Color inspiration for startups: 10 trends and 40 palettes to get your creative juices flowing

color-trends-and-palettes

Branding is always important—but it’s especially important in the hyper-competitive world of startups. With new startups cropping up every day, if companies want to stay competitive, it’s crucial to develop strong branding that breaks through the clutter and grabs the attention of their ideal audience (customers and investors alike).

And a great way to do that? With the right colors. We took a look at some of the startup world’s latest color trends and of-the-moment palettes to see what color combinations are making a real impact for today’s startups.

Color is, hands down, one of the most powerful marketing tools at your disposal. According to Buffer, a whopping 90% of your assessment on a product is based on color alone.

Because color can make such a big impression on your audience, it’s crucial for you to choose the right color palette—and that’s especially true in the world of startups. The startup world is chock full of competition, and companies need every edge they can to break through the noise, grab the attention of potential customers and investors, and transform their business into the next billion dollar unicorn.

But with so many color palettes to choose from, how do you know which is the right look for you and your startup?

For a bit of inspiration, we’ve rounded up 10 of the hottest color trends in the startup world—along with 40 startups with color palettes that bring those trends to life.

Let’s jump in and get colorful, shall we?

1. A pop of tomato

When you’re a startup, one of the main goals of your website is, without a doubt, converting your visitors.

And that’s why using color palettes with a pop of tomato red are so popular in the startup world. Using red in key areas on a website has been shown to increase conversions by up to 34%.

Zapier

zapier

Automation app Zapier uses red in their logo as well as in key CTAs (calls-to-action) on their homepage; one “sign up” button in the menu bar and another in a pop-up box on the right side on the screen. They keep the rest of the palette neutral, using whites and a dark gray to let the red really pop.

ThoughtSpot

thoughtspot

Using tomato red as an accent makes analytic platform ThoughtSpot’s “Learn More” button pop against the slate gray background—and using white for their logo has the same effect.

Gusto

gusto

Unlike Zapier and ThoughtSpot, payment processing application Gusto uses a white background in order to make the red jump off the page—then pairs it with a light seafoam and gray create a look that feels both professional and fun.

Start with these templates that have a pop of tomato red colors: Red Photo Sunglasses Day Social Media Graphic and Coral Red Bordered Biking Instagram Post

2. All about orange

Orange is a bold color choice; not only does it help increase conversions (similar to red), but according to color psychology, it can also help brands appear more friendly and accessible, making it a great choice for startups in the tech or financial space—ndustries that traditionally have a reputation of being complex or hard to understand.

Rethink Robotics

rethinkrobotics

Industrial automation company Rethink Robotics uses two shades of orange in their logo—and wisely keeps it simple with the rest of their color palette. Orange is a bold color, so combining it with neutrals (like the white and gray seen here) keeps it from being too overpowering.

Fundera

fundera

Financial services company Fundera also lets orange take center stage, keeping the rest of the palette neutral with white, gray, and small pops of light blue. Fundera made a solid choice using blue as an accent color; because orange and blue are complementary colors, they don’t compete for attention or feel visually overwhelming.

Illumio

illumio

Security startup Illumio follows the same neutral-with-a-pop-of-orange palette as the rest of the examples, but with more orange incorporated throughout the website, this palette feels even bolder.

Zoom

zoom

On the opposite end of the spectrum, video conferencing software Zoom plays it safe by making blue more of a focal point and saving the orange for accents and CTAs.

Bill.com

billdotcom

Bill.com uses three strong colors in their palette—orange, steel blue, and teal—but they keep things from feeling too visually overwhelming by balancing out their bold color choices with white and gray.

There are many shades of orange that can brighten up your design. Try the Blue Pink Orange Shell Birthday Greeting Instagram Post and the Orange Blue General Father Dad Appreciation Instagram Post.

3. Single-minded (or, in this case, single-colored) focused

When building a color palette, most brands—including startups—go for three to four colors. But one trend that’s sweeping the startup world right now is being single-minded about color. Focusing on a single color—and incorporating multiple shades throughout the website—creates a cohesive, sophisticated look that feels unique and on-trend.

Plenty

plenty

Plenty is a produce company—which is why it makes sense that their color palette is built around various shades of green. Plenty uses white for their logo and text, which allows them to deliver key messaging without distracting from the green-centric color scheme.

Nfant

nfant

Purple is a color often associated with childhood (remember “Harold and the Purple Crayon”?), making it a great choice for technology company nfant, which specializes in analytics for breastfeeding mothers, to build their color palette around. The purple-focused color palette feels both inviting and safe—perfect for attracting their target audience of new moms.

Figure eight

figure8

Machine learning platform figure eight uses various shades of green—with white text as a highlight—to create an interesting contrast on their website.

