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Color Harmony in Design « justcoolstudio.com

Color Harmony in Design

Color Wheels

Why is color harmony important?

Color choice is important because of the impact the colors could have on your audience. There are emotional and psychological effects that are related to color, the feeling produced from colors can often be beneficial. A color combination should be based on the mood you’d like convey and goals you intend to reach. The project itself doesn’t make a difference because this theory should be applied to all. Be it logo, branding(a good palette is essential), poster, album packaging, packaging, page layout and more.


The Facets of Color:                                         

Hot- Hot colors are aggressive and attention-grabbing. The color red is generally associated with the term Hot. Packaging and advertising are just a couple of the design projects they’re good for.

Warm– These colors are also based on red and softened with the addition of yellow. Warm colors are generally associated with being welcoming, inviting and comforting to us. They’re great for home interiors or brands that want to emit an inviting presence to consumers.

Cold- Associated with ice or water, a cold colors combine blue, blue-green, and green. A cold/cool color combination has effects on the mind/body. A cold colored room will cause a person to literally “chill-out”. Cold colors can be powerful and frigid, or clean and fresh respectfully.

Cool- A cool color is mainly blue and it is blended with yellow and red. Unlike the cold colors which are blended with green. They’re typically viewed as soothing, calming, meditative and peaceful.

Bright-Clear distinctive, high-chroma colors. They’re pure hues without a hint of white or black. These intense colors were a main staple during the Pop Art Movement of the 1960’s. Bright colors add energy to design work, they’re a great choice for advertising and packaging design.

Pale- Pale colors are tints-that is, hues that are combined with a great amount of white. These soft colors usually evoke a sense of youth, innocence, gentleness and romance. In the design world they can be used for a non-profit or cosmetic packaging for feminine products.

Light- Light colors are mixed with white and reflect the light around them, making a room-or a painting appear to glow or illuminate. Light colors tend to open up space, projecting a fairly large and airy feel.



The Breakdown of Basic Color Schemes:





Monochromatic: a single hue combined with any tints or shades. Usually a restrained or peaceful color scheme.

Primary: hues of red, blue, and yellow. These colors cannot be made by mixing colors.

Secondary: color scheme combines the secondary hues of green, violet, and orange. It carries a fresh uplifting quality and can be made subtle with hints.

Complementary: colors that are opposite on the color wheel and, when mixed create a neutral color.

Split Complementary: created by hues on either side of the complementary scheme. An example is orange with blue-green and blue violet.

Tertiary Triad: consist of three tertiary hues that are equidistant from each other on the color wheel. The two tetiary triad schemes are: Red-violet, yellow-orange, and blue green; or red-orange, yellow-green, and blue-violet.

 Achromatic: meaning “without color,” an achromatic scheme consists of black and white, with a wide array of grays that can be mixed with these colors. A warm or cool achromatic is possible with the additional hint of red, yellow or blue.

Analogous: created by using any three hues that are adjacent to each other on the color wheel. These hues are both harmonious and pleasing to the eye.

Clash: clash color schemes are brash and surprising to the eye. They’re created by combining hues with the colors found on either side of the complement; combing blue with red-orange or orange-yellow as an example.

 Neutral : soft colors that can appear to  be invisible. Consisting of hues typically neutralized by adding complements. By adding more black and white the neutral palette can be expanded upon.



The Process of Choosing Color:

Define: the mood and goal of your project.
Choose: the color your feel best expresses this mood.
Play: with  multiple color options before settling on one final palette.
Refine: narrow it down to the best possible color scheme.


Above courtesy of  “Complete Color Harmony Workbook” 2007, Rockport Publishers Inc.

Thanks for reading.

Share your Thoughts:
What does your color palette say about your brand or project?


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