Well, hey there. Today, in this podcast, I’ll be sharing with you my favorite color schemes for church websites. Now, the key to getting color right is first understanding the role of color in overall web design. I like to think of it similar to a car. I have a neighbor, lives to the left of my house, and they drive a white Tesla Model 3. I have another neighbor to the right of my house, they’re a few homes down, and in the summer when it’s nice out, they drive their candy apple red Lamborghini.
With both of these vehicles, it’s not the color that makes the car, but what the color can do is elevate the overall look of the vehicle. Very similar to a fresh paint job in the room of a house, it can elevate the room. But, and this is very important, color cannot cover up for what’s missing.
If your church’s website doesn’t have a solid foundation, if it’s not functionally sound, no amount of color can make up for that. Again, similar to cars. If you’re angling for a particularly ambitious or dramatic color scheme on your website, you need to be especially certain that your layout and structure is locked in. Otherwise, that “look at me” color palette can actually work against you and make things even worse. Think about how many times you’ve seen a vehicle with a crazy paint color and thought to yourself, “Really, that’s what they went with?” That’s what we want to avoid.
Of course, when your website’s layout is on point and the structural foundation is strong, a color scheme can elevate your online platform and make that experience for visitors delightful. Let’s talk about a few churches that are doing just that.
The first is lifeabundant.info. This is a church of about a hundred people in rural Canada. I think that this is the perfect example of a church website using a monochromatic color scheme. This is where you take a single color and use that as the only color across your website paired with different shades of black, white, and gray.
In the case of Life Abundant, they’re using a cyan green meets turquoise, meets seafoam color, and they’ve paired it with a light gray background canvas across the site. It’s soothing, it’s inviting, but it’s also bright and energetic. Truly, one of the best things about a monochromatic color scheme is that it’s easy to pull off because you don’t need to worry about pairing or matching different colors, you just choose one, and you go with it.
Another thing Life Abundant has done an excellent job with here is embracing minimalism with their design elements to allow their monochromatic color scheme to really stand out. There isn’t a lot of text on the homepage. In fact, if you don’t include the footer, the homepage only has a total of 17 words on it, which is the equivalent to about one average sentence. When viewed on a desktop, you can also notice that the navigation menu of this website is collapsed inside of a hamburger icon to the top right.
If you want to see the nav, you actually have to click on that icon to reveal it. Otherwise, it stays hidden. This is typical of mobile web design because it saves space, and on a small screen like a phone, it helps to ensure that your view isn’t cluttered or obstructed in any way by the nav. Here, Life Abundant is using that same take on their desktop design also, and this is purposeful minimalism, allowing the cyan color in their monochromatic color scheme to shine through even more, and the color on this website, it’s taking center stage. That’s a great example of a monochromatic color scheme on a light gray canvas, aka, light mode. What about dark mode?
Now, this may not be something you’re used to seeing in web design, but as we see light and dark mode become the norm with our applications and UI, that design trend, I expect to carry over to web design also. One church embracing that right now is Calvary Longview. Their website is cclongview.com. On Calvary site, they’re going with a kind of muted lime green color as their single color of choice. This really pops on a dark gray canvas. Just like Life Abundant, Calvary is using our Nucleus Website Builder, which is a website builder specifically made for churches and comes with this light mode, dark mode feature that you can actually just toggle on and off in the settings. You can even choose a custom color for your background canvas if you desire.
Now, with Calvary’s homepage, unlike Life Abundant, there is considerably more text and navigation. Calvary has opted to use a sticky floating nav menu that remains at the top of the page even as you scroll on desktop, which is great for making navigation easy for your visitors at all times no matter where they may be on your site. And then, when it comes to text, Calvary has almost three times as many words on their homepage compared to Life Abundant.
These types of things matter because when you introduce more text and more nav into your web design, you take some of the emphasis off of color and transfer the emphasis to these other design elements, which isn’t a bad thing at all. Hear me on this, not a bad thing, it’s just a design choice that I want you to be aware of, especially because the more design elements you introduce to a website, the higher the likelihood that we entered the dreaded design territory of, “Busy,” and nobody wants a busy looking website. We want simple, we want familiar, clean, but not busy.