DigitalOcean

digitalocean

Blue is the most universally loved color by both men and women—and cloud computing platform DigitalOcean uses that to their advantage by making blue the focal point in their website color scheme. This color scheme might “play it safe,” but the positive of building a color palette around a single shade of blue is that it will appeal to a wide variety of people.

A single color on a design doesn't mean boring. Check out these two templates that focus on one color but still packs a punch: Bright Green Talent Show Facebook Event Cover and Purple Hipster Flower Shop Sale Facebook Post.

4. Pops of green

According to color psychology, green is the color most associated with wealth, prosperity, and financial growth—and since most startups are focused on making a lot of money, it’s only natural that so many of them choose to feature pops of green in their color palettes.

NGINX

nginx

Tech startup NGINX has an interesting color palette; the kelly green and goldenrod aren’t necessarily colors you’d think to put together, but when balanced out with the white and gray that round out the palette, they create a visually interesting combination that’s sure to leave a lasting impression on website visitors.

Fetch Robotics

fetchrobotics

Robotics company Fetch Robotics uses a bright green to spice up an otherwise neutral palette of gray, blue, and white. By adding this fun pop of green, Fetch is able to differentiate themselves from the thousands of neutral color palettes on the web—and the contrast it creates ensures that visitors pay attention to their CTAs.

Avant

avant

Avant is a financial services company, and by incorporating so much green into their website design, they’re able to play off people’s color associations (green = money) to strengthen their branding. Because they want green to be the focal point, Avant wisely keeps the rest of the palette simple, with white, gray, and a few pops of blue.

Zeta Global

zeta

Marketing platform Zeta Global pairs an interesting shade of green—khaki—with a midnight blue to create contrast, then balances out the bold colors with a white menu bar and text. This adds a quirky (but still professional) vibe to their website that you don’t often see with tech-based startups.

We said green is a color of prosperity, and attract it by using these templates: Green and Orange Floral Kwanzaa Card and Green Pizza Photo Loyalty Card.

5. Neutrals with a pop of blue

As we mentioned earlier, blue is a universally liked color. And pairing the universally liked blue with neutrals like gray or white makes for a fool-proof color scheme that can work for any startup, whether they’re in technology, real estate, VR, or any industry in between.

Fetch

fetch

Shipping application Fetch uses two shades of blue—alice blue and deep sky blue—alongside gray and white for their neutral-with-a-touch-of-blue palette.

Remine

remine

Real estate data company Remine adds life to their blue and neutral palette with graphics that incorporate additional accent colors, like pink, goldenrod, and maroon.

Lever

lever

Recruiting software Lever keeps things simple with Dodger Blue, gray, and, white.

Gigster

gigster

Gigster, a programmer database that connects companies with software developers, incorporates various shades of blue in their logo—and then uses those same colors as accents throughout the rest of their web design.

Allomind

allomind

Virtual reality definitely borders on controversial—but there’s nothing controversial about at-home VR company Allomedia’s blue and gray color palette.

Liven up your neutral palette with blues. Check out White and Blue Cleaning Supplies Cleaning Business Card and Blue Geometrical Pattern Funky Business Card

6. Perfectly pink

Pink is a bold, feminine color—and when brand’s make it the focal point of their color palette, it makes for a bold, feminine website. Pairing pink with more neutral shades (like white, black, and gray) is especially popular with startups in the beauty space.

Ipsy

ipsy

Beauty subscription service ipsy pairs uses bold pops of magenta against an otherwise neutral palette; this allows the brand to make a statement choices without taking away from their array of product images (which are the real stars of the show).

Hackerone

hackerone

Hackerone, a hacker-powered security platform, isn’t your average security service—and their color palette, which overlays deep pink against a charcoal gray (with white text for contrast), isn’t average either.

Proven Skincare

proven

Proven Skincare, the world’s first AI-powered personalized skincare system, features an array of bold shades—including a deep magenta and fire engine red—that match their bold brand personality.

Pink works! Give it try with 21st Birthday for Her Pink Gray Invitation Card and Purple and Pink Patterned Confirmation Invitation

7. Neutrals and a pop of turquoise

A slight variation on the neutral-with-a-pop-of-blue trend, creating an all-neutral color palette with a pop of turquoise is a popular choice in the startup world. Similar to blue, turquoise is a universally appealing color—but it feels more fun and youthful than more traditional shades of blue.

Fundbox

fundbox

Financial services company Fundbox’s dark shade of turquoise, which is accented by neutral gray and white tones, feels both sophisticated and fun—which is perfect for the tech-savvy businesses they target.

StyleSeat

styleseat

Beauty startup StyleSeat uses a bolder turquoise, which feels more fun and playful (which, for them, is completely on-brand).

