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Optimizing color in digital design, Part IV

Selecting the right color combination for your website-intro


In my previous three installments, I’ve explained how when variables like tonality, contrast, and cultural preferences are miscalculated, even a ‘safe’ color like blue can fail miserably in digital media. Likewise, much less popular colors like orange and brown can be highly effective in the right shade, combination and proportion.

Selecting the right color pallet

Determining the right combination of colors–factoring in hue, shade, vibrancy, contrast, complementary and proportion of one color to another is tricky business. For starters, your logo’s color(s) need to consistent with your digital platform’s color combination–or, at least, complement it.

By far the safest option when choosing colors is to work with a company specializing in design. Creating your own logo or select colors for your website by yourself can easily backfire. We at OWDT take pride in our record of success creating eye-catching digital platforms for our clients, ones that significantly increase conversion rates. That said, we collaborate closely with you, attending carefully to your preferences to ensure their vision is respected–while at the same time explaining the advantages of making any necessary changes that would improve your website’s market appeal.

The color wheel


    • Complementation

      When colors are across from one another on the color wheel, they eye can easily distinguish between similar elements. As you can see above, such color combinations include red and green, blue and orange, purple and yellow. That kind of extreme contrast can easily be overdone, however, and should be reserved for one or more critical elements of the website (e.g., link to product information or services).

    • Contrast

      There needs to be a clear contrast between your background and text color. A lack of contrast results in poor readability and low conversion rates. On the other hand, if one or both colors are too vibrant, it will strain viewers’ eyes. –So, best to choose a light color for the background and a dark color for the text itself (or the reverse). I personally believe there is an overuse of lighter grey for text color that can be hard to read.

    • Vibrancy

      Different color intensities convey different emotions. Brighter colors resonate energy while darker colors relax the user. Calls to action are best highlighted with bright colors.

Initial color combination guidelines

A few additional considerations–

    • Nature provides a rich array of color schemes that are innately appealing. Let nature inspire your choices!

    • If your color scheme is too intense it will pull the eye in too many directions, undermining your message.

    • Using fewer colors helps the reader focus on your content. For example, you often find one color for headlines and a complementary color for the text.

    • Finally, to avoid putting the viewer to sleep, incorporate at least some small elements of vibrant color.


But wait, the best is yet to come! In my fifth, final installment, I’ll provide an overview of specific color combinations that work best to attract customers.



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