Color plays an underrated role in how we perceive the world around us. From the dark gloomy clouds that tell us it’s about to rain, to the green light that indicates it’s safe to cross the road, its influence is so deeply ingrained in everyday life, that often we barely notice it.
This extends to website design too. The color scheme of your website can deeply impact how your visitors perceive your brand—even if they don't consciously realise it! The good news is, you can use this to your advantage to ensure their first impression of your brand is a positive and memorable one.
In this article, we cover everything you need to know about website color palettes. From why they’re so important, to the best website color schemes to draw inspiration from and how to choose your own, you'll find everything you need to bring your creation to life.
First things first—what exactly are we referring to when we say 'website color scheme?' It’s more than just the color of your logo, or even the background of your website. It encompasses every color that appears anywhere on your website—from the header and sections on your site, to your text and button colors and even the hues used in your photos. All of these come together to form your overall color palette, which shapes the feel, mood and aesthetic of your website.
Your website color palette impacts your audience's perception of your brand at multiple different levels. It can be a key factor in everything from how long they stick around on your website to whether or not they click the 'buy' button. Here are some of the reasons your website color scheme requires careful consideration.
This may sound obvious, but nobody ever wants to spend long on ugly website! If the color palette of your website is an eye-sore or is headache-inducing, it likely won't be long before your visitors go searching for the 'exit' button. On the other hand, if your website is harmonious and aesthetically pleasing, they'll be far more likely to stick around.
Did you know that color is linked to psychology? Different color schemes evoke different feelings—for example, red is confident, yellow is fun, and blue is trustworthy. According to Buffer over 90% of our assessment of a product is made on color alone, and that goes for your website, too. This means you can set the tone for your website by choosing a color scheme that reflects how you want your visitors to feel.
Your website color palette can also determine whether your website visitors actually buy from you. In fact, color is so powerful that one recent case study found that choosing the right colors can increase conversions by up to 24%! For example, many people find featuring a red CTA button on your sales page gains more sales than blue or purple. And similarly, a green banner ad is going to drive different results than that same ad with a yellow or red background.
When you think about the social media platform Facebook, there’s likely one color that springs to mind: blue! Turns out, there’s actually an interesting reason this is the case—founder Mark Zuckerberg is red-green color blind. “Blue is the richest color for me; I can see all of blue,” he once said.
While this may not seem like a very scientific explanation, this color decision has significantly shaped our perception of Facebook. Many of us see it as trustworthy, familiar and calming—a place we can come to distract ourselves from the stress of the world.
While eBay has quite a broad color palette, green often features prominently on their website. The eCommerce store uses the symbolism of this color to signify financial wealth (or in this case, cost savings) and to inspire browsers to hit 'go' on their purchases.
To get you started on your own palette, we’ve gathered 50 beautiful websites with versatile color schemes you can take inspiration from.
This clean, vibrant palette by Mark Dearman perfectly combines warm accent colors with a clean blue background to create crisp and professional, but very welcoming palette. Try using colors that have a high contrast against each other to achieve the same clean-yet-striking effect.
Like this color palette? Then when not give the Yellow Teal Photo Graduation Events Website template in Canva
This website by Play.agency takes a bold, high-contrast approach by combining a strong dark background with striking neon accent colors. By contrasting black against purples, blues, and pinks, you can create an equally striking effect.
Fancy mixing warm and cooler colors to create a unique vibe? Take a design cue from Lush Digital’s by pairing vibrant reds and blues with darker indigos and purples. It creates a dreamy and bold effect.
Why start from scratch, when you can use Canva's Dark Blue and Red Dynamic Software Solutions Website template to give you the look?
This color palette for Departika is clean and professional, thanks to the soft blues, greys, and whites. However, this palette also draws attention and highlights focal elements by throwing a vibrant feature color into the mix. Break up your lighter, gentler colors with a punchier tone for a nice contrast.
This example by Studio Recode keeps things clean and minimal, but does it with a warmer touch. By using warm, very light brown tones as the neutral background color and offsetting them with the warm tones in the imagery and type, this palette keeps things inviting and clean.
A great way to brand your website is to give it one dominant focal color, as seen in this example for Frost Festival By using a striking green as the focal color and complementing it with splashes of pale orange, greys, and mint, this palette keeps things fresh, modern, and simple.
Achieve the same eye-catching gradient effect with Canva's Green and Gray Gym Fitness Small Business template
If pastel colors aren’t quite up your alley, consider looking into bright, punchy, vintage colors, as Magoz has done in this example. While this example uses a lot of colors all at once, it’s kept cohesive and logical with the warm consistency of the scheme.
