How to correctly implement a color scheme

Let me begin this question by saying outright that I don’t consider myself a designer! I’m a developer and my strengths do not lie in design but I am in a situation at the moment where I need to design a site and I have a number of different possible color schemes that I’d like to try out.

I’ve tried this before but ran into a number of problems – namely which color to put where!

So for example I’ve picked out this scheme as one of my possible color schemes but how do I know which color should go where? For someone who is seasoned in doing so it may be obvious but is there a formula or method that can be followed in implementing a color scheme?

EDIT: Also, once I’ve chosen my color scheme which usually seems to consist of 5 colors – can I, or am I expected to, implement different shades of those colors if required? Or does this decrease the integrity of the scheme?

It’s issues like this that leave me confused about color scheme implementation.


Make sure you keep your colours in some sort of order, keeping colours in pairs, or just using certain colours for similar elements will make it look more uniform. This way, having certain colours in association with each other will keep things consistent and looking professional.

For example you may group a contrasting colour with another, and then two similar colours together. Just make sure you don’t clash pairs.

Note colour relationships on the right here:

Color Theory Guide
Source: Click image for full size

When it comes to shades, a lighter shade or darker shade can be used without damaging its overall scheme, just make sure it is a tint or shade (light or dark added to the colour), avoiding changing the saturation or tone (greyness). When it comes to including these different tints, always keep a dominant, ie ‘bigger’ part of what you’re colouring, unless using a gradient.

I love the colour scheme you picked by the way

Source : Link , Question Author : garethdn , Answer Author : JohnB

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