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Choosing the right colors for your design

Posted by on November 12, 2012


As important as the subject and the flow of the design may be, the wrong color combinations can cause the design to be less effective than desired.

All colors have the ability to impact the senses, so it is very important to select the correct color for the project.  Three primary colors make up the color wheel and all other colors are created from those primary colors. When designing a logo or planning a remodeling project, colors need to work together in order to create a pleasing visual experience. Colors are responsible for evoking emotion from the viewer. When combined with the overall design, the reaction can be one of comfort or contentment to jarring attention.

By understanding what colors represent, a designer is able to translate that into powerful feelings from their design.

Reds are dynamic, strong and can be considered angry when used in a design. Red is for grabbing attention and engaging the viewer. Reds can be used to signal danger, such as what is seen in a stop sign, or they can be as attention grabbing as a Coke can. Red requires the viewer to act. They need to stop the car or pick up the can of Coke.

Reds can be used in designs that have many sharp angles or bold strokes of outlined black. Reds are hot and send a warning.

Yellow is bright and hot, like the sun and bring warmth to a design. Like red, yellow engages the viewer and used to signal danger by declaring one should pay attention. Designs that are created to bring the viewer to attention use yellow. A warning street sign will be yellow because it is visible.

Yellows are perfect for designs and areas of the home that need brightened up like a kitchen or a dark hallway. Yellows are bold and should be used in designs that are required to be demanding. Yellow can be used with rounded edges or sharp angles.

While reds and yellows are hot and warm colors, blue is calm cool and collected. Blue brings peace to a design and is well suited for designs that are softer and required to be easier on the eyes. A logo that is a cool blue is authoritative and is commonly used in the logos of financial institutes to convey trust and solidity.  Blue does not evoke a strong emotion; it calms the senses because it is not a hot color.

These three colors are powerful and can be overwhelming in a design if they are the sole color or used adjacent to one another. There are times for a primary color design, but a Denver Graphic Design studio will use these colors in combination with each other to create secondary colors that are better suited for the design’s purpose.

The key to using the right color for the design is to know what the design is supposed to do for the viewer. Once the purpose of the design is understood, the color choices will be obvious.

Shane Burke,

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