Use Color to Improve Your Design
People are physically, psychologically, and socially influenced by color a lot. Color communicates meaning and so we need to be conscious of what meaning we’re conveying when we choose to use one color over another. It’s not enough for a designer to use a color simply because he or she likes that color but also to convey the right meaning of the design that we are making. Use Color to improve your design and to reflect your persona in your designs.
Meaning of Colors
It’s not that colors themselves have specific meaning, but rather that we have culturally assigned meanings to them. While some color symbolism exists globally (red as the color of a stop sign, yellow for caution), color symbolism tends to be more common within a given culture than across different cultures (white is used for weddings in Western cultures and for funerals in Eastern cultures).
The above explanation simply means that you understand who your target audience is and how your audience attaches meaning to color while you use color to improve your design.
Let us discuss some specifics about the colors:
Warm colors basically are red, orange and yellow etc. These are the colors of fire. They radiate warmth. Warm colors are more often associated with passion, energy, impulsiveness, happiness, coziness, and comfort. They draw attention and have the advantage of being inviting and harmonious.
Cool colors are taken as green, blue, and violet. These are the colors of water. Cool colors are more often associated with calm, trust, and professionalism. They are also associated with sadness and melancholy.
Now let us discuss each color one by one to get the perfect idea of the color theory:
It is the color of fire and blood. It’s emotionally intense and is associated with energy, war, danger, strength, power, determination, action, confidence, courage, vitality, passion, desire, and love. It can enhance metabolism, increase respiration, and raise blood pressure. Red has a high visibility and advances to the foreground.
Usage: It is often used for buttons in order to get people to take impulsive action.
It is the color of the sun. Bright yellow attracts attention; is associated with joy, happiness, wisdom, and intellectual energy. It stimulates mental activity and generates muscle energy. Yellow produces a warming effect, arouses cheerfulness and is often used to evoke pleasant feelings.
Blue is the color of the sky and the sea and has an opposite effect of red. It slows metabolism, breathing, and heart rate. Blue is associated with trust, loyalty, wisdom, intelligence, expertise, confidence, stability and depth. It creates a calming effect, suppresses appetite and has been considered to be beneficial to both body and mind.
Usage: Blue is often used for corporate sites.
The color combines the energy or red with the happiness of yellow. Orange symbolizes joy, the sunshine, the tropics, enthusiasm, happiness, fascination, creativity, determination, attraction, success, encouragement, stimulation, and strength.
Green is the absolute color of nature. It symbolizes growth, hope, freshness, and fertility. Green symbolizes healing, stability, endurance, harmony, safety, life, and well-being.
Usage: Often used to indicate the safety of drugs and medical products in advertising.
Purple combines the stability of blue and the energy of red. It conveys wealth and lavishness and is seen as the color or royalty. It signifies power, nobility, luxury, and ambition. Purple is associated with wisdom, dignity, independence, creativity, mystery, and magic. Light purple is seen as feminine and purple is a popular color with children.
This color is associated with light, goodness, innocence, purity, virginity. It usually has positive connotations and is seen as clean and safe.
Usage: White Space is a prominent feature in design
Black is related with power, elegance, formality, death, evil, and mystery. It denotes strength and authority, is seen as formal and elegant, and brings forth feelings of fear and the unknown.
Visual Effect of Color
Use color to improve your design like a small amount of color that contrasts with your primary color that will draw attention. Repeating colors on elements like page headings gives an immediate visual signal that those headings are related to each other.
Warmer colors move forward into the foreground while cooler colors go back into the background. Your choice of warm and cool colors can affect the ground relationship of your elements.
Usage: As cooler colors go back you may decide to use them for background elements and because warmed colors advance they make a good choice for elements in the foreground.
Darker colors tend to be seen first and carry more visual weight. A larger area of a lighter color is necessary to balance the visual weight.
How to Choose a Color Scheme
Understanding the meaning behind colors is one thing while choosing a color scheme is another. Let us have a look on some of the color schemes:
Monochromatic color scheme
Monochromatic color schemes look clean and elegant and are effective at establishing an overall mood. They produce a calming effect and are very easy on the eyes. This is especially true when using blue and green.
Monochromatic color schemes tend to be very united and tuneful. The disadvantage is that they can become monotonous due to the lack of hues. To oppose repetitiveness in design, mix monochromatic tones with pure white or pure black.
Complimentary color scheme
Complementary color schemes look best when a warm color is used against a cool color. This creates an essentially high level of contrast and creates a dramatic look. Complimentary colors strengthen each other and are extremely eye-catching.
The disadvantage is they can be too vibrant and loud and can actually cause the colors to appear to vibrate. Contrasting colors are typically bad for text. This is especially true at full saturation so be sure to use different tones of contrasting colors to lessen these negative effects.
Analogous color scheme
Analogous color schemes are similar to monochromatic color schemes but they offer more gradations as they draw from a wider band on the color wheel. They are often found in nature, are sweet and pleasing to the eye, and can be very versatile. You typically want to choose one color to dominate (the middle color), a second to support the main color, and a third color for accents. Use Color to improve your design this way.
Triadic color scheme
Triadic color schemes offer a strong visual contrast while still retaining harmony and a richness of color. They aren’t as noisy as complimentary colors. They can be vibrant even when the colors are unsaturated and they have stability because each color in the triad balances the other two. There is a simple relationship between the colors which can be dynamic though also garish if not done well. Use Color to improve your design for better results.
Split complimentary color scheme
Split Complementary color schemes offer high contrast without the strong tension of complementary color schemes. While it can be hard to complement the colors in a split complementary scheme they often make a good choice for beginners as they are difficult to mess up.
Tetradic color scheme
Tetradic color schemes can be hard to correspond and may look unbalanced. Tetradic colors make for a rich color scheme with lots of variation. They are even more varied than split complementary color schemes, though that also makes them less vibrant.
Also make sure to add neutral (black, white, gray) and accented neutral (tones of brown) colors to your scheme. Blacks and whites will be cooler. Browns will come across as warmer and grays will be either warm or cool depending on the surrounding colors.
This is the total use of various color by which one can get desired results from creating a great design. Correct use of colors creates the best on the audience it is subjected to while maintaining the integrity of the graphic design. Hope this article was of help. Happy designing!