DERMOVIA

dermovia

Mask company DERMOVIA is all about luxury—and their neutral color palette, accented with a deep turquoise hue, creates that sophisticated luxury feel.

Turquoise is a popular color, and it's no wonder. Check out these templates: Turquoise Minimal Cookie Sale Facebook Post and Turquoise Black and White Workout Fitness Facebook Post.

8. Go Bold or Go Home

Launching a startup takes some serious boldness—and lots of startups are taking that boldness straight into their color palette. Featuring a variety of bright colors on a website—from purples to reds to blues—makes a bold statement that’s both visually interesting and shows that the company isn’t afraid to take risks.

Aaptiv

aaptiv

Fitness app Aaptiv creates a gradient of multiple bright colors—blues that fade to purples, pinks, and reds—and the color palette looks even bolder in contrast to the website’s stark white background. These bold colors feel energetic, fun, and lively—which is exactly what you need for an app meant to inspire your workouts.

Gitlab

gitlab

There’s nowhere to hide with a purple and orange color palette—but DevOps application Gitlab isn’t afraid to make a bold statement. This unique color combination makes the tech company feel fun, youthful, and laid-back—which is perfect for the developers it’s trying to attract.

SnackNation

snacknation

Snack delivery company SnackNation’s color palette is all about brights; from the turquoise logo, the bright blue text, the pink accents, and the variety of brightly hued products, nothing about this website feels boring.

Slack

slack

Slack features four bold colors in their logo (Midnight Blue, Crimson, Goldenrod, and Cadet Blue)—and those bold colors are echoed in graphics, texts, and buttons throughout the website. The overall effect is fun, hip, and accessible—exactly what you’d want from a messenger app.

Built In

builtin

Built In, a startup that helps connect talent with startups, features bold pops of blue, red, and green that pop against the white background and add a fun element to the website.

Don't be afraid to use strong and bold colors when you need to call attention to your event. Start with these: Orange & Blue Bold Creative Science Fair Poster and Blue and Orange Dance Poster.

Shades of blue

We’ve already talked about why startups are incorporating a pop of blue into their color palettes—but some startups are taking it a step further and featuring multiple shades of blue in their website color schemes. These startups are choosing their palettes based on the thought process “if a little blue is good, a lot of blue is better”—and when you look at the final effect, you can see it’s a solid choice.

Cloudflare

cloudflare

Ecommerce network Cloudflare incorporates a variety of blues into a lovely gradient effect, which is a unique twist on this classic color palette.

Smartsheet

smartsheet

Collaborative work platform smartsheet uses a light and dark shade of blue to create a professional-looking palette that should appeal to their business-focused audience.

Coinbase

coinbase

Digital currency marketplace coinbase keeps things simple with a royal blue background and Dodger blue accents. This simple color palette doesn’t visually overwhelm their visitors—which is important when you’re dealing with something as complex as cryptocurrency.

Don't let the blues get you down! This serene color makes for a great design. Try Blue Text Overlay Music Appreciation Twitter Post and Dark Blue Illustrations Tourist For Men Twitter Post.

10. Simple and straightforward

Sometimes, less is more—and some startups are pushing that to the limit with simple color palettes of black and white. This trend is particularly popular in the retail space; by keeping the color palette simple and straightforward, brands can put the focus on their products—without too many colors vying for shoppers’ attention.

Glossier

glossier

Beauty startup Glossier adds a small pop of Misty Rose to their black and white color palette to add a feminine edge to their homepage.

Daily Harvest

dailyharvest

Food delivery service Daily Harvest limits their color palette to black and white—and lets their the color of their superfood smoothies take center stage.

Reformation

reformation

Online fashion retailer Reformation keeps colors to a minimum; by sticking to a simple color palette (just black, white, and linen for product photos), the fashion is what your eyes are drawn to—which is the whole purpose of the website.

Allbirds

allbirds

Shoe company Allbirds inserts colorful product photos to complement their simple black and white palette—making their shoes look even more fun and stylish.

AELLA

aella

AELLA’s business model is simple—they make high-quality pants that are just as fashionable as they are comfortable. Keeping with their simple business model, they’ve chosen a simple color palette of black and white.

Play around with colors and graphics to get your message accross. Use Dark Violet Lines Web Designer Business Card and Slate Grey Pen Simple Writer Business Card to get you started.

Wrapping things up

When you’re trying to get a startup off the ground, you need every competitive edge you can get—and one way to get some serious edge is through the right color palette. Now that you know what’s trending—and have some inspiration from some already-successful startups—all that’s left to do is get out there and choose your colors!

Found a color you LOVE in one of these website color schemes? Use our color palette generator to build a palette around it!