Basics of Color Theory (Part II)

In our last post, we spoke about the role colors plays in your web design and what they generally represent. Today, we’re going to learn about how to create a color scheme.

At the simplest level, there are just two things you should know when putting together a color scheme – how the colors interact through contrast, and complementation. Let’s look at them in detail.


Simply put, contrast is the difference between two colors. Contrast is important to establish the importance of elements on a page, where a high contrast draws attention to an object or text while a low one recedes.

The highest possible contrast is the difference between white and black, but there are other ways to create this as well. Here are the three main ways:


But just knowing contrast alone isn’t enough, some color combinations, while high in contrast is both hard to read and tire your readers eyes quickly. Think back to the days of Geocities.



Complementation is the way we see colors in relation to other colors. Colors on the opposite end of the color wheel are seen as more visually appealing. No surprise, these are called complementary colors.

There are multiple other ways to choose colors that go well as a scheme, instead of just pairs. Here are a few



To make things even easier for you, there are several really good online tools to help you with the construction of your color schemes. Some of these we’ve spoken about before, but these are some of our favorite.




Coolors is my most used color tool. It somewhat randomly generates a palate of colors that always go well with each other, and you choose the colors that you want to keep, and generate again. It’s almost like a game.



ColourLovers is a community site where people can share and vote on their favorite color schemes, or to see what is popular in the community.



If you need a bit more power, Paletton is the place to go. It gives you the flexibility to create your own color scheme based on sound theory.

And that concludes our two-part article on color theory. Want to see more of these? Do let us know in the comments or on our Facebook page.

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