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Colors do more than just enhance the visual appeal of an online brand. They can elicit emotions, create distinctions between user interface (UI) elements and send subliminal messages to customers.

In user experience (UX) design, colors can help customers navigate your website and remember your brand. Choosing the right UX colors for your website is important for a great user experience and can influence your business’s success.

That’s why you should invest a great deal of time and resources to ensure you get the right UX colors from the onset of your venture.

If you’re curious about how you can choose color schemes that can help propel your business to stardom, read on.

In this guide, we provide you with UX color best practices. You’ll also learn about color theory, the psychology of color and tips for choosing the right UX color scheme.

Although the use of color is crucial for all aspects of your business, we’ll focus on the effects of UX color choice on an eCommerce business.

UX color terminology

You need to understand some terms before finding the right color scheme for your UX. UX designers use these terms to distinguish between variations of colors, which will be useful when you start creating your color palette.

The differences between hue, tint, saturation (tone), and shade.


Hue means the same thing as color. For example, if the hue of a button is red, the color of the button is also red.

But there can be a subtle difference between the two when hue is used to mean a slightly more pastel variation of a color. In this sense, color is used to mean the purest form of the hue.


You can manipulate each color to produce a variant. Tint is one type of manipulation that results from adding white to a color. For instance, if you add more white to red, you’re reducing its tint.


Saturation is like tint, but you use gray instead of white to dilute a color’s concentration. When the saturation of a color is high, there’s less gray in it — meaning a saturated color is in its purest form.


Shade is also similar to tint, except you use black instead of white. The less shade there is in a color, the purer the color is.

Color psychology in UX design

Different colors affect how we process information.

Making a purchase is an emotional decision for most online shoppers. And colors are nifty at evoking various behaviors, moods and emotions in people. They’re also a huge part of your brand’s identity. That’s one reason the psychology of color exists and why it’s so important to understand.

Color psychology helps you appreciate how customers respond to different colors or how they can influence their behavior.

It should help you define the emotions you want your customers to experience when interacting with your brand. These feelings can significantly influence your online business’s shopping experience and conversion rate.

A key tip that many UX designers often overlook is the cultural difference in color perception. For example, if your brand has customers in Western countries and Asia, you must pay attention to how you use the color white.

Westerners generally see white as a symbol of peace, purity or innocence, but it symbolizes death, bad luck and mourning in some Asian countries. Using this color on a product sold in both regions could negatively impact your sales.

Besides culture, where and how you use colors is also important. For instance, pastel blue elicits feelings of affection and love when used on toys and baby products in general.

In contrast, vivid blue provides a sense of reliability, stability, safety and peace when used on a web hosting company’s website — like Bluehost.

UX colors

  • Green
  • Purple
  • Black
  • Yellow
  • Brown

Before selecting a color for your UI/UX web design, consider what your brand represents and how you want your customers to feel about you. Once you’ve established this, you can proceed to palette creation.

To get you started, we’ve created a list of colors and the feelings they often evoke. This information can help your brand stand out.

Different colors evoke different emotions depending on how they are used.


Green is heavily associated with nature. But darker shades are also associated with wealth. Other tones of green can imply growth or renewal.

Green can also provide a calming effect that symbolizes tranquility and balance. That, along with its association with wealth, explains its widespread use by financial companies.


Purple has, for a long time, been associated with royalty and luxury. In ancient times, the color was difficult to produce. Only the wealthy in society — usually the ruling class — could afford it. Some rulers even banned ordinary citizens from using it, making it exclusively available to the rich and powerful.

In addition to royalty, purple is associated with spirituality and holiness. In some ancient empires, people perceived their rulers, who commonly wore purple robes, as gods or descendants of them.


Black, like purple, can also be used to represent luxury. But this depends on the colors you use with it. As noted before, in some cultures, black evokes sadness, sorrow or bad luck, and that also depends on the colors you use alongside it.

Paying attention to your choice of complementary colors is important when using black. You can easily convey the wrong message or intention when you choose the wrong colors to go with it.


Yellow is one of the most popular brand colors. It’s happy, cheerful and optimistic.

Yellow cuts across all age ranges, with pastel hues often being used for baby products. On the other hand, vivid yellow can be used to convey excitement and darker, golden yellow is associated with luxury.


Brown, like green, is associated with nature. However, it’s more tied to the ground and represents authenticity.

You can also use brown to evoke feelings of reliability and traditionalism. But be careful because it might come off as dirty, depending on the context.

Color theory

Colors are a big part of your online brand and are often the first thing potential customers see when they come across it. And that’s a good thing because using the right color combinations can leave an indelible mark on your customers. They empower you to put prospects in the right mood to convert.

This concept of selecting colors that work harmoniously for your brand is the basis of color theory.

