If you’re looking for a solid color combination for your website + some of the science behind color theory, and research behind the way people react to color – this article is for you!
- You may think colors don’t matter in your website design
- You may think Peer reviewed studies are only for hard sciences
- You may think color combinations haven’t been studied
Table of Contents
Before we get into the way brains react to color – what does science have to say?
In one very interesting peer-reviewed journal article, Satyendra Singh found out that it only takes 90 seconds for a customer to form an opinion about a product. And crazy enough, 62-90 percent of that interaction is determined by the color of that product alone!
Best color combinations according to design experts
If you went to college for design (I didn’t but I was always doodling), you remember the three basic color combination methods:
- Complementary – Across the wheel, pairing colors with the ones that are the most different from them.
- Analagous – Near each other on the color wheel and in similarity
- Triadic – Colors that relate, but aren’t too far away on the wheel, basically a ‘third away on the color wheel’
White + Black (classic, sophisticated, can be paired with other color combinations)
According to Adobe, “if it doesn’t look good in black and white, it won’t look good in color” – thus designers always fall back on this simple combination in design to ensure their design looks good structurally before relying on hues to enhance it’s features.
- Black and white are just as effective as communicating mood or tone as other colors.
- Black and white can create an air of sophistication when used correctly.
- Black and white can be used to enhance other schemes (often referred to as Greyscale +1)
Green + Orange (Triadic complement)
In addition to being 2/3rds of a triadic color scheme – green and orange have a happy-go-lucky feel to them. Not to say this is better than any other Triad – but orange and yellow are associated with joy and…
Pacific Standard magazine notes that a study back in 2012 found that even brief exposure to the color green can increase innovative thinking.
Blue + Green (Analagous, safe, always an option)
When in doubt – definitely consider this as your safest bet for a website color scheme (not that safety should be your only concern) – it’s used by millions of websites around the web, is inline with color psychology and research – and is easier to make look great.
A study, published by the journal Science and summarized in a New York Times article, conducted tests with 600 people to determine whether cognitive performance varied when people saw the colors red or blue.
Green + Purple (Complementary feminine)
Yes – purple is the second most loved color by women according to researchers. It’s not high on the list for men though, and so if you want to follow the research, it may not make sense for male focused brands.
In combination with green (innovation) – it can be an epic duo if used in the right proportion, with a heavy dose of white space.
White + Yellow (Greyscale+1, Happy + Healthy)
Inspiring and healthy – yellow seems to be associated with joy. CNN did a study on the color yellow (I know – hard-hitting journalism) and they found that the first words that came to mind when people see yellow are “sunshine,” “warmth,” “cheer,” “happiness” and even “playfulness.”
Ready to get even more playful?
Combine yellow with blue and green – or with purple for my favorite football team 😉
Thanks for reading!