Each color invokes a feeling within the viewer. Therefore, choosing the colors of your site is very important. If you have not already design a logo, then choosing color can start from scratch to be specifically geared to make the viewer have the right "feeling" when he views your site. However, if a logo is already available, then it is more productive to design the site to match the logo and use those colors. When choosing a color scheme, remember to make sure the intensity of each color is the same.
Basic Color Wheel
The primary colors of the wheel are Red, Blue and Yellow. These colors will always go well together. There are also the combinations of Blue-Yellow, Red-Blue, and Red-Yellow. Including all shades of these colors.
The one thing to remember when using these colors is that they are all fairly bright and easily dominate a site if used incorrectly.
Secondary colors are made by mixing the 3 primary colors together. Red and Blue make Violet. Blue and Yellow make Green. And, Yellow and Red make Orange.
These three colors will always look good together. There are also the combinations of Violet-Green, Green-Orange, Orange-Violet. Including all shades of these colors.
Triadic colors are made by combining the primary and secondary colors. The triadic colors are: Red-Violet, Blue-Violet, Blue-Green, Yellow-Green, Yellow-Orange, and Red-Orange.
However, a triadic color scheme is a combination of three evenly spaced colors on the wheel - Blue, Red, Yellow; Green, Violet, Orange; etc.
Complimentary color schemes are those in which the colors on the wheel are directly opposite themselves. In the example to the right there are two complimentary color schemes: Orange and Blue are one scheme, and Violet and Yellow are another.
You will notice that many times when designing a business logo complimentary colors are used. A case in point - the Denver Broncos logo is designed in Blue and Orange.
The reason for this is these colors always blend together and always please the eye.
An analogous color scheme is one in which two or more colors used are all beside each other on the color wheel. These color schemes allow for more color and shades in the scheme.
Analogous color schemes are mostly used by interior designers. However, when used properly an analogous scheme can make a great looking website.
A split complimentary color scheme is slight different than a regular complimentary color scheme.
Using the Orange and Blue complimentary color scheme as an example, the split version uses Blue-Violet and Blue-Green instead of the Blue. Or, in reverse, it can be Blue with Yellow-Orange and Red-Orange.
A monochromatic color scheme uses one color in varying shades to achieve a color scheme. Generally monochromatic color schemes are consider neutral. However, many times the scheme simply becomes neutral due the subtle changes in color.
So there you have it! Color - while being the least important element of your website next to the information you wish to give to the viewer - is also the most important element to creating a visually pleasing website, so that the viewer will actually read your information. Choosing the colors for your website and/or logo is one of the most important decisions to be made in the design process.
This is why it is important to choose a designer who can use color correctly. If your site is not using the correct hue, tone, intensity, value and saturation of color(s), the viewer will not be visually encouraged to view your information.