What does your colour say about your brand? Why do some industries seem to gravitate towards specific colours? When you think about some of the big players out there, such as McDonald’s and Coca-Cola, you likely know the exact hue in their company colour palette. Have you ever stopped and wondered why they chose those particular ones?
There’s a psychology behind each colour on the spectrum. Even the shade you choose within the same colour family can have a vivid impact. For example, you can choose a pale pink for a soft, feminine look or a bold fuchsia to show youth and excitement.
Your colour scheme is about more than a single colour, though. It’s about how each shade works with the others around it to create contrast, interest, emotion and drive the buyer toward conversion.
What are the best colours for your site design’s colour scheme? Learn how to pull them together to create a streamlined look. Here are some of our favorite schemes and a few examples of how they look in action.
When you think of red, you likely think of a cherry colour. However, the red spectrum contains many different hues. You can even go toward a deep purplish-red, such as maroon.
The shade creates a sense of excitement and shows users something might be happening on your site. A deeper red can convey tradition and elegance. Combine it with gold for a truly luxurious look. Or, stick with neutrals to keep the focus on the buzz about your brand.
Mision Felicidad uses reds to signal the red nose campaign of the organisation. To keep the fake red nose front and centre, they go with a slightly darker shade of the colour for their website theme.
Because the design already features several shades of red, they choose white as a strong neutral and to create some contrast in the background for the black text.
No matter what colour you choose, going with a monochromatic scheme gives your brand a slightly edgy look. If you want to convey trustworthiness, you might choose a deep blue and some varying shades for accents, such as turquoise or pale blue.
Think about the emotions you most want to evoke and seek a colour embracing those feelings for most people. While emotions and colours are rather subjective, based on the person’s experiences with that hue, there are some colours you can tap into that most people like, such as blue.
3. Complementary Colours
Choosing hues on the opposite side of the colour wheel creates a stark contrast and modern edge. For example, you could choose blue and orange or purple and green.
People don’t always expect complementary colours to mesh, but when used correctly, they create a beautiful design that grabs attention and stands out from competitors. The key is to choose one primary colour, a secondary colour you use less frequently and then stick with neutrals.
Illuminated Integration uses purple and green to create a modern look showing users they are up on the latest trends in lighting, audio and event design. Note how they use purple and green in their logo. The hero image has shades of purple. The accent across the top bar and on the CTA button are in the bright green. The other colours on the website are black and white.
Bright, sunny shades can evoke feelings of joy and fun. Do you own a restaurant and want people to see you as the place to hang out with friends? Use yellow as one your primary colours in your palette to draw folks in.
You can also go with soft yellow for background, a neon yellow for accent or a deep mustard yellow for a more established look.
Out of all the colours, people often cite yellow as one they don’t care for, so keep in mind you could turn a few people off if you choose this shade. Conduct A/B testing and make sure it resonates with your target audience.
Pink is light and airy. It conveys youth and fun. You can go with two types of themes with pink in your colour scheme. Add green or neon for a retro 1950s diner look, or choose to add white and neutrals for a more modern take.
You really can’t go wrong with a soft pink, especially if your target audience is made up of mostly females.
Bon Bouquet is a small cafe in Paris, France. The pastel colour scheme makes one think of delicate pastries and brunch out with friends. Their logo is in a neon font, which gives the website a bit of a retro look. They use a pop of green for their call to action (CTA) button.
When choosing a colour scheme for your brand, you might overlook black at first. It can seem ordinary and blah. However, black signifies strength, longevity and determination.
When you go with black and white as your colours, you can add a pop of almost any bright hue to draw attention to CTAs and specific elements on your page. A black and white design with a pop of red draws the user’s gaze to the menu or a CTA button, for example.
Choosing the Right Colour Scheme for Your Brand
How do you know which palette works best for your brand? Think about what you want people to remember most about you and tap into those emotions through the main hue you choose. Next, try different combinations of complementary and contrasting colours until you find a secondary colour you love. Finally, add any accents.
You may need to test different combinations until you find one your customers respond best to. Be patient with the process before deciding on a final selection. The right colour scheme can make your brand memorable to all who encounter it.
Eleanor is the editor-in-chief at Designerly Magazine. She was the director at a marketing firm prior to becoming a freelance web designer. Eleanor lives in Philly with her husband and dog, Bear.