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Whilst it’s important to know the layout and the overall aesthetics of a website, the beginning of design starts with the brand colours.

You may already know what colours you want to use, or your brand colours have already been established. However, if they aren’t set or you’re thinking of changing them, here are a few things you should keep in mind.

What is colour theory?

Colour theory is a term most, if not all, artists are aware of. It is not simply colour, but the combination of both art and science to evaluate how the human brain reacts and responds to certain colours. These reactions help you decide which colours you’d like for your website.

It’s not as simple as matching colours. It’s about knowing which colours will highlight specific areas and how they react to each other to evoke the psychological reaction in users.

How does this relate to website design?

As mentioned above, knowing how a person reacts to specific colours will help decide on the colours a brand uses for its website.

The first thing a user judges a website on is the colour scheme. It is arguably the first thing a person will see, and colours that are “unattractive” will lead to users leaving the site quickly.

What deems a colour scheme unattractive is where colour theory comes into play. A business needs to evaluate the emotions they want users to feel when visiting their site. They also need to find colours that work together harmoniously and balance with each other.

You can view typical colour schemes that work together through colour wheels or colour charts. These are how designers typically choose which scheme to go with. They set out contrasting colours that work to highlight specific areas and balance the design overall.


There are two main modes when it comes to colour.

RGB refers to the colours red, green and blue. This is the ideal choice for digital design.

RGB works by light source. Starting at black, the light source is applied to brighten the colours and mixing them to create any colour you need. When they are mixed together equally, they produce white.

For website design, this is the colour mode to use. It is also the colour mode to use for JPGs, PSD, PNGs and GIFs.

However, if you intend to print as well as create an online presence, then CMYK is also important to consider.

CMYK refers to the colours Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Key/Black. Unlike RGB, all colours begin at white and use subtractive mixing to produce the colours you want. In simple terms, instead of lightning, it darkens/reduces the light until the intended colour is produced.

Printers use CMYK and therefore, it is the ideal choice for files such as PDFs, AI and EPS.

Choosing a colour scheme for your brand doesn’t need to be a hard decision. Working with your designer, or even your developer, you can develop a colour scheme that will create a balanced, harmonious aesthetic that will attract users and keep them on your site.