Most business owners don’t consider the importance of color when thinking about promoting their business. Picking the right color and color scheme is critical when designing logos, websites or marketing materials. Color can affect people in profound ways; it sets a mood or feeling about your company.
Before my college years, I never realized what my eye was drawn to or why I looked away. Since then, my eye has been trained to see what is wrong with an image, and what to do to make it more pleasing and relaxing to the viewer. Have you ever gone to a web page and immediately clicked away? Did something inexplicable bother you about the site? More often than not, it is the design and color choices used that made you click away. Everyone has this innate sense of what looks “right” and what looks “wrong” without even knowing it.
Contrasting colors (two colors from separate segments of the color wheel) create an effect where your eye does not know what to concentrate on first. This is why creating a dynamic and engaging home page for your website is so important. You have a few seconds to impress your potential customer before they move on to another site.
This post is the first in a series about color. I am such a strong believer that the use of color – the right color – can impact the effectiveness of a website, logo or marketing piece.
Primary colors: These colors are equal distance from each other on the color wheel – yellow, red and blue.
Secondary colors: These colors fall between each primary color on the color wheel and are created when primary colors are mixed together. Think back to that old Glad Bags commercial: “Yellow and blue make green!”
Tertiary colors: This is when a primary color is mixed with a secondary color. An example of these are blue-violet, red-orange, green-blue (turquoise) and yellow-green (lime green).
Hue: This describes the weakness or intensity of a color.
Tint: When a color is mixed with white to get a lighter value of the original color, that is its tint.
Shade: The opposite of tint is when a color mixed with black to get a darker value of the original color – or its shade.
Tone: Color mixed with Grey
Complementary colors: Two colors that are opposite to each other on the color wheel chart. An example of the complementary color scheme is purple and yellow. This color scheme looks best when you pair a warm color with a cool color. It creates high-contrast and added interest.
Monochromatic: Use of a single color and all its variations of its tints and shades. This color scheme works well for unifying a look. However, it lacks color contrast and is not very vibrant.
Analogous schemes: These colors are located right next to each other on the color wheel, such as red/orange/yellow and green/blue/purple. This color scheme looks richer than monochromatic but still lacks contrast. Avoid combining warm and cool colors in the Analogous scheme.
Harmonious Schemes: These colors are on the same side of the color wheel. Examples would be yellows and oranges or blues and greens.
Triadic Scheme: Three colors that are the same distance from each other on the color wheel, such as violet/green/orange or red/yellow/blue. This scheme creates strong contrast while keeping a feeling of balance. In order to avoid a harsh effect, I recommend using the tints and shades of this scheme. Pick one color to be used in larger amounts, and the remaining two more sporadically.
Warm Colors: These are yellows, reds and oranges. They convey energy and provide a “cozy” feeling.
Cool Colors: These include are blues, greens and violets. They have a calming effect on us and help us to feel relaxed.
The use of color should not be taken lightly. Using colors that pair well will capture your viewer’s attention and get them to look further into your website, brochure or other marketing material. Any questions on color schemes, please let me know.
Part 2 of this series will be on how colors affect the emotions.