Post by
Nasir Uddin
September 27, 2023
Post by
UI Design
Read time
5 min

Have you ever wondered why McDonald's, Hardee's, and KFC all insist on having yellow and red in their logos? Have you ever thought about why the majority of social networking sites are blue? Why does every social media platform use the same drab blue color scheme?

Colors are not just what your eye sees on the retina; there is much more to them. Because of this, it's important to be aware of the psychological effects of color. They have the ability to encourage your actions and stimulate your emotions.

Your brand's renown can be increased to entirely new levels if you make effective use of the proper colors in tandem with effective use of designing and branding

This light-based expressive phenomenon can assist your business in evoking the precise response you're looking for from your target demographic by assisting you in pressing all the appropriate buttons to bring about the desired response from them.

And after reading the article, you will clearly understand how to pick the right colors for your user interface design. Let's start with the basics first, which are…

What is Color Theory?

The color theory focuses on the color wheel. Color theory is a framework that informs the use of color in art and design, guides the selection of color palettes, and aids the aesthetic and psychological delivery of a design message.

By learning the fundamentals of color theory, you may begin to analyze the logical structure of color to develop and employ color palettes more strategically. Invoking a certain feeling, atmosphere, or aesthetic is the consequence.

What is Color Theory?
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These Colors are Categorized into Three Groups:

Primary Colors

Primary colors are those that cannot be made in any way by combining two or more other colors.  The hues red, blue, and yellow are known as the primary colors. They are also called parent colors. 

Secondary Colors

Orange, purple, and green are examples of secondary colors. These are the hues that can be made by blending any two of the primary colors into one another.

Tertiary Colors

Mixing a primary and secondary color together results in the creation of tertiary colors. Magenta, vermillion, violet, teal, amber, and chartreuse are the hues that make up the tertiary range.

Furthermore, These Colors have Three Variants:


This is referred to as shade when a color stays the same hue but gets darker. Shade is usually made by adding black to pure color or hue. It is not intended for use with only pure colors. Colors come in a variety of shades. It can range from a slightly darker shade of color to full black, as seen in the picture below. This is influenced by the amount of black used. 


The tint is the opposite of the shade.  For something to be a tint, it must be lightened with pure white. Due to the color's softer appearance following the addition of white, it is frequently referred to as a pastel. The hue will range from somewhat lighter to nearly pure white, depending on how much white is used. Remember, tints contain absolutely no gray.


Any color can be given a tone by mixing in a little bit of gray. Gray can be added to any color scheme. Specifically, gray is a neutral hue here. When used to create a tone, Gray is white with some added black. Gray can be combined with both light and dark hues. In any case, it reduces its intensity, hence the term. 

With these three techniques, you can change the saturation and value of the hue. 

  • Saturation describes a color's intensity. Color saturation is substituted by clarity and richness. Black, gray, or white change a color's saturation.
  • The value indicates a color's lightness or darkness. Tint, shade, and tone affect the value. High-value colors are light, whereas low-value colors are dark.
Three Variants of Color
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Each color means something to people; here’s a list of meanings of colors that will help you understand how to emphasize your brand on websites through colors. 

  • Red: Red represents fervor, agitation, and fury. It can represent the significance and compel attention.
  • Orange: Orange symbolizes merriment, liveliness, and kindness. It is energizing and invigorating.
  • Yellow: Yellow conveys joy, youth, and optimism but can also appear bold or inexpensive.
  • Green: Green is associated with stability, wealth, expansion, and a connection to nature.
  • Blue: A faint blue conveys serenity, trust, and receptivity. It can also symbolize purity.
  • Black: Black is associated with professionalism, safety, and formality. It also is mature and trustworthy.
  • Purple: Purple can symbolize royalty, creativity, and elegance.
  • Pink: Pink represents femininity, youth, and chastity. It ranges from modern to extravagant.
  • Brown: Brown creates a rustic, earthy, vintage appearance or demeanor.
  • White: White is identified with virtue, health, and simplicity. It can range from inexpensive to luxurious.
  • Gray: Gray represents neutrality. It can appear somber, traditional, grave, secretive, or mature.
  • Black: Black creates a sense of strength, sophistication, edginess, luxury, and modernity.

