Pick a color, any color! There’s a lot to choose from. Go on, have fun!
Color IS a lot of fun, and with digital technology and your favourite image editing program, it’s too, too easy to choose whatever suits your mood on the day.
But this isn’t a good idea.
Firstly, it takes so much extra time if you have to choose new colors every time you make a new image. And secondly, your site ends up looking like a train wreck.
Why Having the Right Colors is So Important
Color is easily the most identifiable factor in people’s minds when they first jump onto any website. If you’re running a business, of course it makes sense to have a limited color palette that your customers can identify with your brand – and those colors should express and enhance your brand’s personality. Your customers have an expectation that when they visit you, the way your site looks fits with what you’re selling.
A bank wouldn’t be taken as seriously if its colors were lime green and magenta; a toy store would look quite wrong if it was all earthy browns and dark greens. Businesses use colors to connect with their ideal customers.
But you’re only blogging for fun you say? You still need a consistent color palette. The whole reason you blog is because you have something to say and you want folks to read it. So help them read it! Color has the power to support what you have to say… but it also has the power to confuse. You want it to be a welcoming and beautiful space, right?
Choosing a Color Palette that Evokes Feeling
When you put two or more colors together, they resonate with each other. Some combinations are more pleasing to look at than others, but each group of hues creates its own feel. Yes, context can tweak how it feels a tiny bit, but there are some fundamental things that happen because of how rich or pure the colors are, how dark or light they are, and the exact hues that are used.
When you understand what feeling they convey, then you’re better able to choose a palette that suits you and supports what you have to say. And because you’re choosing them as a group, if you think of a palette in terms of a relevant image it can help you get closer to understanding how the colors fit together and how those feelings work.
Let’s say you want a ‘natural’ palette for your blog, because you’re the outdoorsy type. There’s still a squillion ideas to choose from – do you want to be rugged and outdoorsy, flower-child and outdoorsy, beachy and outdoorsy – the list goes on. For instance, because this image of daisies was taken late in the afternoon, the light is warm and accentuates the yellow centres, and also casts cool blue shadows. The overall feeling is soft, relaxed and warm.
On the other hand, this pic of a fruit tree blossom was taken in the middle of the day. The colors are brighter, fresher and cleaner, while still being soft and feminine.
If you want something with a bit more sensuality, this palette of muted brights is much, much warmer. It’s also a little bit more intense due to the overall darker tones, and especially the richness of the plum.
If you want something fresher, try using a palette with citrus hues. While this one’s a bit zesty, it’s not overbearingly so due to the cooling hues of dark blue.
Cool again, but more calming than citrus is this surf palette in watery colors. Muted blues are very calming, and these are especially so because these hues are a lot closer together on the color wheel. Darker hues can be seen as more serious and a touch more masculine too.
If you want your site to convey a clean, modern, and efficient feel, you could try using a neutral palette of greys, warmed with a soft beige to make it a bit more inviting.
But perhaps that’s not quite enough personality for you?
When you mute your colors (reduce how vivid or pure they are) and warm them (increase yellow and red tones slightly), it can create a slightly retro feel. Here, the primary colors of red, yellow and blue work to create an atmosphere which is inviting, fun, but still a touch nostalgic.
Want something with a bit more class? Let’s go for nostalgia with a modern twist. Just like in our first image, this photo was taken in late afternoon so the colors are already soft and warm. There are lots of browns in this, so we can group the darker grey-browns with a couple of peachy colors to create a feeling of sophisticated retro. Then, add in some chartreuse green to give it all a bit of zip. Presto, modern nostalgia FTW!
How to Choose a Color Palette for Your Brand
So when you’re looking for your next palette, think first and foremost about the feeling you’re after – and then choose a palette to suit. You might have guessed from the above examples that one of my favourite strategies is to choose an image that evokes the feeling or vibe you want, and then extract a palette from that.
How to Extract a Color Palette from an Image
Go to any one of the many color picker sites online — such as pictaculous.com, cssdrive.com, Lokesh Dhakar’s Color Thief or palettefx.com. My fave color picker is Adobe’s at color.adobe.com because it’s tweakable — you can move the sampling points around to get exactly the palette you want.
ALL of these generators will provide you with at least the hex-code of your color — this is the 6-digit identifying number (denoted by the hash key #) so that you’ll always get EXACTLY the same color every time you use it.)
If you try this, then think more about the colors that are in the image, rather than its subject matter – for instance, you might love a pic of a cobbled street because the shadows look fabulous and it signifies mystery and adventure to you – but think, are the colors great too?
There are some great sites out there that produce beautiful palettes on a regular basis (Design Seeds is probably my favourite), so it’s easy to find something that’s already made. But if you want something that’s truly YOU, you probably need to do it yourself.
Do it, be brave and adventurous!
If you’re looking for more color confidence, Marianne’s already written some great posts on using color on your blog including some awesome color palette tools and resources.
What About Your Color Palette?
Now, sometimes people choose their favourite color as the starting point for their blog’s palette. And I’m really curious and I’d love to know – what’s your favourite color, and how easily does it fit with your blog’s palette? Leave your answers in the comments below!