When in doubt, seek colour inspiration from your content. This website for the Van Gogh Museum by Fabrique uses the vibrant, textured colors that his works are recognised for. By pairing warm yellows, rich blues, and cool greens, you get a simple, flexible palette with meaning.
Take a leaf out of Van Gogh's book with Canva's Blue Grotto Pets and Animals Business/Advertising website
A great way to add dimension to your palette while keeping things minimal is to use varying tints of one color. This clean, elegant website color scheme by Romain Bouchereau and Vincent Fréman does just that by using slightly different tints of a neutral peach color that compliment the focal purple color.
This example by Magnium Themes injects bright bursts of color into the mix to create a playful, but sleek effect. The contrast of blues, oranges, and yellows against the neutral grey background makes for a professional but vibrant effect.
This color scheme is more subtly incorporated into the Waffle Blog Banner template. Check it out in Canva today!
We tend to think of black and white as being the most sophisticated colors. But check out how this example by Julian Damy manages to achieve an elegant look by simply using deep blue tones and subtle gold highlights. Another palette inspired by art history, this collection of colors is timeless and beautiful.
When we think of summery designs, we tend to think of reds and oranges. But, check out how this site by StrADegy Advertising manages to capture the warmth of the season with just corals, blues, and tan colors. The result is a simple, minimal, and easy to use summer-inspired color scheme.
Channel those fresh summer vibes in your own website design with Canva's Red Orange Abstract Modern Shapes banner template.
Looking for a palette that screams professional, but isn’t boring or outdated? Take inspiration from this one by Avondale Type Co. The mix of greys, deep navies, and striking yellow tones paired with the sharp, flat, modern layout makes for an authoritative but fresh design.
If you’re in the market for a more striking, contemporary design, try to incorporate bold splashes of black and white with some vibrant pops of color, just like this example for Cantina dei Colli Ripani . The contrast between the highlighted colors and the blacks create a punchy, bold, and fun effect.
Ever see a website and think it just looks ‘clean’? A great way to achieve this aesthetic is to do what SHIBUI has done here and use gradients. This site’s palette is made up of fresh blue and turquoise colors that have been faded into one another in a gradient to achieve a calming, clean and fresh effect.
This website by Huemor uses a color palette that is light, modern, cheerful, and welcoming. By pairing vibrant colors, plenty of white space, and a cool, neutral blue to balance out the warmth, it's a prime example of how colors can make or break a site design.
This sharp and modern example by Benedict Leicht uses different tones of orange and blue to create a playful, energetic color palette. When using bright tones, try to balance them out with some more neutral whites or light greys as this example does, to prevent it from being too overwhelming.
Ready to get the look on your own website? Check out the Theatre Actor Portfolio template in Canva.
This color palette by Zach Klein brings a world of luxury, sophistication and character to its website design. By pairing navy blues, warm tans, and a dash of bright red, this site is kept modern, minimal, and sophisticated.
Pastel colors aren’t just for nursery room walls. This website by B/C Designers uses clean, bright pastel pinks, blues, and oranges to create a fun, bright, and inviting palette. When using pastels, try to mix in some white space to keep things fresh and light.
Looking to play with pretty pastels in your own website design? Canva’s Bridal Shower Ideas Blog Banner template will help get you started.
This professional website by Great Works Copenhagen takes a less neutral approach to color, and instead chooses a vibrant palette. By paring a striking red color with various blue and navy tones, this site balances a professional air with unique and fun flair.
Purple and green aren’t two colors that are often mixed, but this site by Intesys S.r.l. proves that perhaps they should be! The rich purple color contrasts strikingly against the vibrant lime and sharp whites to create a unique and memorable site design.
This color palette for Lowdi channels all things vintage by using warm, rich colors. This retro-inspired color palette has a lot of character and energy with a decidedly modern flair. Consider using a very pale yellow color in place of white to help hone in this effect.
This website color scheme by Pier-Luc features an elegant combination of earthy red, fresh green and clean greys. By pairing this muted palette with a softly colored image, this website design manages to evoke sophistication and an antique charm.
Atlassian’s interactive infographic site created by Hyperakt uses bold, and highly saturated colors and overlays them in a way that creates stunning effect. You'll also note that the striking colors are balanced out with a nice, neutral off-white color. It's a great reminder of the importance of keeping your color scheme harmonious.
