Color Combinations for Social Media

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Color Trends and Combos in SMM

5 Color Combinations That Work Like Magic in Social Media

Learn how to combine complementary colors and design color schemes that make your social media posts perform well.

December 29, 2021
4 minutes


Ever thought how you can make your social media posts catchier and get them to gather more attention? With the help of the right colors! Learn how to use color theory in your social media graphic design.

It takes a lot of creativity and inspiration to create something aesthetically appealing, yet it’s not as subjective as we’re frequently made to believe.

While everyone’s tastes differ, human vision is wired to detect and respect harmony, whether it’s in the form of music or the patterns and colors that surround us. Colors in social media are no exception.

The first and most difficult challenge in being noticed on social media is to keep your audience from scrolling.

It only takes a blink of an eye for your audience to lose interest in what they’re seeing, so there’s no time for clever language or other, more subtle design aspects to catch the eye.

This is why it is a good idea to use more basic building elements in your design, such as unique colors and innovative color combinations.

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How does color psychology work?

When picking colors for your social media marketing design, you need to consider a couple of things. First and foremost, it’s crucial to know the meaning of the basic colors you will be using, and knowing how to combine them to create a combination that is aesthetically pleasing and works well to reach the effect you need.

You also need to keep in mind that you have brand colors, and your posts need to include at least one color that your brand regularly uses, for consistency and brand awareness. Social media colors are often picked according to popularity, but completely abandoning your brand guidelines can be hurtful in the long run.

A good way to start picking colors is to look at the color wheel.

The color wheel is made out of primary colors, their combinations (secondary colors) and hues (tertiary colors) that are created by combining them.

When two colors on the wheel are opposite each other, we call them complementary colors. This implies that when they’re mixed together, they generate grey (or a lack of color) by canceling each other out. When put against one another, they generate the biggest contrast possible. Color combinations that are complementary colors are red/green, blue/yellow or black/white.


So, much like in interior design, in SMM, the right idea is to combine opposite colors that create a particular effect in the viewer and balance it off with an opposite hue so the design isn’t oversaturated. If you were to use the blue color as the focal point of your design, you’d combine it with an off-white, or muted yellow for the best effect. If you use a lot of green, red typography would be very well noticeable. You get the idea.

Now, onto 5 of our recommended color combos that would look great on your Instagram or Facebook marketing efforts.

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Neutral backgrounds and bright colors

If you want to make a bold statement stand out, you can use vibrant colors and create harsh contrasts by placing them against a neutral, unremarkable background.

The lack of bright colors can also make a statement, and help viewers focus on the centerpiece: the main marketing message.


In this example created by ManyPixels for a client, you see three bright and noticeable colors, placed on a rather generous white space. This way, the design isn’t tacky or overdone, but everything important is still noticeable.

Black and white (and a bit of warm)

A similar idea as the previous example, but yet a classier concept. The combination of black and white is the perfect marriage of opposites, and by mixing the two colors as a background, and adding a warm-colored text on top, you can direct the viewer’s eye towards the typography better.

In this example created for one of our clients, you see custom B&W illustrations and partly red typography. Simple, yet catchy.


Muted pastels

A pastel color palette that screams Instagram, and we all know it well. Still, the lack of intrusion and the balance of muted pastels makes every design pleasing and perfect for a younger audience.

In this series of ads, you can see pastel pink and green, combined with black and white illustration, that produces a gentle and feminine look of the visuals.


Neon on dark

Much like walking in a dark room with a neon sign, using a black or other dark color as a background, and highlighting the illustrations or typography with a buzzing neon color can make any design catchy.


Primary colors combined

Finally, another successful look for social media is a combination of multiple opposite colors against a neutral background.

Primary colors consist of all hues, and are also popular in marketing and advertising for decades, so our eyes are trained to notice them immediately. So, by using yellow, blue and red, you can successfully produce this effect.


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Stefanija Tenekedjieva

December 29, 2021

Journalist turned content writer. Based in North Macedonia, aiming to be a digital nomad. Always loved to write, and found my perfect job writing about graphic design, art and creativity. A self-proclaimed film connoisseur, cook and nerd in disguise.