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My favorite color is purple but for my blog, I ended up going with a Teal and Raspberry (almost mauve) palette. I think that the colors compliment each other nicely. I didn’t decide on my colors though until I read numerous posts on the psychology of colors.
That’s awesome you did your research Kori, it shows. You did a fantastic job on your new brand board!
Those colours sound lovely Kori! Yes, I love me a bit of research, there’s always so much to learn, and some wonderful knowledge out there.
What a great post! Very helpful.
My favorite color is purple and I did use it for my main brand, although like Kori, I only made that choice after doing a lot of reading on color psychology. I went with purple, teal, and an accent of rose gold glitter backed up by warm greys for my brand because it’s all about being grown up and achieving one’s goals without losing our playful / edgy style.
Hey Brittany you already know how much I love your brand colors and you really nailed it!
haha yep Brittany, you totally rocked it!!
My favorite color is teal, so I went with that and paired it with beige. I’m on the healthy eating space and I’m interested in knowing what you think about it! Excellent post, super interesting 🙂 I actually didn’t do color psychology research like Kori and Brittany, feeling kinda noob here haha
Hey Liv, i love teal and aqua too, but sometimes your fave color may not necessarily fit with your blog’s goals. I would consider perhaps some more organic or natural colors for your brand colors and using teal as an accent, which means little bits here and there instead of it being your main color.
Liv, what Marianne said!! It’s always helpful to do a bit of research into your niche and see what colours other people are using; it’s an indication of what readers expect from that industry (although of course you’re always welcome to disrupt the norm so you can stand out).
Also, consider what images you’ll be posting on your blog – if it’s lots of fresh fruit and veg, make sure your blog palette works with that.
Great post. Im an aqua lover so I went aqua shades, gray and a splash of soft pink. My home is filled with aquas and grays! LOL.
While I know a bit of color psychology, I didn’t base my colors on that. I did it for the love of aqua and gray, its me. Something so me inevitably became part of my brand.
Funny Ive been stalking an aqua theme at Angie Makes since I spotted her in your sidebar. I just did a theme update and Im not as happy as Id like…
This was a great read, thanks for posting! Ive been visiting your blog quiet a bit lately. 🙂
Oh my Kelly, what a gorgeous blog! I can’t stop looking at all those wonderful photos! Lucky for you, the colors fit very well. But you already knew that 😉
Awe, thank you so much! 🙂
Love this post! I went with a soft green, purple, and peach palette to evoke a sense of comfort. I blog about books and knitting, so I wanted my readers to feel comforted and calmed and ready to share about their favorite books and patterns. I’ve been feeling like it wasn’t bright enough compared to other crafty blogs out there, and this post made me feel much more confident–thank you!
I love the colors Christine, glad to know this post helped you feel more confident about your them!
The advice to find an image with the feeling/intention that we might be going for is GENIUS. I’ve been stuck trying to find the perfect colors and that’s just what I needed. Thank you!
I know Kristyn, that was sheer brilliance from Julie wasn’t it? Btw, I love your glittery header!
Wow thanks. It’s mostly a placeholder until I find my actual logo *fingers crossed* I really appreciate that you like it.
Woohoo Kristyn!!! SO glad you found my post so helpful. You are most welcome!!
I am all over the place for my color palette. For my first year blogging I ended up with a “minty” muted color because it was one of the options. Not very attractive, but the other DIY blogs I see I just way too colorful. What color family would you say best describes a work out of home mom, artists, crafter, and sewer?
I would recommend some more color for your blog since you talk about creativity, art and crafts. It doesn’t have to be a bunch of crazy colors, but at least 3 nice colors that compliment each other would be best. Look for some beautiful photos that you feel represent your brand and follow Julie’s advice here in the post!
Come share your findings with us in the FB group!
Anything to do with creativity means you have to convey a sense of activity, which is best conveyed with a variety of colour. Like Marianne said, of course you don’t have to go crazy with colour – but a balanced selection from the colour wheel is perfect.
Either choose two hues from the opposite sides of the colour wheel (adjust their darkness, lightness and purity) or try a triad – imagine an equal-sided triangle centred over the colour wheel and spin it around until you find some hues that you like. http://color.adobe.com. makes this easy for you – choose “complementary” or “triad” from the drop-down Color Rule menu and then click on one of the colours and spin it around.
Let us know what you choose!
My favorite color is blue and funny enough its one of the secondary colors on my blog. I recently found a new color pallet which I love! Its a yellow/gold, with a light blue/green, pink & sparingly a dark green. I kind of used my old palette and new palette together,to create the one I use now. I love it and its so calming and inviting, but its funny how I incorporated my favorite color without even realizing it!
Lauren Baxter | Lovely Décor
That’s great Lauren, and your new palette sounds lovely!
I tried so many combinations but since my photos are so big and colorful themselves, whatever colors I chose seemed to much. So I ended up with a black and white color scheme with one dark pink accent and let my photos with their neon colors do all the talking. =)
I couldn’t agree with you more Emma. The black and white is perfect and lets your photos really shine!
