Control your colors with theory and psychology

Ycode team Aug 24, 2023

We're excited to introduce our new color controls. With live preview, you can now experiment and customize your colors on the fly! Watch the video tutorial to learn more, and continue reading for tips on choosing impactful colors based on theory and psychology.

Color psychology

Color psychology is the study of how colors affect our emotions, thoughts, and behaviors. The associations of colors can vary by culture, but there are some general principles that are universal.

Example of company logos that are red: Target, CNN, Coca-Cola, ESPN.

Red is often associated with passion, excitement, and danger. Its stimulating nature makes it effective for grabbing attention and conveying urgency. Examples: Target, CNN, Coca-Cola, ESPN.

Examples of company and product logos that are orange: Fanta, The Home Depot, Dunkin' Donuts, Mastercard.

Orange combines the energy of red and the cheer of yellow. Its versatility lends itself to expressing enthusiasm and stimulating appetite. Examples: Fanta, Home Depot, Dunkin’ Donuts, Mastercard

Examples of company logos that are yellow: McDonald's, Hertz, Nikon, DHL.

Yellow is associated with happiness, optimism, and creativity. Its eye-catching vibrance draws attention. It also stimulates and energizes. Examples: McDonald's, Hertz, Nikon, DHL.

Examples of company logos that are green. Starbucks, Holiday Inn, Whole Foods Market, Lacoste.

Green calms, representing nature, peace, growth and sustainability. Its tranquil qualities suit healthcare settings and eco-brands. Examples: Starbucks, Holiday Inn, Whole Foods Market, Lacoste.

Examples of company logos that are blue. General Electric, Facebook, Ford, Philips.

Blue calms, conveying trustworthiness and credibility. Its dependable character suits websites and apps seeking trust. Examples: General Electric, Facebook, Ford, Philips.

Examples of company logos that are purple: Taco Bell, Slack, Cadbury, FedEx.

Purple symbolizes luxury, power and creativity. Despite rarity, it enables sophistication and elegance. Examples: Taco Bell, Slack, Cadbury, FedEx.

Examples of company logos that are pink: Baskin-Robbins, T-Mobile, Vineyard Vines, Lyft.

Pink supports femininity, romance and nurturing. Its gentle nature suits children and calming spaces. Examples: Baskin-Robbins, T-Mobile, Vineyard Vines, Lyft.

Examples of company logos that are black: Chanel, Rolls-Royce, Prada, Gucci.

Black is associated with power, mystery and sophistication. Its dramatic nature suits formal clothing and luxury goods. Examples: Chanel, Rolls-Royce, Prada, Gucci.

Color theory

Knowing color theory basics is super helpful for making designs people love. It provides guidance on combining colors harmoniously to elicit positive responses. Carefully choosing color combos can boost usability and make the overall visual experience way better. Read on for main color theory ideas and how to use them effectively.

The Color Wheel

The color wheel visually represents primary, secondary, and tertiary color relationships based on mixing. It depicts complementary colors opposite each other that contrast strongly. Analogous colors are adjacent and create harmonious palettes.

The wheel shows warm and cool colors - warm being energetic and cool being calming. Rotating around the wheel demonstrates how you can generate different color scheme combinations. It’s an excellent tool for helping designers understand how colors interact with each other. It also makes choosing the right palette a lot easier.

Understanding Color Harmonies

Color harmonies can help you choose colors that work well together and create a sense of balance and harmony in your designs.

Monochromatic palettes utilize different tints, tones, and shades of a single hue. This provides cohesion while adding subtle interest through lightness and saturation variations.

Complementary harmonies use colors opposite one another on the color wheel, creating vibrant contrast. But use complementaries sparingly as they can clash if overdone.

Analogous harmonies employ colors adjacent on the wheel for soothing, harmonious palettes. While low in contrast, they are rich and refined.

Triadic harmonies form triangles on the wheel, balancing one dominant color with two complementary supporting hues. This provides vibrant, balanced palettes.

Tetradic harmonies use two complementary pairs, creating vibrant contrast. Use sparingly and in balance to avoid discordant palettes.

While the color wheel and harmonies provide a useful starting point, color theory encompasses many concepts that can help guide your website palette selections.

Use color theory and the resources here to choose the right colors for your project, in a way that feels natural to you. The tools below make it fun to experiment with color, so you can turn theoretical concepts into beautiful designs.

The ultimate list of resources

Color psychology:

Color theory

A special thanks to Ignas, our amazing lead designer. He shared with me some of the invaluable tools on this list. You can explore his creative work and follow him here.


Understanding color theory and psychology is essential for creating impactful designs. The thoughtful application of color harmonies and associations can greatly enhance the effectiveness of any visual work. Color principles provide a guide, but they should not stifle intuition and creativity. The most successful designs employ color thoughtfully but also have a personal flair.

Experiment with both traditional and unconventional methods to see what works. Use color intentionally, keep exploring new palettes, and don't be afraid to break rules when it feels right. With practice, you'll develop an intuitive knack for color. Mastering color psychology and theory takes time, but the journey brings excitement as you discover how to use this powerful tool to bring your visions to life.

Every template we build is created based on color principles, so if you need inspiration or don't want to start from scratch, check out the templates here, and let us know what you think.