Colors: The Core of Every Design
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Colors: The Core of Every Design

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Colors are at the core of every design, whether for company branding, infographics, or PowerPoints and business plans. While your designs and text can include concrete information for the consumer, colors can spur emotion and add meaning beyond what is portrayed on the page. While each person’s perception is different, there are universal influences. Warm shades like red and orange can send joyful or hostile messages, while cool colors can lead to calmness and satisfaction.

Below is an infographic showcasing the meanings different colors can represent at a psychological level:

source: huffington post

Company Branding & Color Association

While working as a graphic designer for a company, you may be asked to help brand or rebrand a company’s visual identity. While creating a logo and website are important, it is crucial to first determine a color scheme. Colors can immediately create a certain image for the company through symbolism and link a psychological response when seen. For example, BP’s Helios logo is a green star, which was rebranded back in 2000, to signify the company’s newfound focus on sustainability and aim to create a more environmentally friendly image.

Communicating and working with your client to figure out the exact message and emotions they wish to convey is essential to creating a successful design. It may be beneficial to create at least 2-3 options to show clients so they can compare and contrast features. Later on, direct market research can be completed through a survey to customers with the completed design to see which branding evokes a more accurate feeling and response.

Color Tools

There are many tools online that can help you create a simple cohesive palette for your designs. The website MyColor allows the user to input a hex code and automatically generates a wide range of color palettes. Using an example of Starbucks’ classic green shade (#00704A), below are two examples of color schemes MyColor outputs.

This color calculator from Sessions College allows the user to input more than one color and provides color schemes based on color theory such as complementary, analogous, or triadic palettes.

While these tools are helpful, it is also important to have a general understanding of color theory when going into a design. Red, yellow, and blue make up the primary colors, while secondary colors are a mix of primary colors, and tertiary colors are the combination of primary and secondary colors. Each color consists of its hue, how it appears, chroma, if it has white, gray, or black added, and its lighting, how pale or saturated it is. The Interaction Design Foundation goes more in depth on this topic and there are many other great resources online.