Color. It’s simple, right? Sometimes, though, what you thought would look great ends up looking not so great, and disappoints you as well as your client. Picking up some pro tips and tricks for color can put a smile on your face as well as your client’s. Think about colors and what types of feelings they create.
1) Learn Your Color Families
Red, orange, and yellow are warm colors:
- Some red associations are love, strength, passion, and excitement.
- Some orange associations are cheer, happiness, and caution.
- Some yellow associations are joy, energy, and childish innocence.
Think about how you’d use these colors in a campaign, logo, or web page and what kind of associations the projected viewer might make with them. For instance, you could use yellow in a florist’s logo, evoking the warmth of yellow flowers, or the passionate connotations for red roses. Think of the feelings evokes by the childhood memories of a yellow rubber duck or the refreshing scent of peeling an orange. All of these feelings are associated with those colors.
Green, blue, and purple are cool colors:
- Some green associations are eco-consciousness (as in green branding), freshness, and nature.
- Some blue associations are tranquility, stability, and loyalty.
- Some purple associations are power, luxury, and spirituality.
Blue could evoke the tranquility of a seaside vacation or the ‘true blue’ loyalty of an organization devoted to veterans. The use of green might be the perfect color for the logo of a solar roofing company, or for a spa with a focus on using natural beauty products. A purple logo for a prestige restaurant or upscale bed and breakfast could project just the right cachet to a well-heeled customer looking for a premium experience.
Neutrals are trickier, but at the same time simpler. For a business where the product is the star of the show, neutrals allow for a design that is flattering for all different types and classes of items. Some might think that neutrals are boring, or have no emotional connotations the way that warm and cools colors so, but that’s a misperception.
Black, white, gray, brown, and beige are neutral colors:
- Some black associations are sophistication, elegance, and wealth.
- Some white associations are purity, cleanliness, and freshness.
- Some brown associations are nature, wholesomeness, and earthiness.
- Some beige associations are comfort, tradition, and peacefulness.
- Some gray associations are technology, innovation, and neutrality.
A dealer in luxury foods might chose black for a logo or website, showcasing the fine offerings against the neutral background – which is one of the reasons that black is so often used as a backdrop for jewelry. For the same reason, a tech company might chose gray as a way to highlight their applications or devices. Each color, whether warm, cool, or neutral also has negative associations, so different people will take away different impressions.
2) Learn How to Combine Them
Combining colors is another story, but some clear tips can get you started.
- Analogous color schemes or palettes use colors from the same color family in varying shade and combinations. Warms are paired with warms, cools with cools, and neutrals with neutrals. This is good because the colors don’t compete with one another, but depending on the combinations it can be too dull or too bright.
- Contrasting color schemes take colors from different color families, such as pairing neutrals with warms, neutrals with cools, or putting warm and cool colors together. It can be bold and dramatic, but sometimes it can be an eye-spraining experience if not done correctly.
- Monochromatic color schemes use different shades of the same color to create a harmonious color scheme that’s easy on the eyes and that doesn’t distract from the message that you’re trying to convey.
3) Learn to Love Your White Space
When used in a well-designed website, whitespace can be the wheel horse that can move people through the site. Whitespace can make pages easier to understand, and bring the information to the attention of the viewer instead of becoming lost in the activity of the page behind it. Whitespace is sometimes called ‘negative space’ where nothing is happening which sounds like something you wouldn’t want to have on a web page as opposed to ‘positive space’ where color and graphics are happening. Smashing Magazine notes that whitespace increases comprehension by 20 percent by removing distractions and making text more readable.
4) Simpler is Better
In the early days of web design, the more bells and whistles a site had, the better the site was thought to be. There were textured buttons, patterned backgrounds, trailing cursors, flashing this, and spinning that. The problem? Well, if you can’t find the front door, how are you supposed to get in? Keeping designs simple means that your users can navigate into your site from whatever page they land on, with whatever internet capable device they happen to be using. With an increasing share of traffic coming from mobile devices, keeping your design simple enough to be readable on a smartphone or tablet. Pew Internet indicates that 58 percent of Americans own and access the internet with a smartphone, and 42 percent in 2014 had a tablet computer that was internet capable.
5) Don’t Forget the Goldfish
If the internet has been a boon to the dissemination of information. It’s also managed to clip the average attention span to eight seconds – a second less than that of a goldfish. You needs to have a page that loads quickly across all platforms, they is eye-catching, but able to present information clearly and in a manner that will have the viewer clicking through and navigating the site. Honing your skills by working with a crowdsourcing company like graphic designer Designhill will help you to hone your skills and earn money while gaining experience.