This website by Baesman is yet another example of how bright, vibrant colors can still be used to create a professional design. By using light, clean colors and balancing them out with white space and a minimal design, this site maintains a fun and vibrant vibe without sacrificing the sleekness of a professional website.
This example by BrightMedia is a paragon of a clean, fresh, and flexible color palette. By pairing different shades of blue with a few shades of grey, this palette is minimal and simple without being dull or boring.
Sometimes, using too many clashing colors can be overwhelming and jarring. But, in the case of this site by Yoke, using a bright, full palette goes off without a hitch. By muting each color slightly and including a lot of white space in the design, you too can create a vibrant yet not overwhelming effect.
This example by Inga Gudoniene / MIOS pairs softer, more muted colors to create an elegant look. You can achieve this timeless and elegant effect by choosing imagery with a cool, desaturated tone and pairing it with a cool grey.
Go back to beautiful basics with Canva’s Mint Green Advocacy Portfolio website template.
If you're looking to create a relaxed, beachy vibe on your website, consider taking a leaf out of Roll Studio’s book. It pairs turquoises, purples, and a splash of orange to create a calm, inviting and unique color palette.
This palette for El Burro just screams fun, energy and excitement. By using highly saturated colors like hot pink, lime, cyan and yellow, you can replicate this effect and create a design that is punchy and youthful.
Looking for a palette that can accommodate slightly more complex designs? Check out this one for Fieldwork that only uses five colors but manages to keep it intricate and colorful. By mixing a striking cyan with warm yellows, reds, and some deeper navies you can achieve a playful, engaging and flexible palette.
Want to create a vintage effect that doesn't appear dated or old-fashioned? Check out this palette for Cafe Frida that uses warm golds, greens, browns and off whites to create a charming effect that oozes class.
Like what you see? Check out Canva’s Nordic Tree Background Fall template to get a similar look in your own design.
This website Business Benchmark on Farm Animal Welfare by GrowCreate uses beautiful purple and blue jewel tones with subtle gradients to create a simple yet eye-catching color palette. The occasional pop of hot pink keeps the design engaging, fresh and eye-catching.
Looking for a darker, sleeker look, but not a fan of straight-up black? Check out this stormy, moody website design by Cinco Design that uses deep purples, blues, and pinks to make for a sleek and sophisticated effect.
By combining warm hues with cooler ones, you can create a punchy and persuasive palette. This example by Akaru contrasts warm oranges and yellows against cool metallic greys and gunmetal tones to make for a bold, dynamic effect.
Seamlessly incorporate this cool vs. warm color scheme into your own website with Canva's Yellow Accounting Business/Advertising website template.
Want a professional, tailored palette with a pop of color? Check out this slick palette by details.ch that uses sharp, clean, preppy shades to create a simple color scheme. Don’t be afraid to throw a dash of pink amongst your blues to add a unique touch.
This palette by MadeByShape uses an unconventional mix of colors but throws them together in a very natural way. The charcoal grey, salmon, deep teal, light mint and neutral beige colors make for a unique but beautiful combination.
This beautiful site design for Thomas Schrijer’s Top 10 of 2014 uses vibrant tropical tones to create a beautiful effect. The use of warm yellows, reds, greens, and blues makes for a fun, easy, and beautiful palette suited to any energetic brand.
A great way to keep your color palette from appearing too one-dimensional is to throw in a bold feature color amongst the more neutral, muted tones. Check out this one by Joy Intermedia that uses a base of greys, charcoals, and dark navies, but spices it up with a splash of cerise.
The Athena Art Finance website, created by Leibowitz Branding & Design uses beautiful antique tones to create an elegant and sophisticated design with a lot of charm. By taking inspiration from art history and using deep purples, blues, greens and warm golds, you can transform any webpage into a sophisticated stunner.
This example for Calvi on the Rocks shows us exactly how to artfully make use of vibrant neon tones–by balancing them out. This palette consists of a striking green, vibrant purple and a dash of royal blue, but it balances that vibrancy out with a whole lot of neutral off-white so it’s not overwhelming.
This striking website design by The Martin Agency uses muted gold and off-white tones contrasted against sharper blacks and whites to create a stunning contrast. Simple, minimal, and elegant, this palette is perfect for any sophisticated design you may embark upon.
Achieve a similarly timeless website palette with Canva's Cafe Food and Drinks Online Store Website template.
