Unit 3 – Color Theory

For this weeks blog we are looking at color theory. The book, Graphic Deisgn School, talks about the color terminology such as hue, saturation and tone. How to think about RGB versus CMYK and Pantone colors. It can be hard to get the right color printed and it is therefore important to know how the different color systems work and how the subtractive color (CMYK) works different than Pantone etc. It then talks about color legibility, and what to think about when using color for a purpose. It is important to know the medium and where the colors are going to be looked at/through and to decide how bright of colors and what contrasts you need. For me I find it interesting to read about the color associations, and how one color means something for one culture and another thing for others. Therefore, especially within international designs, it is important to always keep that in mind. It also fascinates me how colors can convey such a different feeling and opinions. Red, orange and yellow are warm colors and gives out feelings toward cheeriness, good health, exciting or aggressiveness. On the other side, blue and green colors gives a cooler feel and can be seen as peace, safety, calmness and depression. Compositions close in value can be seen as hazy, vague or introspective while dark combinations can be seen as night, fear and mysterious. High color are often associated with dynamic and movement. Another really interesting part is how color is such a good tool for giving information, and to organize different datas, and how “psychologists have proved that the color of an object is seen before its shape and details” (Graphic Design School, 96). We can therefore use it for things as direction in big building or to show different train routes on a map.

On the website: https://designschool.canva.com/blog/color-tips/ we can read more about what a designer should do in order to treat colors right, and the article talks about 10 tips in particular: (1) Capture inspiration on-the-go. If you see a photograph or something in your everyday life that you like, sample colors from it and bring in to photoshop where you can make a palett out of it. (2) Use your color wheel. The analogous colors can be seen as your friend, while the complementary colors your lover. (3) Borrow from interior design.  Often many different designers have to work with colors, and Interior designers needs to know how to harmonize spaces using textures, objects and color schemes that blend well together. This could also be used within graphic design, especially the rule they use about having 60% – dominant color, 30% – secondary color, 10% – accent color. (4) Save what works. Save and store color palettes that works for later use. (5) Use the trusty pantone set. It can be very inspiring to step away from the screen for a bit and instead look at a physical color swatch. (6) Bring in colors from nature. Nature has a lot of inspiring and beautiful colors, where color combinations can be endless. (7) Stick to three or four colors. Unless your going for a rainbow design, using more than three or four colors can be too overwhelming. Instead, less color keeps graphics looking clean. (8) Match colors to your topics mood. Remember what your design is for and think about a specific mood that you would like to associate with the activity. (9) Search Pinterest for palettes. Pinterest has an incredible large amount of palettes and is an easy way to find inspiration. (10) Follow sites that are for color lovers. Get inspiration and tips from other designers.

All of these tips are a helpful way to get started with choosing colors, and together with the knowledge about different associations, different systems and how to treat color a designer would be in a much better shape when creating different posters or designs.


Here is a picture showing different suggestions of color palettes used from nature. As mentioned in the text above there are sometimes almost endless combinations and therefore a our environment can be a great place to draw inspiration from. Source: https://designschool.canva.com/blog/color-tips/
This graph is showing different ways colors are associated, especially within marketing. This is an important part to consider when creating design, especially for advertisements and branding. Source: http://louisem.com/6007/the-psychology-of-color

Here is a large picture showing different ways people think about colors, how they most often are used etc. We can see how blue is a favorite, and since it´s associated with trust and peace many companies such as banks etc often uses blue for logos and such. Source: http://visual.ly/what-your-brand-color-says-about-your-business

This is from eye on design, AIGA and I think it shows as a good example of how color conveys different feelings. The design on the bottle is overall similar, but still differs in style and feeling. Source: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/493425702902875919/


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