Note: The style and design in which your brand colors are applied and the color combinations you choose will determine the impact of those colors. According to research, prolonged exposure to the color yellow can trigger anxiety in some individuals.

Now that we are clear on the basics of color theory, it's time to understand the methods of how to apply color combinations to your user interface that will maintain harmony and consistency. 

There are 7 major color schemes that will help you bring the color harmony every UI design strives to achieve. Color harmony is the arrangement of colors in design in the most appealing and effective way for the perception of users. 

Harmonic colors help create a positive impression of a website or application. So, without further ado, let's get started on these amazing schemes!

Read Also: A Step by Step Guide to Product Design Process

7 Color Schemes for User Interface Design

Complementary Color Schemes 

When two colors are complementary, they are opposite each other on the color wheel. This provides color contrast. It works best when one color is used primarily in the design and the second color is used as an accent.

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As seen in the illustration above, the color opposite of yellow is purple. The complementary color scheme produces the greatest color contrast. This is effective for catching attention in the short term, but excessive or prolonged use can be jarring.

Split Complementary Color Scheme

A split complementary color scheme is created by selecting one primary color and two secondary colors that are located close to its counterpart on the color wheel. This gives you a wider range of colors to choose from than a complementary color scheme while keeping the positive qualities of contrasting colors.

Split complementary color schemes are difficult to balance since the colors generate contrast, like complementary schemes. You can use any two colors to create contrast. However, balancing the hues may be tricky. You may need to experiment to find the right contrast.

Monochromatic Color Schemes

In contrast to the other color schemes, a monochromatic color scheme starts and ends with the same color. Monochromatic color schemes use different tints and shades of the same color to create a unified look and feel.

Even though there is no contrast between the colors, monochromatic color schemes usually look clean and polished. It also makes it easy to change your colors' dark or bright ones. Color schemes with only one color are definitely unique. They look great with modern designs that use a lot of white, gray, earthy colors and straight lines.

Analogous Color Scheme

The color scheme of analogous consists of one dominant color and its two adjacent colors on the color wheel. It's a three-color scheme that may be expanded to five by using two colors from the second and third quadrants. Similar color schemes tend to look softer because there aren't as many colors that look different from each other.

One of the most amazing aspects of combining similar hues is that they generate a great sense of flow. It's virtually seamless, and there are various combinations you may employ to build a specific style or invoke a specific mood.

Triadic Color Scheme 

Triadic hues pair three colors to produce a vivid, fun atmosphere. When used correctly, they're enjoyable and aesthetically beautiful. It's illustrated by a rotating triangle. This triangle has equal sides and a 60° angle.

Triad color schemes can make great contrasts between colors in a design, but they can be too much if all of the colors are on the same line around the color wheel. Choose one color to be the main one and use the other two colors minimally, or choose softer tints of the same color.

Square Color Scheme

The square color scheme derives its name from the shape it forms on a color wheel. It employs four hues that are equally spaced from one another on the color wheel, creating a square shape. The principle guarantees that there will always be an equal number of warm and cold hues.

By emphasizing warm over cold or cool over warm, you can customize the emotional resonance of your brand's color palette for your target market. 

As their name implies, warm hues bring warmth, comfort, and comprehension. In contrast, cool colors evoke ideas of Mother Nature and outdoor activities. These hues are the most powerful when mixed.

Rectangular Color Schemes

Similar to a tetradic color scheme is a triadic color scheme. On the color wheel, the primary distinction is that we are creating a rectangle rather than a triangle.

Rectangle-based color schemes are vibrant, but it is essential to understand how they function.

Due to the fact that the rectangle color scheme is a variation of the complementary concept, it is also known as a double complementary color scheme. It enables the creation of designs with an abundance of color.

Tetradic colors are opposites that complement each other on the color wheel. When one of these hues sticks out, it looks best. You should select the correct balance of warm and cold hues to achieve the best results.

Source: Dribbble

Some Tips on How to Make Good UI Visual Designs!

