There’s no doubt that color is an important part of graphic design. It can be used to evoke emotions, create a mood, and help convey a message. But how do you use color effectively? This guide will teach you the basics of using color in graphic design.
We’ll discuss the meanings of different colors, how to choose the right colors for your project, and ways to combine colors harmoniously. So whether you’re just starting out in graphic design or you’re looking to expand your knowledge of color theory, this guide is for you!
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Color is an important element when it comes to graphic design.
The use of color in a design can help convey a message or evoke emotions. For example, the American flag’s colors red, white and blue are easily associated with patriotism and the country itself. However, when used improperly, color can make mistakes for a designer. In this article we’ll teach you how to choose the right colors for your project, and how to use them effectively.
The color wheel is the simplest way to learn about colors. You can divide it into three main categories called Primary Colors, Secondary Colors, and Tertiary Colors. It’s also helpful to know that colors adjacent to one another on the wheel are considered analogous, whereas complementary colors are directly across from each other on the wheel.
There are many variations of the color wheel that provide a better understanding of how colors relate to one another, but when starting out it’s best to keep things simple with this basic version:
Primary Colors: Red, yellow, and blue (or purple)
Secondary Colors: Orange, green and violet (or purple)
Tertiary Colors: The six colors that are made by mixing the primary and secondary colors (orange + yellow = yellow-orange; red + orange = red-orange; red + violet = red-violet; blue + violet = blue-violet, etc.)
Complementary colors are directly opposite one another on the color wheel. Some examples of complementary colors are red and green, violet and yellow, blue and orange.
Analogous Colors are colors that are next to each other on the color wheel. If you start with one color in particular, its analogous colors will be in the same section of the wheel (i.e. yellow is in yellow-orange and yellow-green)
A triadic color scheme is when you divide the color wheel into thirds and use three colors that are equally distant from each other (i.e. red, yellow and blue; orange, green, and violet; or red-violet, yellow-orange and blue-green)
Use triadic color schemes when you want to create a more complex palette with rich color relationships.
Monochromatic color schemes are any scheme that uses different shades, tones, and tints of a single color. This type of scheme is created by using different values or intensities of one particular hue.
This type of color scheme is great for beginners because it’s fairly simple to create and requires few colors to achieve an effective result.
Tips for using color in design:
Use color to create a mood or atmosphere. Is your design going to be used for the holidays? Bright, vibrant colors tend to get associated with fun and cheerfulness whereas rich, dark colors can appear elegant and serious.
Choose complementary colors when designing projects that need to stand out. For instance, you could use orange and blue together for a flyer about recycling.
Remember that some people are red-green color blind. If you’re designing a poster, consider using shapes instead of relying on color alone to convey your message.
Make sure to use enough contrast between different colors so they’re easily readable.
Consider how the color will appear when it is printed, on a computer monitor, or in person.
Keep your logo colors consistent with your brand. A great way to do this is to create a color palette that includes your main colors along with some extras for accents.
Don’t overuse one color – make sure there’s plenty of contrast throughout the design.
To use color effectively you must learn to balance contrast with harmony. Contrasting elements in a design create visual interest, while too much contrast can be distracting. Color harmony is achieved when different colors are combined in a way that creates visual cohesion and unity.
Avoid using too many similar shades of one color because it can be hard to read text and distinguish shapes.
Swatch Library is a great place to find color inspiration. Here you’ll be able to explore thousands of different colors and download free swatches straight from the Adobe library.
When you’re looking for color resources, don’t forget about your trusted friends at Adobe & Creative Cloud! There are plenty of ways to get help when it comes to choosing the right colors for your projects, whether it’s with Adobe Color CC, Adobe Kuler, or Illustrator.
This guide should have given you a good idea of how to use color in your graphic design work. If you want more information on the subject, check out our other posts about colors and their meanings or read up on some relevant books from Amazon. We hope today’s blog post has been helpful!