All about Color Philosophy in Web Design

Colors bring out the beauty and emotion in anything. Take, for instance, a house you built and kept unpainted, and another painted.

Which among the two houses will you love to live in? The painted house, right? Yes, of course! The scenario is no different in web design.

As a web designer, your coloring expertise will keep your site trending and your clients coming back. Colors play a significant role in web designing, and by exploring the philosophy of colors we can determine the emotions of people visiting the Website.

People’s decisions to buy at the first sight before using the product is incredibly determined and influenced by the color attractiveness of the product. This is because colors convey emotions differently to each audience and hugely communicate the product’s acceptability at first sight.

Therefore, web designers should master color philosophy in web design to improve website communication and generate better results.

Philosophy Of Colors In Web Designs

Technically, there are 3 main components of color philosophy. They are:

  • Distinction

In this color theory, some colors are opposite to other colors. For example, Black is the opposite color of white. The designer here is left with the choice to choose the best color, which stands out, and also choose a direct opposite color to the primary color selected for the site, making it distinctive and adding contrast.

  • Harmonization

Apart from contrasting colors to make your site distinctive, web designers should have the ability to effectively combine colors to give a pleasing appeal to the website user. That is to harmoniously compliment any color chosen. Basically, the colors flow nicely together and are pleasant to look at in relationship to one another.

Example of color harmonization
Image: Example of color harmonization – Source
  • Vivacity

People are affected by colors in different ways. It usually depends on what the designer wants to convey through the colors since colors are a form of communication.

For instance, colors like purple, green, and blue are considered as colors that smoothen and comfort, while colors like yellow, red, and orange are colors of endurance and energy.

Depending on the user, designers should effectively choose the combination to create their uniqueness.

The importance of color philosophy in web design to web designers

In designing a website, you don’t just choose colors at random and start implementing them on the site. You should select colors with purpose and intentions to meet the expectation of the website visitors.

Studying color philosophy can help you create a smart, engaging design that the target audience of the website will enjoy.

Any professional in the web design field must understand the color philosophy since colors play a huge role in customers’ decisions in purchasing a product or engaging with a brand, with a staggering 92.6 percent of viewers placing a high value on visual factors.

This is the same psychology as customers searching for a privacy policy before entering their payment details on a website.

Below are some reasons why color philosophy in web design is vital to Web designers.

  1. It helps the designer to use the right combination of colors to design the website. This will help users to navigate the site with ease and a proper understanding. Which also improves and spices up the user experience and enables them to pleasantly find what they are looking for.
  2. It enables the designer to brand products since the accurate color scheme is vital in making up the success of the product’s marketing campaign.
  3. The designer’s fluency in color philosophy is essential in that in both digital and physical environments, colors are vital. This is because they serve as a guide and helps to improve the overall experience on websites.
  4. It helps the designer to make the content on the Website visible and readable.
  5. Also, it enables the designer to easily highlight features that desire attention on the site.


Coloring System In Web Design

The coloring system is the foundation for every designer in designing a website.

A smart color combination will enable you to achieve an outstanding and balanced design that will create a positive user experience on the site.

On the other hand, failure to choose complementary colors will guarantee a negative impression with chaotic feelings relating to the design.

It is of great importance to select your final colors for your design wisely. There are different ways to intelligently select colors to catch your audience’s harmony and give them a wonderful experience.

  • Analogous

The analogous color scheme is one of the best color schemes that designers use to create a pleasant feeling for users and give them an outstanding experience navigating the site.

The analogous color scheme enables the designer to play around with various colors and smartly select complementarily the most vibrant color combinations.

Choosing the color tone and the combination is the most daring aspect of the analogous coloring scheme.

Analogous Color System
Image: Analogous Color System represented in the color wheel
  • Monochromatic

In the monochromatic color scheme, the designers first focus on one color and then play with their shades and tints.

Monochromatic Color System
Image: Monochromatic Color System represented in the color wheel


  • Triad

Triad color scheme is the most used style by designers because the color wheel is in a way that each color is widely distant from each other. It is based on three color selections with an actual distance of 120-degree from each other.

