Black is a versatile and popular color choice for websites. It creates a sleek, modern aesthetic and works well with many other colors. When using black as a primary color, it’s important to choose accent colors carefully to create an attractive and easy-to-use website. Certain color combinations work better than others for readability, visual appeal, and conveying the right tone for your brand.
Use Contrasting Colors
Since black is such a dark, bold color, you’ll want to pair it with lighter, brighter accent colors to create enough contrast. Low-contrast color schemes can look muddy and make text difficult to read. Some good light, saturated accent colors to use with black include:
– White – Clean, minimalist, modern
– Yellow – Energetic, upbeat, playful
– Light green – Natural, peaceful, fresh
– Light blue – Open, friendly, calming
– Purple – Elegant, mystical, wise
A pure white commonly provides enough contrast against black text. But for other light colors, opt for fairly saturated shades rather than pale tints. Pastel accents lack sufficient contrast against black backgrounds.
Use Monochromatic Colors
A monochromatic color scheme uses different shades, tones and tints of one color. This creates a cohesive, sophisticated look. To use a monochromatic scheme with black, incorporate different gray tones. From dark gray to light silver gray, these shades complement black nicely. Other dark, desaturated colors that work well monochromatically with black include:
– Charcoal gray
– Dark blue
– Dark purple
– Dark green
Avoid pairing black with other extremely dark shades like brown or navy blue. This creates too much darkness without enough contrast. But use dark gray tones and deep shades of color for gorgeously rich, monochromatic palettes.
Choose Primary Accent Colors
Most designers recommend picking one or two main accent colors to use with black. This creates a simple, clean color scheme. Some classic color pairings that work well with black include:
|Bold, fiery, urgent
|Energetic, friendly, welcoming
|Upbeat, bright, fresh
|Balanced, natural, organic
|Professional, stable, credible
|Luxurious, wise, mystical
Use these colors in call-to-action buttons, headlines, borders, logos, icons and other key elements. Having one or two accent colors creates visual interest while still keeping the scheme clean and easy to process.
Use Grays for Backgrounds
When using a brightly colored accent scheme with black, stick to neutral gray tones for backgrounds. This prevents loud or distracting backgrounds. Light grays create a soft, professional backdrop that lets the color accents pop without overwhelming the design. Dark gray gradients can make cool backgrounds as well.
Add Pops of Color
As another option, use black as the dominant color with pops of bright accent colors throughout. For example, have a black website with yellow call-to-action buttons, blue headlines and white text. This makes the bright colors feel energetic and fun against the neutral black background. Just be sure to use the accent colors consistently to tie everything together.
Pair Black with Analogous Colors
An analogous color scheme uses hues that sit next to each other on the color wheel, creating a cohesive, harmonious look. Analogous colors that work great with black include:
|Black, gray, navy blue
|Bold, serious, elegant
|Black, plum, purple
|Mystical, luxurious, dramatic
|Black, burgundy, brick red
|Sophisticated, intense, powerful
|Black, charcoal, dark green
|Edgy, masculine, stable
Keep analogous schemes clean and subtle by varying the tones and shades used. Don’t have competing bright shades.
Use Split Complementary Colors
This scheme uses one color, plus the two hues on either side of its complementary color. This creates nice contrast and visual interest. Some great split complementary combinations with black include:
|Black, orange, light blue
|Friendly, energetic, upbeat
|Black, red, light green
|Powerful, edgy, nature
|Black, purple, yellow
|Mystical, elegant, bright
|Black, pink, teal
|Playful, feminine, refreshing
This provides more color variety than a single complementary accent, while still looking coordinated.
Use Black as an Accent
Black doesn’t have to be the main color. It also works beautifully as an accent. Use small black elements like lines, borders, icons and text to add definition and emphasis to lighter color schemes. Gray, white, pastels, earth tones and bright colors all look great accented with black. It creates separation, enhances readability and feels modern.
Choose Contrasting Tones
With color combinations like black and yellow or black and bright blue, high contrast creates visual excitement. But for a more subtle palette, balance the contrasting hues with harmonizing mid tones. For example:
The mid tones bridge high contrast combinations, making them feel blended yet still vibrant.
Consider Industry and Meaning
Choose your black color pairings based on the impression you want to convey for your brand or website’s purpose. Certain colors may better suit formal finance industries while others are better for creative businesses. Associations also matter – purple conveys royalty, green feels earthy, blue is trusted. Make sure your colors communicate your brand story.
Use a Color Wheel
A color wheel tool helps visualize different color schemes. Rotate it to identify complementary, analogous, triadic and split complementary options. Online versions also let you see how two colors look together. This helps pick winning color palettes.
While black goes with everything, aim for simplicity. Stick to one or two accent colors for consistent branding. At most, limit palettes to three or four colors. Too many competing colors look uncoordinated and overwhelming next to black. Prioritize colors for key elements like headers and call-to-action buttons. Use extra colors sparingly for details.
Watch Contrast Ratios
For text legibility and accessibility, ensure there is sufficient contrast between text and background colors. Black text on a white background provides the highest contrast. Dark gray on light gray can be hard to read. Refer to WCAG contrast ratio guidelines to test combinations. Avoid color pairings that strain the eyes.
Test with Mockups
Once you’ve narrowed down color combinations, test them with homepage mockups. Seeing swatches next to black is different than realistic website designs. Create mockup designs to view color schemes in action. Tweak hues and evaluate the visual experience. Testing helps finalize an aesthetically pleasing, readable palette.
Black is a versatile base color that looks modern and sleek on websites. Pair black with light, high contrast accent colors for visual pop. Use shades of gray and deep analogous hues for sophisticated monochromatic schemes. Limit to one or two primary accents for clean simplicity. Add Touches of color for vibrancy against black backgrounds. Consider branding and meaning when selecting palette combinations. Use a color wheel and mockups to help curate the perfect black color scheme. With the right accents, black elegantly accentuates website designs.