Recently, designer Paul Herbert did an amazing analysis into the colors used by top websites. Scraping the top 10 websites on the internet ranked by Alexa.com, he found that unsurprisingly enough, the most commonly used color in their stylesheets was blue. Of course, black (#000000) was the single most common ‘shade’, given that body text is typically black, and HTML red (#FF0000) is very common too. What surprised much of the internet, however, is the appearance of tan as a popular color. Turns out it was a bug which was later explained by Paul as a bug.
The most popular colors on the 10 most popular sites. Source: Paul Herbert
But why is blue such a popular color for top websites?
Much has been said about the symbolism of the various colors, and through the years blue has been a very popular color especially for banks and tech companies as it signifies that the brand is dependable and strong. Studies have shown that colors play a strong role in a brand’s marketing and recall rate. A few years back graphic designer Paula Rúpolo did an exercise where she swapped the color palettes of famous brands, and well, you’ll just have to see the results for yourself.
color swap example. Source: Paula Rúpolo
When you consider that all the websites in the top 10 are tech businesses, it is hardly surprising that their color schemes would skew blue.
So what can this teach us about colors on our websites?
For starters, it will be easy to be remarkable and hard to remember if you’re in tech, and brand color identity is based around blue. Just look at the brand color chart and see how full it is with top-of-the-line brands like Facebook and IBM. It could still be a neat accent color to have like how Google uses blue. Purple and Green seem to be underused colors so they could have untapped potential for your brand to stand out as well. Color theory and psychology is such a wide field, and if you’re interested to find out more, we’ve previously done a 2-part series that covers the basics.