Take Inspiration from Nature

Nature is the greatest designer and architect there is. Most of the time, the color schemes found in nature are spot-on. The vibrant color palettes seen in the world's oceans, forests, and mountains provide for captivating viewing throughout sunrises, sunsets, summers, winters, and any other season.

Why not take some inspiration from what has already been done?

Don't Use More Than 2-3 Colors! 

Most websites and apps use a 60-30-10 color scheme. This indicates that 60% of the website design uses the main color, 30% uses the secondary color, and 10% uses a contrasting accent color.

The accent color (10%) should be the most bright to highlight call-to-action features. The main color (60%) should be neutral and easy on the eyes, while the secondary color (30%) should contrast to provide visual interest.

Note: Using complementary colors in these proportions will help to arrange and balance your design visually.

Avoid Completely Grayscale and Black Environments

Do your best to steer clear of grayscale hues that lack saturation—this is one of the most vital color theory tips. In the real world, there are very few instances of hues that are completely gray or completely black. Keep in mind that your color should always have a bit more saturation added to it. Users will have the perception that the correct color is more natural and well-known as a result of this change.

Don't Forget Cultural Differences

Each culture has its own customs and beliefs, so you need to make sure that the colors you choose will be understood the way you want. The thing is, one color can sometimes mean completely different things in different countries.

For example, in many European countries, the color white means purity and is often used at weddings. In many Asian countries, however, the color white is associated with death and sadness. When words are used wrong, they can be misunderstood, which can be bad for a product. By taking into account how different cultures see colors, designers decrease the likelihood of being misinterpreted.


Color theory is complicated, and it's even more so in the digital realm. Using the color wheel effectively can greatly improve the overall quality of your site designs, and the following suggestions should make that process easier. Keep in mind that the greatest method to learn how to develop stunning color schemes is through practice, so why not get started right away?

If you need help with color schemes or theories, Musemind has an excellent visual artist who knows how to bring user interface designs to life with ideal colors. If you have ideas in mind, we would love to know!

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What is The 60-30-10 Color Rule?

Whether selecting colors for a website or living room, the 60-30-10 rule is a timeless decorating guideline that may help you put together a color plan with ease. The 60 percent, 30 percent, and 10 percent ratio is intended to provide color harmony in any room.It is one of the methods you can use to create a color-balanced website or mobile application. It makes your website or mobile app appear more professional, organized, proportional, and appealing to users.

  • Typically, 60% is a neutral or primary color. This part will serve as the design's base color.
  • The remaining 30% is the second color. It remains visible and will be utilized for medium components such as cards, carousels, etc.
  • The accent color accounts for 10%. This section will serve as the design's focal point. For instance, the CTA button, the pop-up, and other crucial aspects of your UI.

How Do I Choose My UI color?

Your business's color palette helps you show your customers what your brand is all about and connect with them on an emotional level. Since most decisions to buy a brand are based on feelings, there is no doubt that color is important to the success of your brand.

The next 5 steps will help you decide which color is best for your brand.

  1. Determine the number of colors that will define your brand's color palette.
  2. Use the color wheel to figure out which colors go well together.
  3. Identify the link between the brand's personality and its color scheme.
  4. Find out which brand colors work best for your sector based on the colors they use.
  5. Choose one of the color schemes from the choices that work well with the brand name and logo.

What is The Most User-Friendly Color?

There isn't a single best color. But if we had to choose just one, it would unquestionably be blue. It's labeled as a universal color that can be applied to every sector. Whether for social media, healthcare, or Fintech.

Such as Twitter, PayPal, Facebook, and Medscape. Most people, according to surveys, consider blue to be their favorite color. Globally, blue is regarded as the safest color. It stands for dependability, trustworthiness, and harmony. However, that does not imply that it is always the best shade for you. Which color would suit you the best depends on the design and brand.

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Nasir Uddin
CEO at Musemind
Nasir Uddin, Co-Founder and CEO at Musemind, brings over a decade of experience in dynamic UX design. With a background at prestigious companies like Panther, On Deck, Microsoft, and Motley Fool. His leadership has transformed Musemind into a trusted destination for comprehensive product design solutions.
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