Effects of Color in Webdesign

How do colors affect people? You should ask yourself this question when designing your website because each color has its own characteristic effect. Colors attract attention and trigger certain emotions. It is also no secret that companies consciously present their brands and products in specific color design.

But what applies to brands and products is also important for the success of an online presence. We will be happy to give you tips and tricks on how to make your website a real eye-catcher in terms of color and how to increase your conversion.


Our eyes influence our perception considerably. That is why colors are used specifically as a means of communication. Colors are trademarks and are even associated with certain products or whole companies. Think, for example, of the distinctive magenta of Telekom.

Since certain colors are carriers of a certain feeling or setting, they are used specifically to achieve the desired effect. A common example is the product design of light products in the food industry. Fat-reduced products are supposed to convey a feeling of lightness, activity, and health. Here, manufacturers largely use pastel shades such as light blue, rosé or green to evoke the association of a good and healthy lifestyle and thus encourage customers to buy. Therefore, the use of certain colors is in economic psychology a means to actively influence the purchasing behavior of customers. The placement of colors in product design has therefore long been a common method of increasing sales of consumer goods.

As a result of its long-standing image problems, the McDonald’s fast food group also changed its corporate design from classic red to green in 2010 to respond to modern lifestyle trends and declining sales.


The choice of color also plays a decisive role in the success of a website. Here the targeted use of colors in web design for certain elements of the menu, headings, texts or graphics elements is decisive.

In order to develop a successful concept for the color design, it helps to ask yourself the following questions beforehand:

  • Which target group should the website appeal to?
  • Which markets does the website reach?
  • What is the topic of the website?
  • Which product/service is marketed?
  • Does the color of the website match the corporate design?


In addition, the theme or intention of the website provides information about optimal color implementation. An online shop for women’s fashion usually uses different color elements than a tax consulting firm, as it pursues different objectives and conveys different messages.

  • Orange: creativity, style, vivacity, optimism, exuberance
  • Red: danger, temperament, warmth, dynamics, energy
  • Blue: freedom, trust, security, harmony, satisfaction, professionalism
  • Purple: mysticism, vanity, selfishness, loneliness, creativity
  • Green: Naturalness, Youthfulness, Balance, Adventure, Relaxation
  • Black: power, strength, directness

In order to communicate certain messages non-verbally, the corresponding color selection is often used in web design. Purple and orange are increasingly found on beauty and lifestyle sites, whereas blue is often used by financial service providers. It is important that your choice of color matches your website and is consistent. For this reason, these colors are specifically used in various industries:

  • Orange: Creative sector
  • Red: Food industry
  • Blue: banking and finance, consulting firms
  • Purple: beauty and lifestyle industry
  • Green: materials and textile industry, food industry
  • Black: automotive and technology industry


A precise target group analysis will tell you which colors you should focus on in the color concept of your website. Women often perceive the colors purple, blue and green as pleasant, whereas men more often prefer the colors blue, green and black.

Women consider orange, brown and grey to be negative. Men, on the other hand, often do not like the colors brown, orange and purple.

Irrespective of gender and personal feelings, it should also be noted that the meaning of colors is also influenced culturally. With an internationally oriented website, it is important to get accurate information about intercultural differences in color perception. We Europeans know the color white, for example, as a symbol of innocence, purity and cleanliness. In some Asian countries such as Japan or China, however, white stands for grief and death. Such contrary perceptions must be taken into account when choosing the right color for a website.


There are various approaches to creating an optimal color scheme when selecting color combinations.


The triadic color scheme describes the combination of three colors by their position in the color spectrum. Based on the basic color of the website, an equilateral triangle is used to determine which other colors can best be combined here. The triadic color scheme is very helpful when you want to create a multicolored company logo or a website with three colors. Here it is advisable not to choose three dominant colors, as this often acts as a deterrent. Discreet is often more!


A further possibility is offered by the complementary color scheme, in which color contrasts are specifically used. These often work combined very harmoniously and harmoniously. You decide for yourself which method best meets your expectations for your website.

Complementary color scheme Web design
Complementary color scheme, source: Doktor Web


The analog scheme combines similar colors of the color spectrum to create optically harmonious combinations. Here, up to six colors can be combined to create a harmonious overall picture. Nevertheless, you should ideally limit your color selection to three colors. Too many colors seem restless and distracting.

However, you should be careful to use saturated colors and use high-contrast shades for color combinations so that text elements are clearly highlighted. In addition, warm colors attract attention, while bright warm colors should be used sparingly, as they often appear aggressive in combination.


Colors of special elements in the menu navigation should be chosen with particular care, as they subconsciously influence the clicking behavior. The relevance of this topic is often only noticed by a user during so-called A/B test runs of well-known e-commerce companies, as soon as the buttons “Add to shopping cart” or “Order now” have a different color than usual. Here, too, a cleverly chosen color of the elements as well as size, shape and position have a direct effect on purchasing behaviour. Friendly, warm colors are more tempting to buy than aggressive red tones.

Since buttons should clearly stand out and attract attention, it is important to use contrasting colors again. However, if shape and size are already conspicuous, it is advisable to choose a more discreet color. If there are several buttons below each other, the most important one should be highlighted in color.

At the moment, the color orange is trendy for large online shopping groups such as Amazon, as it is both eye-catching and discreet at the same time. It is also helpful to orientate yourself with regard to the coloring of similar websites and to observe different reactions of the target group to certain color elements by means of A/B effect tests.


Here you will find a few useful tools for the color design of your website, which will help you to find optimal color combinations or simply to be inspired.

ColorHexa will suggest suitable colors or alternatives to the basic color of your website.
Adobe Color CC (formerly Kuler) is a tool that captures both color combinations and shading. Although you need a Creative Cloud account to use it, it is usually free to create.

Colour Contrast Check allows you to quickly and easily determine how contrasty or similar two colors are. This can be helpful for the rough orientation when choosing the color.

With Paletto, you can even display your own color palette directly as an example website to illustrate the selected color combinations.


The psychology of colors in web design plays a crucial role and should therefore be considered from the outset when designing your website. It is important that harmonious color combinations are used in a targeted manner and that the target group is addressed. In addition, the choice of color should match the industry and the product on offer. Various tools can help with the color selection of a website.