How To Choose The Right Colour Scheme For Your Website

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How to select the right colour scheme for your website

As a teenager, I applied to join the army only to discover I was colour blind.

Nothing dramatic. I found it difficult to distinguish between darker shades of colour. For example, dark grey can often appear to be black and deep blues can appear purple. Web-safe colours are a bonus for me because I know I'm not looking at a made up shade and all the colours are the same on whichever device I'm viewing.

What Is A Web safe Colour?

The colour palette is made up of 256 colours and determined by a mathematical formula. The relationship between the number of shades in the palette and the number of colours an old computer monitor can display – 256 is, of course, no accident.

From those 256 colours, only 216 will display in the same way across all browser and computer platforms.

The remaining forty colours are "dithered" and depend on the graphics card and browser combination to render them on a screen, which is why the output can vary across devices.

If you want to be sure that your website will display in the same colour on all devices you should stick to the 216 web-safe colours.

Colour Safe Web Palette

Choosing Colours For Your eCommerce Website

The colours you choose for your website will have a significant impact on its performance and contribute significantly to benchmark factors like bounce rate and conversion, so getting this right is a worthwhile time investment.

As we grow up, we are programmed to make associations between colour and actions. At its most basic level, red means danger and green mean success or "go". How you use colour determines how your website will be perceived.

Some Examples Of Colour Use

Brown is the colour of the earth and wood. It is a relaxing and natural colour. Brown is an excellent colour for walking boot stores, outdoor lifestyle activities like camping and hiking and rustic foods.

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Black should be avoided as your primary colour as overuse can give a feeling of oppressiveness. It is a great colour to use in accents or to offset other colours. Black is a great colour to use a logo as a white background offsets it.

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Blue is one of the most popular colours throughout the world, regardless of religion or race. Blue is often used to symbolise communication, and deep blues convey trust and authority.

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Gray is a favourite of technology companies and is associated with precision and control.

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Green is an excellent colour for many websites because of it's passive nature. You can use green on picnic sites, gaming websites, in fact, anything that indicates movement and activity.

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Orange is most peoples least favourite colour, and you should avoid using it unless you precisely know the type of creative message you want to convey. It is associated with originality and is an attention grabber.

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Pink is the go-to colour for any feminine website and is excellent for clothing and dating websites.

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Yellow is the first colour that hits the retina as the eye processes information, and for that reason, too much yellow can be a real turn off. Used sparingly or as an accent colour yellow conveys playfulness and would be an excellent colour for children's websites.

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And lastly red

Red is known as a buying colour and is an attention grabber. Think high street sales. However too much red can signal danger, and for that reason, use it as an accent colour and not the primary background colour.

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How Colour Affects Conversions

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How Colors Affect Conversions
Source: How Colours Affect Conversions – Infographic


How To Pick Colour Combinations

If like me you are pretty rubbish at colours then the best thing to do is to look at some of the websites that specialise in providing hex code colour wheels.

These sites provide colour palettes based on Triadic colours, monochromatic colours and similar colours. will give you a list of colours which you can pick from and also has some inspirational user-contributed colour palettes.

Abandoned Garden Color Palette

Computer Popularity Color Palette

Good Grades Color Palette



Follow simple style rules to ensure you pick the right colour combination for your audience.

In many instances, colour design is made simple for you by purchasing a template from one of the theme stores and modifying the style to suit your product leaving the colours intact, ensuring you get a highly polished design and a beautiful looking website.

If in doubt always stick to the 216 web-safe colours.