Liberty Enlightening the World

Liberty Enlightening the World
La Liberté éclairant le monde

Friday, 10 June 2011

Design Color Fundamentals

Color
COLORED TEXTURES
Introduction
This lesson introduces the student to one of the most powerful and most "subjective" of tools in design. We introduce the notion that certain colors elicit emotions. Understanding this can influence the colors you use in your designs.
This lesson is simply a short introduction to:
  • terminology
  • how you apply color in your designs
  • what determines which colors you choose for your designs
COLORS IN PAINT TINS

Applying the right color in the right way is a subjective exercise. What looks good to you might look awkward to others., however, there are trends in color use which, when followed, can generally make your designs look "right". These trends are based on the environment that we are exposed to since birth. We develop "associations" to color. Check these articles out from designmeltdown.com then read on:

Color Associations

Blue
BLUE PENCIL

Why blue?
It's a color that conveys a sense of faith, honesty, openness, intelligence and has a universal appeal since it's the color of our sky and sea. We're used to it acting as a backdrop to our lives.
Use it for airlines, education, cleaning products, toothpaste, boy products.

MICROSOFT WINDOWS

Caveat: Politicians use it in their campaigns and MS Windows has a BSOD (blue screen of death) when it crashes so it's not a rock-solid interpretation.

Is that the right choice of colour for an error screen or politician? What colors would you choose?

Red

RED PENCIL

Red is associated with anger, passion, danger, loud noises, ferocious speed, drama, heat. Darker shades of red can be associated with wealth, fine dining/wine, prestige. Use it to draw the eye but beware overwhelming your viewer with it, it can cause fatigue.

Orange

ORANGE PENCIL

Like red in terms of its energy and vibrancy but more mellow and without a sense of anger. Orange has been found to encourage appetite. It's more informal than red so use it in this way. If your designs need to be less formal but still full-of-energy, go orange! Flouro orange is the most visible color in daytime.

Green

GREEN PENCIL

A natural color. The color of money. As a lime-green, it suggests growth, energy, vitality, vigor, youth. As a pale green it can convey a sense of disease. Dark green can be regal/ rich but also suggests jealousy and deception. The shade of green shown right should be avoided the morning after
a "big night".  

Yellow

YELLOW PENCIL

Floods you with positivity and good cheer. Here comes the sun! It's statistically proven that yellow cars have fewer accidents than any other color. It catches your eye. Because of this it's used to warn you too. Use sparingly like red. Don't flood your viewer's senses.

White

WHITE PENCIL

Like black, it's not a color, however it's upon which most published content sits. Just like a baseline for type, white acts as the foundation upon which you design. Use white as often as you can to place emphasis on what is there and to allow your viewer's eyes to "rest".

Black

BLACK PENCIL

Powerful, strong, use in combination with primary colours for memorable, resonant designs. As the fashionistas  declare; "darling, black goes with everything!".

Purple
PURPLE PENCIL
Regal, rich, royal (Wikipedia link) . The inks used to generate purple hues (colors = hues) were expensive and only the aristocracy in Europe could afford them. Henceforth purple became associated with wealth.

Brown

BROWN PENCIL

Comforting. Subdued, it sits in the background allowing other objects to dominate. Browns and greens form a partnership that suggests nature, growth, calm and hope.
For a terrific article on cultural differences and color associations, check out Ssubzzero's Blog

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