Types of color schemes and how they affect your email design

The color wheel can be a daunting place for some designers. Sometimes it can be tricky choosing the perfect colors for your email design. We’ve mentioned the importance of an effective color scheme in the past, but there’s actually an interesting science behind how it all works.

Research shows that it just 0.05 seconds for a web page to make an impression on the average person; whether this is a good impression or a bad impression is up to you. The visual appearance of your email is crucial in determining how readers will respond to your campaign. One of the first things they will see? Color. Here’s how you can use color schemes effectively in your email designs…

We’ve carried out some research of our own using this useful color scheme guide from Chromaflo. Here are some examples of color schemes and how you can use them in your designs.

Monochromatic color schemes

In a monochromatic color scheme, only one main color is used. A monochromatic design is made up of the different shades of just one main color. This creates a polished effect and is particularly effective if it highlights something within your email design and creates a clear theme. Try this out for colors which are seasonal (e.g. red at Christmas or orange at Halloween) or for targeted product promotion. This example from Morphe is highly effective. Not only does the hot pink stand out to readers, it also does a great job of promoting their lipgloss of the same color. Pink also evokes feelings of excitement and passion which is exactly what this campaign promotes.

Complementary color schemes

Complementary color schemes are made up of colors which are directly opposite each other in the color wheel. These colors create a strong contrast, but, when pulled off correctly, can also look great. Some complementary pairing examples are red and blue, yellow and purple, and pink and green. If you choose the correct shades, you will end up with a unique and stylish email design. This kind of color scheme is particularly effective for otherwise minimalistic designs, in order to add something eye-catching. This design from Cotton On utilises a complementary color scheme by clashing red and teal together to create an interesting effect for their sale advertisement.

Achromatic color schemes

For a particularly sleek and serious design, you should consider using an achromatic color scheme. This refers to color schemes made up of shades of black and white. Although there are no vibrant colors present here, it does not mean the design has to be boring. In fact, black and white can appear highly fashionable and unique which is good for engaging your readers. In terms of branding, this is also a great option for those of you who need to maintain a professional look in your emails. Hudson Jeans are looking chic as ever in this achromatic welcome email. This design does a great job of introducing subscribers to the fashionable nature of the brand and remaining interesting at the same time.

Analagous color schemes

The colors making up an analagous color scheme all belong to the same color family. This entails one main color and then the two colors either side of it on the color wheel. For example, red paired with deep orange and hot pink or blue paired with indigo and turquoise. The effect usually created here is a subtly blended mix of colors which still remain bright and interesting in your design. This is a great color scheme to try out on a more standard design like a transactional email, where you don’t want to be too experimental. This is also one of the most common types of color schemes for email designs. This brand have created a soft, yet effective color scheme for this design. The red paired with pink and orange is a nice way to incorporate color without going overboard.

We hope you take these color schemes into consideration for your next email campaign. Together with an understanding of seasonal trends and the emotional effect of colors, this is a great way to make sure your email design is effective as possible.

Until next time!

Your Mail Designer 365 Team