
  • Mood/Industry: Beauty, Children's Products, Bakeries
  • Description: Gentle, whimsical, and dreamy.

Golden Elegance

  • Shades: Gold, White, Black, Champagne
  • Mood/Industry: Luxury Brands, Jewelry, High-end Services
  • Description: Luxurious, refined, and opulent. Beautiful color palette.

Cool & Calm

  • Shades: Teal, Gray, White, Sea Green
  • Mood/Industry: Spas, Wellness Centers, Medical
  • Description: Relaxing, serene, and therapeutic.

Sunset Hues

  • Shades: Peach, Mauve, Deep Purple, Gold
  • Mood/Industry: Photography, Art, Creative Agencies
  • Description: Warm, artistic, and inspiring. Bright tones.

Remember, the best color scheme and combination of colors for a website often depends on the brand's identity, target audience, and the emotions or actions the brand wants to evoke. It's always a good idea to test different color combinations to see which resonates best with your audience best.

If you need assistance with creating your sites stunning color palette, please don’t hesitate to reach out!

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