Color is a powerful and often underutilized tool in our day to day lives. It has the power to make the bland become appealing, boring become inspiring and has the ability to excite our eyes and senses. It allows organizations and brands to differentiate from each other. It allows us to craft a story visually before the first words are spoken. It allows us to create that identity that makes us different, special and unique.
The dictionary definition of color is “a phenomenon of light (such as red, brown, pink, or gray) or visual perception that enables one to differentiate otherwise identical objects”.
While I can spend hours on the philosophy of color, I would much rather spend my time focusing on the elements of why color is important in everything we do. I decided to bring the concept “down to earth” and how marketing and branding can make a true impact if done correctly… visually!
The usage of color is more than adding a visual pop to a web page, handout or banner. Did you know that there is a psychology behind what we see and how that makes us feel? Let’s take the idea of color further and specifically talk about groups of colors and how you can apply Color Theory to your life and business.
Color has the power to set the mood when trying to generate a specific response. Color theories allow us to define a logical structure for color and identify the relationships between other colors.
We all know the basic color wheel consists of red, yellow and blue and these colors are called primary colors. Beyond the primary color scheme, there are secondary colors and tertiary colors. Below is a brief explanation of each color schemes and the basic premise of how they relate to another.
Primary Colors: Red, yellow and blue
Primary colors are the 3 pigment colors that cannot be mixed or formed by any combination of other colors. All other colors are derived from these 3 hues.
Secondary Colors: Green, orange and purple
By mixing equal parts of the primary colors scale, you will introduce secondary colors.
Tertiary Colors: Yellow-orange, red-orange
Mixing a primary and a secondary color creates a tertiary color. In many cases when you see colors hyphenated such as yellow-orange or red-orange, your mind should automatically asscoiate it as a tertiary colors.
Each of these colors carry strength, but utilizing them all together in a way that would visually fit is called Color Harmony. Color Harmony refers to palettes of colors that are pleasing to the eye. Every color fits together in an analogous or complementary way and when applied to specific logos or branding materials the result can be magical and leave a long lasting visual impact. When starting a business or bringing a new product to market, isn’t that half the battle… making a visual memory so that people can easily remember you?
Below are some of the tools that I use to help create that long-lasting impact:
1) https://coolors.co/ – Coolors.co is a tool I use frequently when I am operating with a blank slate and I have the opportunity to create a brand from the ground up. By pressing the spacebar, you will be introduced to different pallets that might spark your creativity. Many times, a particular color jumps off the screen and screams the brand I am working on.
2) https://www.ginifab.com/feeds/pms/color_picker_from_image.php – Ginifab.com is a great tool when I have an idea or a picture to start from. I upload a picture to find out what colors would fit. This allows us to create brand and image consistency.
3) https://color.adobe.com/ – Finally is Adobe Color. This is especially important for visual learners to actually see the concepts I have articulated above in action. A homework assignment for all of you following along is to use the website and see how a particular scheme changes. Hover over the Color Rule button on the left of the color wheel and select a color rule and see how it changes the pallette in front of you. I have spent hours playing around with colors.
Next time when you see a commercial of a popular brand, pay attention the colors they are using and how it makes you feel. Utilizing the right colors is just as important as designing the right logo, it places your audience in the right frame of mind from the word go. So utilize color, play around with color and open your eyes to a larger more colorful world.
If you have questions about branding, color theory or a free website evaluation, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org