The colors you choose should make sense together. Color theory provides guidelines that help you select colors that can inspire your customers’ admiration and lead them to make a purchase.

The color wheel has three types of colors.

The color wheel is a key part of color theory. It’s made up of three color types:

  • Primary: Red, blue and yellow.
  • Secondary: Orange, green and violet.
  • Tertiary: Red-orange, red-violet, yellow-orange, yellow-green, blue-green and blue-violet.

Besides clearly displaying the above colors, the color wheel distinguishes between cool and warm hues. The colors found on the red side of the wheel are known as warm colors. And those on the blue and green side are called cool colors.

You can use warm colors to represent happiness, warmth and comfort and cool colors to symbolize calm or anger.

Color schemes

Color schemes are also known as color harmonies. Essentially, they’re the combination of colors you use on all your branding and marketing material. You can use multiple colors in appealing variations.

Choosing the right UX colors and creating a color palette for your online business begins here.

The good news is there are several color schemes to help you settle on a proper color harmony for your website. Note that there are more color schemes than those we cover here.

Types of color schemes.

The color schemes we’ll cover include:

  • Analogous: Select three colors adjacent to each other on the color wheel. This scheme gives you relatively similar colors.
  • Complementary: These are two opposite colors in a color wheel. Unlike the analogous color scheme, this scheme often results in two different color temperatures. They offer a stark color contrast between UI elements.
  • Triadic: Triadic colors are three colors in the wheel with equal spacing (120 degrees) between each. The selection of colors forms a triangle, hence the name.
  • Split-complementary: This is a variation of the complementary approach. Pick one color using the complementary method, then choose two from either side of the complementing (opposite in the color wheel) color.
  • Monochromatic: This color scheme uses several hues of a single color. For instance, if you pick red, adjust its tint to get several subdued versions.

Now, there are some best practices you should follow for the best results. Let’s look at them:

UX colors best practices

The process of finding the best UX colors for your brand isn’t complex. However, it requires a solid grasp of color theory. And while that’s an intricate subject, anyone can learn, starting with the information we shared above.

Below are a few UX color best practices.

Select a base color

A base color is the centerpiece of your color palette. With it, picking the remaining colors can be easy.

To make the process even simpler, you can use a tool like this accessible color palette generator, which generates random color palettes when you provide a base color. On top of that, your palette will comply with Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG). That means nearly everyone can enjoy the colors you choose (more on that below).

Choose a color scheme

Choose a color scheme you’re comfortable working with. Or pick a harmony that provides enough colors for your brand. If you don’t have much experience in this area, start with simple harmonies like monochromatic or complementary.

Limit your color options

Using too many colors may be confusing and distracting for users. When too many colors on different UI elements compete for the user’s attention, they can quickly get overwhelmed, give up and bounce. And a high bounce rate generally isn’t good for an eCommerce website.

Develop and follow brand guidelines

If your organization doesn’t already have brand guidelines, it’s time to create them. Brand guidelines create order and consistency and can simplify your work. They also help you build a strong brand your customers can recognize anywhere.

Use the 60-30-10 rule

The 60-30-10 rule.

Cover your design area with the colors in your palette as follows:

  • 60% with primary color
  • 30% with secondary color
  • 10% with accent color

Stay consistent

Color consistency can improve the user experience. It can keep customers focused on the task they’re trying to accomplish.

For instance, if you use red to show the user a warning on one page, don’t use it to show excitement on another. Keep colors consistent and conversions may increase.

Account for accessibility for those with vision disabilities

About 300 million people worldwide are color blind. That’s almost the entire population of the U.S.

As a UX designer, you should factor people with color blindness and other vision disabilities into your choice of UX colors. Use colors with a sharp contrast to enhance the visibility and readability of text on your website.

If you’re having trouble finding the right colors for this purpose, tools like Coblis can help you simulate how people with color blindness will see your webpages. You can also use tools such as the accessible color palette generator we shared above to improve your website’s accessibility.

Final thoughts: Choosing the right UX colors for your brand

Inconsistent or jarring UX color combinations can result in a chaotic UI design and experience that turns your target audience away and frustrates your marketing efforts. This needn’t be the case. Take time and learn more about color schemes and how your business will benefit from using them the right way.

However, when you’re building a business, your time is precious. You need as much as possible to build or improve your product and streamline your business processes. As a result, you might not have enough time to learn color theory or psychology and pick a suitable color scheme for your brand.

The good news? Bluehost offers full service website design. So you can focus on the activities that matter to your business while our experts build a beautiful and unique website for you.

  • Minal Agarwal

    Minal is the Director of Brand Marketing at Bluehost. With over 15 years of business experience in the technology industry, she strives to create solutions and content that fulfill a customer's needs. She is a dog mom and a stickler for calendaring.

    Masters in Marketing Management
    Previous Experience
    Strategic Partnerships, Customer Success, Events and Community
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