Understanding the Color Theory in the Digital Era
January 3rd, 2017
Going back to your school days, do you remember the beautiful Crayola crayons? How easy it was to just pick your favorite crayon and start coloring!
Being a designer in this Digital Era has again brought great opportunities. You don’t have to stick to the limited 62-stack color pallets. You can literally choose amongst a million of shades.
Since the human eye can see millions of hues, it becomes a tedious task to choose the best from the rest.
Colors have these amazingly unique ability to influence emotions.
It can change moods, switch ideas, draw connections, create experiences or destroy them completely. It is safe to say that colors are highly scientific and have all the capabilities to attract attention.
As a customer, it’s very easy, you go with the flow. Click whatever intrigues you. But for a good designer, choosing the colour from the never ending stack of hue is a task. An enormous task.
Unfortunately, there are no color pallets that will make clients happy. This is simply because, the choice of colors goes beyond personal preference. It is highly subjective and cannot be anyone’s opinion.
This is what engages the Designers and the Marketers.
The UX design challenge is to balance the design with the colors to get high conversion rates. Colors create an effective and attractive designs and this is because everyone should have a basic understanding of it. No matter what your job profile is, the traditional color theory will help you in understanding colors more.
It all starts with a color wheel..
If this reminds you of your art class session, we are on the same page. But, if you’re not very much familiar with the color wheel, let’s break it more.
Colors are classified into 3 categories – Primary, Secondary and Tertiary.
The Primary Colors as the name suggest are the kings of colors – distinct and royal.
Primary Colors : Red, Yellow and Blue
When you mix these three colors to get Orange, Green and Violet they form Secondary color range.Mix these with Primary color range and you get the third category of colors – Tertiary colors (red-orange, yellow orange, yellow -green, blue-green, blue-violet, and red- violet).
The color wheel is about mixing colors to get new and distinctive ones as each one of them is unique and stands for something meaningful. When we start with your designs, we recreate our own color scheme that adds value to your product.
But, before we get into how to choose colors for your projects, let us tell you about few color terms.
1. Hue: Name of a specific color. Specifically a hue refers to one of the 12 colors in the hue.
2. Shade: A color intensified with Black.
3. Tone: A color faded with Gray.
4. Tint: A color intensity decreased with White
5. Saturation: Intensity of hue
6. Value: Lightness or darkness of hue.
The basic nature of red is demanding. The brightest of red makes the boldest statement. It is sensual and strong color that gets body and senses activated.
Red is a strong willed color that expresses a strong emotion. It may command us to stop but at the same time demand movement as it is ingrained in the human mind as the signal to act or react.
It is the color of blood (life) as well as the color of bloodshed (death).
Pink and Roses
Pink is often considered as the sweetly scented color and is a connotation to flowers. Eatables and scents that are sweet often have a pigment of pink in them.
On the other hand, dusty roses are a bit more nostalgic and associated with gentility. They are tied with romance and is related to the matters of heart.
Deeper Reds are sumptuous of the red family. It strongly stands for a rich, wealthy and good lifestyle.
In Branding: Reds are the perfect way to demand customer’s attention. In branding they help in building up visibility and communicates strong message.
The vibrant and fun loving orange is now becoming everyone’s personal favorite. It is less aggressive than the red and friendlier than any other hue. Being such a fun loving color, it is best related for items and books for kids of age group 3 to 6 years.
On one hand where the light tones of the oranges are full of life and jovial, the brightest of oranges can make people uncomfortable.
In the tibetan culture, Orange represents success and is considered as an auspicious color.
Less Intense Apricots and Peach Tones
Apricots have a warm and welcoming embrace. Usually, it is used for the environment with a sense of soft touch or a pleasurable visual experience.
Ginger is the family of orange that hugely represents spicy, flavorful and tangy food. Ginger plays a huge role in branding food products and services.
In Branding: Orange represents the creative youth. It becomes a perfect voice for an energizing and flexible brand.
Representing heat, vitality, energy and light, Yellow is the color connected to the Sun. It has an intellectual energy making it the most extroverted hue in the color range. Though, bright yellow sends out a joyful message, it is also a representation of betrayal and hazards.
The softer shades of yellow is an expression of pleasant relaxation and warming comfort. Metallic shades also represent rich, glowing and valuable product.
In Branding: Though Yellow is a fun and vibrant color, it may be visually discomforting in some cases. For maximum brand value, yellow should be used cleverly in bits and pieces.
Blue is the color of calm and clear sea. It carries a quiet and cool stability that represents the constant nature of services.
Where sky-blue is restful, heavenly and tranquil, the brighter shades of blue are electric and impressive.
In some contexts, Blue can also be considered as a color that represents sadness and depression.
The deep blue shade represents authority and can be misunderstood as an aloof and distant.
In Branding: Blue is a highly popular color as it used to communicate trustworthiness and security. It is mostly in designing payment gateways and banking & financial websites.
Green is the color of nature as it is the color of plant life and growth. One of the most visible color in the color wheel, Green leaps the heart to relax by slowing the production of stress hormones. Apart from alleviating stress, it sometimes also relates to mystery and folklore.
Emerald can also represent a luxurious and upscale lifestyle.
The Olive Green shade is the military classic and is also used for trek and safari.
In Branding: Brands or products that want to come across as “green” (in the sense of natural, healthy, sustainable, environmentally friendly, organic, etc.) often use nature-inspired colors like green and brown.
There are people who specialize in studying things like color theory and the psychology or neuroscience of color. It is a complex subject that brings together art and science as one. This guide on color theory is only a scratch on such a huge surface but, we hope it helps you make more informed decisions in design. It is dynamic to watch the amazing effects of colors in designs. It has hugely affected our designs and it will definitely help you in growing your projects too.
We are coming up with more posts on the Color Theory to enhance your knowlegde. Till then, Happy Designing!!