Effective graphic designing relies on the mutual interaction of various elements to convey a message, or in other world, communication. Graphic designing revolves around using symbolism to express messages and understanding the meanings of different symbols.
Colors are one such symbol of communication in design. Colors play an influential role in affecting your mood, buying habits and consumer appetite. Designers and artists of all genres study color and its effects deeply and use its psychological impact to in artwork, advertising, clothing trends, interior decorating and graphic design color schemes.
Different elements of graphic designing i.e. composition, image, layout, color and font etc, can affect the way that a message is perceived by the viewers. People make very quick assumptions based on visual cues and these cues can be used to reinforce or alter the way that a written message is understood by those viewing it.
However, among these elements, color and typography remain to be the two most important elements in a design. When you harmoniously combine them into your design you tend to gain a quicker attention to the subject, reinforce impact and recognition, help in establishing powerful identities and brand and set a mood.
The Color Psychology
Perceptions of color are somewhat subjective to the given culture or nation, however, there are some colors that have universal meaning. In graphic designing, color symbolism is highly used to influence the target market and to achieve desirable goals.
Basically there are two types of colors in the color spectrum i.e. cool colors and warm colors. Colors in the red area of the color spectrum are known as “warm colors” and include red, orange and yellow. These warm colors evoke emotions ranging from feelings of warmth and comfort to feelings of anger and hostility. Colors on the blue side of the spectrum are known as “cool colors” and include blue, purple and green. These colors are often described as calm, but can also call to mind feelings of sadness or indifference. Human eye identifies warm colors before cool hues. Cool colors appear to draw back, while warm colors appear to advance, however the degree of saturation can make a difference.
Following is some common color psychology related to the colors of spectrum:
Red is aggressive, stimulating and sexy in nature, self-confident attention-demanding and provoking action, in other words the red color is impossible to ignore.
Depending on its saturation or value, pink evokes varied mood swings. Magenta and fuchsia are perceived as sensual and theatrical, also very much lady-like. But when we water-down the redness in pink, as in lighter pinks and the raw sensuality of red is replaced with gentle romanticism.
Inheriting a part of dramatic element of the red, orange is tempered by the friendly humour of yellow. It’s the color that stimulates the appetite and radiates with warmth and vitality.
Yellow is the color that demands your attention and says that you’d better pay attention to me. Yellow, along with black, is the most common color combination in nature – tigers, stinging bees, all have it!
Brown is tough. Rustic, durable, wholesome and deliciously rich are just some of the traits of the color that’s often associated with earth and home, substance and stability as well.
Blue is perceived as dependable and committed. That is why most organizations and companies use it as their corporate color. It is also the color we often associate with calmness and serenity. Darken the blue and you will add an instant authority, credibility and power to your communication.
Because of its association with nature and foliage, green in design can be used almost like a neutral color. Also that green never clashes with red or pink roses, yellow sunflowers, lilacs or bluebells.
Purple is perhaps the most enigmatic and complex color, with the range of meanings – from royal to elegant to spiritual to mysterious. Purple is often favored by very creative and outlandish people who are also the dare-devils.
Not surprisingly white communicates purity, sense of clarity and simplicity. White is also perceived by the human eye as a bright color, which is why it works so well in contrast with all other colors.
People see black as the most dramatic, heavy, powerful, classic color with an up-surmount look. Because of its extreme contrast to white, black and white is the quintessential combination of depth and clarity, power and innocence, light and dark and good and evil.
Color Usage Tips for Web and Graphic Designing
Color is one of the web designer’s most indispensable, yet most useful tools. Web and graphic designing business is all about being visually attractive, rather visually acceptable. One way to make your website more visually appealing is to have an appropriate color scheme that utilizes just the right amount and variation of color to clearly express the purpose, the theme, the personality and the objective of your site. Color is a great design element to experiment with, and it is such an amazing way to make your site stand out from others.
- Remember there are many ways to use color, including contrasting colors or complimentary colors; however, one thing for sure is that you must make sure whatever colors you use are harmonious. Also, try color repetition in your design, because this creates harmony as well.
- Color is a great way to get attention from your viewers. There are so many sites that I see that really capture the attention because of the use of color. Use color to draw the eye to the most important parts of your site. But, never overuse color because that will tire the eye.
- Color has so much power in design, so use its power to create a certain mood, evoke a certain response, reveal a certain personality, symbolize a certain idea or even express a certain mood.
- Try to experiment with color as much as possible. Experiment with color saturation, different hues, different shades, different combination’s, etc. When you experiment with colors you can get surprising results, as well as observe how different colors interact with each other.
- When selecting colors you will use in your design, make sure you take some extra time to research and investigate your target audience and make sure you use colors that appeal to them. Remember, you are not making a design that pleases you most of the time, but rather you are attempting to make a design that pleases the viewer.