It seems these days that many designers automatically settle on the main color in their website’s palette automatically: white. Every other color is just an accent to that. Today, we look at 40 websites that used a bolder color to base their design on — in this case, blue.

It’s harder to pull off a web design that is based on a bold color — the relative safety of a plain old white background is easy to work with. These designers have made it work, though, and this means they can design sites that deliver greater branding benefits using the psychology of color. Check out how they did it.

Critical Zero

Obama 2012

Resume Baking

Foundation Six

Souljade

Yodaa

Carbonmade

The Pixel

Morphix

Vegas Uncork’d

Skype

Twitter Basics

Owltastic

Postbox

Campaign Monitor

Quiip

Elbow Park

Orion Advisor

Bartelme Design

Icebrrg

Birdie

Alex Swanson

Marie Catrib’s

Omaha Barcamp

Kyan

LeaderBe Consulting

Yowza

Ready Made Designs

Knight

Nude Designs

Delibar

Elemodo

Onavo

Jar Design

PSD2HTML

DesignCrowd

DesignCrowd Crowdsourcing

nclud

Shelly Cooper

Vimeo

Los Colores Olvidados

Why blue? It’s a bold color but one that’s psychologically fairly neutral and uncontroversial for a business to use — a safe choice. That’s not to say it doesn’t mean anything. Blue is considered a calming color that represents focus, attention, and is both uplifting and motivating. These are all traits that most businesses don’t mind being associated with. While not many businesses will simply say “I need a blue web design” they’ll often request it in their brief or have it as part of their logo. Color psychology does suggest that overuse of blue can come off as sterile and detached, so don’t forget to mix it up a little with other colors that are friendly and pair well.