My favorite color to wear (besides black) probably is red, but I like all colors.
I tend to wear red a lot, though, and like my pro portraits to include red. It’s easier for me all around.
However, I do not think red is good for my intended client. She would be a stressed person and look for something calming. I went with earth tones, mainly beige and off whites for years, but looking back, I do not like that, either, anymore. I literally do not KNOW what I like anymore. Maybe I’m just overdosed on color theory, these days? I even when with a vivid orange for a few weeks. Nope.
I reach out to the harried wife/ mom. She needs a shoulder to cry on and an open, understanding heart in someone who can be close and gentle. But I hate pink, look horrible in pink, etc. And I’m not the lacy type. Arrgh.
Is there any hope? Ha.
Hi Katharine, I agree that black and red would be bad choices for your target audience, but you don’t have to stick with neutrals or pink either. I would browse through other websites that have an audience similar to yours to get an idea of the color palettes used. Then I would browse a site like color.adobe.com and see if you can’t find a palette that feels both soothing and comforting to you. Or like Julie suggests, find some stock photos that make you feel the way you want your clients to feel and extract a color palette from them.
Hi Marianne! Love your blog- I was lucky to find you on Pinterest! Question: WHERE ON EARTH did you find that “SHARED BY” widget that pops up and leads your readers to your Pinterest page?! I cannot for the life of me find it! If you could share it with me, I’d greatly appreciate it! Thanks!
So glad you found me through Pinterest! Are you asking about the “Share on” buttons for the social media at the bottom of the post? That was built into my theme, SimpleMag, and I customized the look with CSS. However, you can find plugins that add the same type of functionality such as Shareaholic that will do the same thing.
Hope that answered your question!
What a wonderful post! I’m trying to figure out a lot of things about my blog, including color palette. I think I need to focus on figuring out what I want my “brand” to be perceived as first. Thanks for the inspiration!
That’s definitely a good place to start Katie, thanks for the comment!
Wow. I did not give much thought to my my color palettesave for keeping it simple. Too bold or too many colors negatively affect my thought process, so I knew I had to keep them simple. Your post, however, is quite informative. It had also given me confidence For the colors I chose for it – the plum theme colors from Microsoft Office. I had trouble with the pink (I don’t like pinks), but overall they speak peace, love, and inspiration to me. This is how I hope other homeschool moms will feel when they visit my blog. Thanks for the awesome post!
That’s awesome Yesenia! So glad that it gave you confidence in the colors you chose and that they speak to you that way. Thanks for your lovely comment 🙂
Nice post. Thanks a lot!!
I would like to mention this website. http://colorpicker.xyz .Quite helpful. It lets you choose color scheme very easily.
Thanks for that Jessica!
I just found your post via Georgia Lou Studios, and it’s great! I LOVE color, but it can be difficult for me, and I seem to be drawn to colors that don’t always look “professional.” I just did a blog redesign, and I have used quite a bit of the same hot pink as in my logo. (I considered gray for the slider “read more” labels, but my daughter said that’s too boring, and boring is worse than unprofessional!) What is your feeling about the colors I’ve used?
Hi Pam, I think the colors look great actually! You have just the right amount of pink sprinkled throughout but not too much. I honestly wouldn’t change a thing 🙂
Hello. I’m been reading up on color palettes a lot lately and trying to decide on a pallet for my blog. Do you have any recommendations?
I write inspiring and encouraging posts. I want people who come to my blog to feel uplifted and their thoughts directed towards Heaven, but also prayerful and calm. I love light blues, but I’m unsure if that would fit.
I tried looking up some pictures I liked and then copying their color pallet and the pictures that stood out to me had shades of brown and nude, soft pink, and one had a pale green.
If you could give me any tips I would greatly appreciate it! 😀
I think that drawing color palettes out of the images you find inspirational is great and those colors do sound very nice together. I would use a lot of white to make your site feel open and uncluttered and then enhance the white with soft colors like the ones you stated. Purple tends to be a color associated with religion and spirituality. Perhaps using some soft lavender colors could work really well with light blues too.
I struggled with my blog colors for sooo long. I want to evoke a warm, comforting feeling. But I want a pop of color. I liked the colors I’m now using when I saw them but when I got my header done it just wasn’t what I wanted. Any ideas?
Hi Rebecca! I love the flowers in the header! I think perhaps what’s not fitting so well is the beige in the lettering. That particular beige is not found in any of the colors in the flowers. How about changing that to a brighter color or one that is found in those flowers? Try on one of the greens from the leaves or a red and see if you like that better.
Oh one other thing… although the Superman photo is adorable, the colors don’t mix in with the rest of the header and photos. Try replacing that one with another photo and maybe moving that photo to your About page?
Very interesting post! Thank you for sharing all your knowledge.
Psychology of colours is really interesting and can be developed in many subjects.
As a designer, I like to discover what is beyond what we see, and its effects
Thanks so much for your comment, I appreciate you reading DYOB!
Great tips! Very interesting on seeing how each persons mind thinks when choosing colors. Thanks for sharing!