Want the ease of a small palette but with the vibrancy of a large one? Check out this one for Mambo Mambo that uses yellow and a few shades of green/blue to form a simple yet stylish palette. This color scheme is tropical, fun, fresh, and best of all, easy!
Need a touch less vibrancy and a bit more professionalism? Get inspired by the beautiful colors used in this palette by Ryan Borker, Jermaine Craig, Mike Parsons and Kyle Miller. The bold navy feature color is beautifully paired with the eggshell off-white background to create a simple, sleek website design.
Want to channel this professional aesthetic in your own website? Make the Modern Interior Design Facebook Ad template your own in Canva.
This palette by Huemor keeps things very simple and minimal by using a predominantly monochromatic color palette and balancing it out with a few splashes of orange to draw attention. In doing so, it highlights important features and breathes personality into this otherwise monochrome design.
Color adds personality to your design, as you can see in this example for Marie Catribs The bright blues, purples, yellows help bring the fun and quirky nature of this design to life.
Looking to create a warm, inviting website? Experiment with warm tones as TRAFFIC has done here. By using warm yellows and golds, and balancing them out with deep navy tones, it creates a calming, peaceful and inviting palette.
Is your brand youthful? Energetic? Fun? Show that off by using bright, vibrant splashes of color like Visualsoft. The pops of neon pink, yellow and blue amongst the sleek, minimal design makes this website design explode with personality.
So, how do you create your own color scheme from scratch? Here are some tips to guide you through the process.
You don’t have to reinvent the wheel when you choose colors for your brand—just use ours! Canva's color wheel is a handy tool used in color theory to determine which hues look appealing together. There are two types of color wheels—the RYB and the RGB. The former is the red, yellow, blue color wheel, which is usually used by artists to combine paint colors. Then, there’s the red, green and blue color wheel, which is used by graphic designers as it involves mixing light for online use.
Canva’s color wheel uses RGB colors and it allows you to see which color combinations perform well together based on color theory. When you find one you like, you can start working on a graphic with this color scheme or export your palette for later reference.
There are some color schemes that hold universal appeal (or the opposite!) to the majority of people. For example, most people would probably think that pink and brown is a jarring combination, while pink and blue is generally inoffensive.
However, at the end of the day, color perception isn’t a one-size-fits-all experience. Different people perceive colors in different ways, depending on their age, culture and life experiences.
For this reason, it’s extremely important to keep your target demographic in mind when choosing your website color scheme. Try to put yourself in their shoes and imagine what kind of associations and feelings the color combination might evoke for them.
Website concept design for a children's app designed by Daniel. Image via Dribbble.
For example, this concept for a children’s app has two primary target audiences—young children and their parents. The designer selected their color scheme accordingly, using a light blue background to invoke feelings of safety and serenity that are likely to appeal to parents. However, they have combined this with brighter blue and orange elements to give the design and more fun and youthful aesthetic.
Designing something for a younger audience? Canva’s Pink and Blue Pet Care Small Business Website template has a fun and fresh aesthetic that can easily be repurposed for your own brand.
From the buttons and footer to your pop-up form, there are many different visual elements to think about when creating a website. This is why it’s so important to have a color palette at your disposal to pick and choose from as you see fit. Generally, a color palette will have four to five different shades in it, ranging from your main branding colors to secondary, more neutral ones.
Pharrell William's website allows visitors to create a card that represents their favorite project. Each project is represented by a color from a specifically created palette, then presented in varying sizes. You don’t need to use as many colors as one, but it’s a good idea to have a handful to choose from. Rather than a diverse palette you may also opt to use similar colors in slightly different hues and saturations—it all depends on your brand personality, demographics, and needs.
Your color palette will be an indispensable tool in your brand kit, which is essentially your graphic design bible. This is a resource you create when creating your visual brand identity, and also includes your fonts, image styles, and logo.
Most brand kits will have a section dedicated to your color palette, where you identify your brand’s colors and the corresponding codes. These can include Pantone (specialist color) and CMYK (standard print colors) codes but for web design, you mostly need your RGB and HEX (hexadecimal) codes. Depending on your brand aesthetic, you may also include different tints and shades of the same colors.
Having your color palette easily accessible in your brand kit will ensure you get the exact color match any time you’re designing somedeskg new for your brand. Canva Pro’s Brand Kit feature allows you to set your brand color and codes for easy access when you’re designing within the app.
Whether it’s bold and bright or muted and calming, using an appropriate color scheme is the best way to ensure that impression is a positive one. By using the tips and inspiration in this article, you can create a website color scheme that brings your unique brand personality to life.