Applying Color Theory to Blog Design

Here you are. After months or maybe even years of thinking about it, you’ve finally decided to launch your own blog and you’re ready to start making some serious cash online. That’s a big and important first step. You may have already picked out your domain name and you may have already selected your web hosting provider. Now, you’re ready to work on your blog’s design.

Many beginning bloggers are tempted to simply use a default theme, like the one that comes packaged with WordPress, because they assume that their content will speak for itself. Don’t get me wrong; you will still want to have quality content that your visitors actually want to read. When you use the plain Jane default theme, though, you’re going to come off as generic and unprofessional. You don’t want that.

Ideally, you want to order a completely custom design for your blog like how I have on Beyond the Rhetoric and how John has here on John Chow dot Com. Barring that, the very least you can do is take a theme template’s framework and alter it to truly make it your own. And one of the first decisions you’ll need to make is the color scheme. The thing is that the color isn’t just about looking good; your choice of color can have a direct impact on how your blog is perceived even before the first word is read. So, what colors should you use?

We should first note that your blog’s color scheme should stay reasonably simple. If you throw too many colors out there, it’ll just look muddled, confused and overwhelmed. That aside, let’s look at some standard color theory.


Blue is associated with stability, confidence, trust and wisdom. That’s part of the reason why it’s the primary color used here on John Chow dot Com. People come here because they want the trusted advice of a successful online entrepreneur. This is partly why so many corporations use blue as their primary color too: they want to be perceived as stable, honest, and confident.

Yellow is associated with fun, happiness and energy. Think of the typical yellow smiley face emoji. If the point of your blog is more about something that is fun, vibrant and youthful, then yellow could be a good choice. That’s why many children’s sites use yellow. Yellow, like the highlighter, is also a huge attention getter.


Green can be associated with the great outdoors and nature, making it a good fit for nature blogs or those focus on natural healing practices. The reason why it’s used on a site like TripAdvisor is that many major tourist destinations are in sunny, happy, natural settings. You’ll notice that tropical destinations are oftentimes featured on travel sites. City dwellers want to get out there.

Purple is the color of royalty, being associated with nobility and luxury. You see it with Crown Royal whisky, for example. It is the color of the elite, for people who have money, power or both. If your blog is geared toward high society, some purple highlights may serve you well.


Red is the color of passion, desire and power. It’s meant to elicit a powerful response in people and this response could be positive or negative. There’s an inherent sexuality about it, which is also why it can be associated with the sensuality of food with websites like Zomato. Netflix uses red, because the streaming service was and is a game-changer. They want people to care and get excited.

Black and white may not sound like the most exciting colors, but they could be quite powerful. White can be equated to purity and goodness, being used heavily by spirituality blogs and wellness sites. By contrast, black can be associated with death, authority or formality. Black and white together can denote tradition, as would be the case with a traditional newspaper.

Of course, none of these color theory “rules” are absolutely definitive. They are simply guidelines you should keep in mind when designing your blog. A food blog that uses too much white and blue could end up being counterproductive, just as a political blog with pink and yellow likely won’t be taken seriously.

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