Advisably, it’s best to choose just one color for the background and use the other two in designing content, navigation and other elements.

Triad Color System
Image: Triad Color System represented in the color wheel


  • Complementary

Establishing the right complementary color for a website is very simple. It’s achieved by selecting a color from the color wheel and directly selecting the opposite color from your first selection.

Complementary Color System
Image: Complementary Color System represented in the color wheel


  • Compound

Here the designer has the possibility of choosing four colors. To impress the users, designers can select two colors complementary to each other and let the other two be distinctive.

Compound Color System
Image: Compound Color System represented in the color wheel


  •  Square

The square color scheme gives the designer four possible colors. These are also distant from each other as on the color wheel. Choosing just one color as the dominant color and the others corresponding to it.

Square Color System
Image: Square Color System represented in the color wheel


  • Rectangle

There is a four-color option here as well, but two must be complementary sets of colors.

Rectangle Color System
Image: Rectangle Color System represented in the color wheel


Colors and the Emotions they Carry

Emotions are the state of an individual’s inner response to the body and outside stimuli. Colors have an emotional effect on the psychology of people in every aspect of life.

A website designer has to know what emotions and feelings each color conveys to build a good website.

Nonetheless, it is also of great importance to know your target audience to use your colors wisely concerning their cultures and beliefs.

Below is a list of the different feelings some primary colors convey:

  • White Color

Using white as the dominant color in your design makes it simple and gives it a clean look. Other feelings that white conveys are purity, innocence, cleanliness, a sense of space, neutrality, and mourning in some cultures (which highlights why it’s so important to understand your audience).

  • Black Color

Black looks sophisticated, and it enhances ease of reading and shows a classic superiority. Other feelings it triggers include authority, power, strength, evil, intelligence, thinning/slimming, and death or sorrow in some cultures (again – the importance of understanding your audience).

  • Red Color

Red conveys negative feelings in some, but knowing your audience will enable you to use it properly. Some possible emotions are love, romance, gentleness, blood, warmth, comfort, energy, danger, intensity, excitement, and life.

  • Green Color

Green, on a general note, gives a refreshing feeling and exposes friendliness. Some other emotions green conveys are neutrality, growth, coolness, money, health, envy, tranquility, harmony, calmness, and fertility. 

How web designers can use the skill of Color philosophy in consulting web design clients.

Now that you know about color theory and the philosophy behind it, how do you consult clients on what color schemes to use?

In order for you to do this effectively, you need to know the basics first.

As a web designer skilled in color philosophy, you cannot just rely on your expertise in colors to deliver the best color combination to a client.

For example, you may provide an outstanding color combination to a client, but it doesn’t meet the client’s expectations as a result of you not taking the brand, products, and target market into consideration.

Being aware that colors convey different feelings, emotions, and attraction, it is necessary to consult your clients by asking them the following questions:

  • What is the purpose of the Website?
  • What is the name of your brand?
  • What is the use of the brand?
  • Who is your target audience?
  • What are your target audience members’ beliefs and cultures?

After you have all the answers you need from the client, you can go ahead and put your color philosophy skills into action and consult the client with an amazing color scheme for their website.


Web design is a constantly evolving field, and in order for web designers to stay on top of their game, they need new skills.

Now that you know all things about color philosophy, you have a highly valuable skill at your disposal to get ahead of your competition and increase the value of your services.

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Anjana Wickramaratne
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4 thoughts on “All about Color Philosophy in Web Design”

    • I couldn’t agree more! Colors tap into the emotions of the visitor and will help the them to get a better experience.

      • They really do. The more of an emotional connection you can make with your site visitors, the more likely you are to land their business. Then you move to the customer satisfaction and retention stage!

    • That’s so true, Nick. Too few business owners and marketers put the right amount of thought into the colors that make up their website design and their branding in general. It’s so important to give serious thought to the implications color plays in making connections with your customers.


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