A Quick Guide to Magnificent Color in Design

A Quick Guide to Magnificent Color in Design

41699821 - ink in water isolated on white background. rainbow of colorsEvery graphic designer knows that color is so much more than just…color. The three simple primary colors red, blue, and yellow lay the foundation for an infinite number of colors to be created. All of those colors are at the disposal of brilliant graphic designers who know exactly how to boost a company’s brand with the subtle messages that strategic colors can deliver.

The Link Between Color and Emotions

It is scientifically proven that while printed words activate the left brain where logic occurs, color and other visual elements stimulate the more emotional right side of the brain. When typography and color are properly melded together, readers and audience members are more likely to pay attention and remember what they see. Since so much of the business world actually stems from emotions like joy and fear, the best graphic design will harness color to draw in more customers.

An Introduction to Color

The three primary colors, red, blue, and yellow, combine to create the three primary colors, orange, purple, and green. When the primary and secondary colors are mixed and matches, six tertiary colors emerge. All 12 of these colors has a temperature ranging from warm to cool, as well as an intensity, called saturation, that is based on how much gray a color contains. Each color also has a value that is determined by its darkness or lightness.

Basic Color Wheel Rules

The 12 colors on the color wheel can be mixed and matched in countless ways. Most colors look attractive when combined with similar shades in various intensities, but colors also are drawn to the hues close to them, like yellow, green, and orange. Opposites also attract, of course, which is why warm and cool colors can complement each other.

Combination Tactics

Graphic designers never place colors together at random. Each selection is carefully determined based upon how colors interact with one another and the larger image that they create. For example, a large square and narrow line of the same color will appear to have different values against a white background, and two shades of the same color will appear darker and lighter when paired with each other. Another crucial rule of thumb is that outlining a color in a darker shade will create the feeling of enclosure, while outlining that same color in a lighter hue will make the shape look like it is spreading out.

When these strategies are combined with knowledge of color psychology, like the fact that red is aggressive and provoking while blue is dependable and committed, color can often say more than words!


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