Those scheming colours!

The 6 major colour schemes are combinations of colours that when used together, can form a good collection to be used for branding. For example, in website design, you need a handful of colours that can be used for the header, menu, headers, titles and other website sections. If they’re different colours, they can be more easily differentiated.

In this article, we’re going to examine each one in detail, and give you pointers on picking the right colour scheme for your brand. Depending on your colour choice, your branding may be more effective with a certain colour scheme, so have a good long look at them all!

mono colour palette

1 – Monochromatic colour scheme

Monochromatic colour schemes use a single colour, which is mixed with many different shades and tints to produce a consistent feel.

You can easily change the lightness and darkness of your colours, although there isn’t much colour contrast in a monochromatic colour scheme.

analogue colour palette

2 – Analogous colour scheme

These are formed by pairing one main colour with the two colours directly next to it on the colour wheel, and you can even add additional colours next to the outside colours.

This provides a softer, less contrasting design and is great for creating warm (reds and yellows) or cool (blues and greens) colour palettes.

comp colour palette

3 – Complementary colour schemes

A complementary colour scheme provides the greatest amount of colour contrast and is based on the use of the colour directly across from it, and any relevant tints of those colours.

High contrasts help you highlight important points and takeaways, especially in charts and graphs.

split colour palette

4 – Split complimentary colour scheme

This includes one dominant colour, and the two colours directly adjacent to the dominant colour’s complement.

You can use any two colours in the scheme and get great contrast, but it can also be tricky to strike the right balance.

triadic colour palette

5 – Triadic colour schemes

Triadic colour schemes offer highly contrasting colour schemes while retaining the same tone.

They are created by choosing three colours that are equally placed in lines around the colour wheel.

square colour palette

6 – Square colour scheme

These use four colours equidistant from each other in a square shape. They are great for creating interesting and varied web designs, although tying all of the colours together may be trickier.

Because of the range, try the colours against both black and white backgrounds to see which fits best.

woman looking at a colour card

How to choose a colour scheme

Choosing a colour scheme is vital for your brand, as it can tie all of your branding elements together under the same roof. Before anything, make sure you are prioritising the user experience over anything else. No matter what colour they are, the buttons have to work, links have to lead somewhere and product pages must be up-to-date.

Take inspiration from everywhere when it comes to picking colours. Look at the natural world around you, ask people for their favourite colours, or even borrow ideas from companies that exist already. See if there’s a mood you want to convey, and pick colours to fit the theme behind your brand.

There’s also numbers at play – the 60-30-10 rule can be useful for website or app design. This states that the main colour should constitute 60% of your design, the secondary should account for 30%, and an accent colour can make up the last 10%. The proportion and balance don’t have to be exactly spot-on these numbers, so experiment!

Refer to your colour wheel and draft multiple designs. Trial and error, as well as simply making executive decisions as to whether or not you want to include a colour after seeing it in a palette, will be the only ways of deciding on a palette.

A masterpiece!

Well done for sticking with us during that exploration into colour palettes. We’ve been over the best ones to think about, including how they’re formed and why you may choose to use them. Hopefully, now you can decide on your very own palette!