Color Theory for UX Design: A Brief Guide for Designers

June 16, 2019

Athar Majeed

Do you pick the colours randomly for your design project?

Or you finalize the colour scheme just because it looks great on a design?
But colours are as important as your design itself. They affect moods and help make a brand more recognizable as well.

And here are some stats why successful designers burn their midnight oil to choose the right one…

• 66% of customers only buy a product when it comes in their preferred hues.
• Over 90% people admit that visual dimension is a top factor behind their buying decision. 
• 90% of product assessment is based on its color alone.
• Colours have been found to improve readership by 40 percent.

How Choosing The Color Scheme Can Benefit A Brand

Whether you are designing for a client or for your brand, choosing the right color scheme is important for creating an engaging end product. And here are some benefits of doing that…

• Your brand or website can get recognition as a visual dimension (what we have told you in the stats) makes people remember the brand.
• Make them feel right about your brand (emotional impact of the colors).
• Prompts them to take action.

This is how colors play a key role in the visual identity of any brands. Whether it’s a logo, website or a campaign, make sure to choose the right color combination that goes well with your target audience.

Read Also: 6 Reasons To Create an App Prototype Before Development

Tips to Choose the Right Color Combination for UX Design

For that, you need to understand the color psychology and color harmony stated below.

1. Understanding the Psychology Associated with the Colors:

The study of the emotional impact of the colors is known as color psychology. Being a designer, it is important to understand the emotional impact of each color.

For example, Blue stands for trust and intelligence; red is for energy and passion; black is for evil and power; green is for soothing and rest; gold is for luxury and prestige; yellow is for warmth; pink is for love, and orange is for happiness.

Let’s have another example how to corporate the emotional impact of these colors into branding:

a) Green denotes relaxation and calmness which is why it is used in the brands close to nature—like Animal Planet and Tropicana.
b) Red may be used to stand out from the crowd. The iconic example is Coca Cola.
c) Orange can be used for the brands with energetic vibes such as Fanta and JBL. Red logo goes well with the “spicy” taste of Dr. Pepper.
d) Blue is the color of security and trust and has been used by Facebook.
e) Pink is a feminine color which is why it is mostly used in the breast cancer awareness campaigns along with woman-centric brands like Barbie and Victoria’s Secret.
f) Gray is a tech color—look at the logo of Apple and Mercedes.

Different colors can attract specific types of customers, and can even influence their behaviors. For example, red, black and orange are used to attract impulse shoppers to businesses like fast food, sales, and malls. Navy blue and teal are heavily used to attract shoppers on a budget for banks or large retail stores.

2. Understanding the Color Harmony:

Color harmony occurs when all colors present a pleasing contrast or color combination. Simply put, you need to understand what looks best with what. For example, what background will look great with an image in red color? It will help you understand the right color palette for your designs.

To achieve a great contrast and color combination, a color wheel contains the harmonic set of the hues as given below…

(A Quick Refresher: The color wheel or color circle is a tool for combining colors. The first one is said to be designed by Sir Isaac Newton in 1660s. The color wheel places several hues around a circle to show a relationship between the different colors. The most common variation of the color wheel is RYB.)

a) Complementary Color Scheme:

They are placed opposite to each other on the color wheel. Examples are red and green. Their combination produces a great contrast and makes the things look stand out.

b) Analogous Color Scheme:

They are next to each other on the color wheel and create a calm and comfortable design. To make the most of this scheme, create enough contrast by choosing one color to dominate and a second one to support. The third color can be used as an accent.

c) Triadic Colors:

Triadic colors form a triangle across the wheel, for example, purple, orange and green.

d) Split-Complementary:

It is an extension of the complementary color scheme. Two more colors adjacent are used as a complement to the base colors.

e) Rectangle Or Tetradic Color Scheme:

This color scheme uses four hues from the wheel which form complementary pairs. One color should be dominant among all.

f) Square Color Scheme:

Although it looks similar to the tetradic scheme, all four colors are spaced evenly across the circle. Like the rectangle color scheme, one color should be dominant.


You must have understood color theory. You must have understood the psychological impact of each color. What’s next?

As we have told you earlier, you just need to execute them well. From the call to actions, images to the banner, each element of your website or mobile app should have the right color according to the target audience and brand type as well. Before finalizing the things, make sure to test them till you are ensured that you have given your best shot. Apart from that, reviews of the clients and stakeholders are important. And this shouldn’t be cumbersome with prototype tools like Savah App.


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