How Many Colors Should You Use in Your Blog Design?

By Melissa Culbertson

You don’t just need to choose colors for your blog design: You also need to consider how many colors and how much of each color will appear in your design. You really don’t have to abide by any set rule for this, but the following guidelines offer a good starting point:

  • Start with three colors. White and black typically don’t count toward your three-color palette. The three colors are the splashes of color that call attention to different parts of your blog to add visual appeal. Again, three isn’t a rule but a nice starting point. Many blogs use five or six colors, and some use just one or two.

    If you decide to add colors beyond your initial three, combining them effectively becomes trickier. To use more color while still maintaining coherence among the colors in your design, try using tints, shades, and tones from one color.

  • Apply colors using the 60-30-10 rule to create a harmonious design. The 60-30-10 rule stems from interior design but is often used by web designers to create a nice balance of color. Typically, the 60-30-10 rule means:

    • A primary color covers 60 percent of your design.

    • A secondary color covers 30 percent.

    • An accent color finishes the remaining 10 percent of your design.

    You don’t have to follow the 60-30-10 rule exactly. In fact, many bloggers modify this rule a bit, because their blog’s purpose is showcasing photography. (Food bloggers, travel bloggers, and of course photography bloggers all come to mind.)

    On these blogs, the design is mostly white so that photos stand out and “design” colors don’t interfere with how the color photos are perceived. If your blog uses lots of photos or you simply want a white, airy design, you can still maintain the 60-30-10 proportions among the colored elements.

    A great example is the blog Oh My Veggies. Kiersten’s blog uses a colorful palette of yellow, green, and orange without detracting from her mouth-watering food photos. The blog design still gives off a vibrant feel without being too heavy with color. Moreover, notice how the blog uses the three colors in different proportions, using mostly yellow, then green, and then just a few splashes of orange.

    The upshot: Vary the degree to which you use each color in your design. You don’t want all the colors to have equal weight.

    [Credit: © Oh My Veggies, Design by Shay Bocks]

    Credit: © Oh My Veggies, Design by Shay Bocks