Let’s transition now. So far, we’ve talked about color scheme examples that pair light mode and dark mode with a single color choice. What happens when we turn the dial up on color like crazy? How would that look? Could that even work?
To illustrate that, we’re going to go to hopechurch.xyz. That’s the domain name, and this is not a real church. This is a demo site that we made at Nucleus as we were exploring different experimental color schemes, seeing how far we could push it. I really liked how this one turned out. On the homepage alone, there are 12 different colors being used, and we’ve opted for a super dark, dark mode canvas, just a touch off of pure black.
One thing I really love about this homepage design is how when you visit the domain on a desktop, you’ll see the Above the Fold section has a big black and white background photo of the seating area in a sanctuary, and there’s a gradient effect on this photo. As you get closer to the bottom of the image, it gets darker and darker until it gradually fades into the dark mode background of the site.
So you’ve got a seamless transition from photo to background color, which I think is a really nice touch. It looks very elegant. Even cooler though, that photo along with every photo on this website, hopechurch.xyz, was taken on an iPhone, an iPhone 7 Plus, in fact. When it comes to web design, in my opinion, the photography on your church’s website is even more important than the colors.
There’s a link in the show notes to a complete guide that I’ve written on how to upgrade the photography on your website using just your phone. What’s amazing is that when you pair photos with color like we’ve done at hopechurch.xyz, you can really accomplish some great stuff even with minimal gear, minimal photography experience, which is awesome.
Getting back to the color on this website, yes, there is a lot. Maybe it doesn’t make sense for you to have 12 different colors on your website’s homepage, but the reason I wanted to talk about this design was to illustrate how far you can push color with brightness, and saturation, and variety when you have a functionally sound layout.
Finally, let’s talk about a website using a color palette. We’re not going to go as far as the 12 colors in the previous example, but we also won’t go with just one color, but a series of colors that were from the same palette. The example we’ll be using is lifeabundant.ca, and this is another demo Nucleus site.
The difference here is that the colors on this website all feel like they’re from the same family, and that’s because we used a color palette generator to create these series of colors. This may be relevant to you if your church has a main brand color, but you want to mix in a number of different colors into your web design, but you don’t want to just include random colors, you want them to feel like they’re associated with the brand. Some resources that you can use for this to build out a color scheme include coolers.co, which is the word colors but there are two os at the beginning, so C-O-O-L-O-R-S.co, colorhunt.co, and Adobe Color which is linked at color.adobe.com. Each of this along with every resource mentioned in this podcast will be linked in the show notes.
If you are looking toward a website redesign, allow me to recommend Nucleus. This is our Church Website Builder found at nucleus.church. The foundation for every Nucleus website is a Card Based Layout. We love Card Based Web Design for a number of reasons. One of those reasons is color. Cards allow you to inject color into your web design in ways that are functional and aesthetically pleasing. So you’re not just adding color for the sake of it. In Card Based Web Design, color contributes to function and form. The other reason we love Card Based Web Design, the main reason in fact is how much it contributes to more Next Steps on your website.
Consider YouTube for a moment. If you go to the YouTube homepage or go to the Pro Church Tools Channel, or any other channel page on YouTube, you’ll see Card Based Design. Why does YouTube use this?
Well, because they know it’s effective. Effective at getting you and I to watch videos on the platform and take more action, because Card Based Design is conducive to taking Next Steps. That’s what we believe a church website should be, the central hub of your church where people are taking action and moving from passive spectators to active participants. This is what makes Nucleus unique among other website builders. The foundation is Next Steps, because we believe more Next Steps means more life change at your church. That’s what this is all about.
If you want to learn more about our central hub philosophy and how a website built on Next Steps can completely change the trajectory of your church, there’s a full guide on that link in the description below. Or, if you’re itching to start experimenting with your own color schemes and looks, I’d recommend you create a free Nucleus account and start playing around with it.
You’ll get a 30-day free trial with no credit card required, so you can start experimenting with different colors and how they looked paired with a Card Based Website. You can mix it up with dark mode and light mode, and find some combinations that you’re really excited about. Feel free to use the color schemes that we talked about in this podcast as the springboards for that discovery process. The link you want to go to, again, is nucleus.church. Start your free trial. All we’ll need from you is a name and an email, and that’s it. Thanks so much for listening. We’ll talk soon.