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Choosing Your Website Color Scheme
Color can be an important factor in the construction of your website. Too little color can make a website boring. Too much color can make visiting your site a confusing experience.
Choosing the wrong colors can detract from the professional appearance that you want to project. For example, if your website advertised Funeral Services, you wouldn't use strong contrasting colors like you would find on a gaming site.
When choosing a color scheme for your website, you should know something about color relationships. I'll use the colorwheel on the right to explain three of the most common; complementary, neighboring and monolithic.
Complementary colors are located opposite each other on the colorwheel. Red and green would be complementary colors. They produce excitement with strong contrast. This color relationship is often found on fun sites like gaming and sports networks.
Near complementary colors are also used to produce contrast. They are found on the colorwheel by choosing a color and going across to the complementary. The colors on either side of the complementary color would be considered near complementary.
Neighboring colors are located next to each other on the colorwheel. They form a much more subtle relationship.
Monolithic colors are just different shades of the same color. Monolithic color schemes can be a little boring. Add a little contrast with black borders and text if needed.
One More for the Road
Another interesting color relationship is called a Triad. The colors that form a triad are located at equal distances from each other on the wheel. Red, blue and yellow would form a triad.
For more on color schemes study the help files in our Color Scheme Tool.
Use of Color in Web Pages
Never use more than 3 colors when choosing your color scheme. Always use related colors.
Use colors consistently throughout the pages of your site. For example, don't make the navigational tools on your pages different colors on different pages.
If you use sidebars, their color should be consistent throughout the site.
Small light colored text on any dark background is a no no. Big blocks of black text on a yellow background is an eye strainer. The best background for any dark colored text is white.
Coordinate the color of text and borders with images on the page. This is especially true of the heading graphic.
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Last Modified: July 5, 2007