Color is, without a doubt, the most important element of graphic design. We have loads to talk about in this post, so we gotta jump right in! Here’s the Pack’s guide to color and graphic design.
Why Color Matters the Most in Graphic Design
Color is registered by the brain before typography or images
It has actually been proven that, if consumers sense a mismatch in design, it’s most often because of the color. Once that mismatch has been established, the rest of the design, whether it’s words or images, won’t matter enough to redeem it.
Color is the most influential sense
Basic color theory says that different colors reflect different emotion, so you have to take that into account when designing. Below is a very basic outline of the feelings certain colors can evoke. Check that out for quick reference, but don’t stop there. There’s a whole world beyond this list that we’ll cover right after.
- Blue: Security, Trust Worthy, Stability, Loyalty, Wisdom, Confidence, Trust, Friendliness, Preservation, Courage, Science.
- Green: Wealth, Money, Calming, Trees, Ambition, Endurance, Healing, Calm, Generosity, Natural, Completion, and Protection.
- Red: Energy, Power, Vigor, Leadership, Courage, Passion, Activity, Joy.
- Yellow: Optimism, Childish, Freshness, Law, Education, Arrogance.
- Pink: Romantic, Feminine, Love, Beauty.
- Orange: Cheerful, Passion, Pleasure, Enthusiasm, Fascination, Creativity, Fun.
- Black: Powerful, Mysterious, Elegance, Sophistication, Functionality.
If you need quick reference, use this list. It’ll offer insight into how the colors you choose are a reflection of your brand and will dictate the way people feel about your product or service.
Different colors carry different emotions with them, but figuring out what those emotions are is actually a science.
How to choose the perfect color for each graphic design project—100% of the time
Believe it or not, there is a proven way to make sure you pick the right color for every graphic design project you take on. Even if it’s not everyone’s favorite color, you’ll be able to justify why you chose that color and no one will be able to argue with it.
Sounds great right? That’s cause it freaking is.
We’ll spare you the historic details, but basically this chick proved that, according to something called color psychology, different people’s reactions to color is not random. In fact, it’s mathematically and scientifically predictable.
Color psychology is simply the way the brain reacts to color. A lot of people get this confused with color preference, which is just how certain people feel abut certain colors based on their life experiences and preferences.
But anyway, thanks to color psychology, it’s actually been proven that there are links between color families and the four personality types. Basically, each personality type prefers and is naturally drawn to a specific color family and will always react in the same way to that family.
Taking that into account, it’s possible, if you know your audience well enough, to use color psychology to match your brand’s colors to the personality of your ideal client. This will engage them better with your brand and create a more positive reaction, 100% of the time.
That’s pretty insane. Science and art can work together! We’re just over here creating harmony in the world.
The Conclusion of Color
When you’re talkin’ color and graphic design, there are a few things you should always mention, especially when you’re writing for people who aren’t necessarily designers by trade. These are just basic aspects of color theory and good color design. We’ll cover them really fast right now.
First, studies show that 95% of the world’s top 100 brands only use 1-2 colors in their branding.
That being said, the “no more than two colors” rule can be broken when broken intentionally. Look at big enterprises like Google and NBC and you’ll see successful branding that involves more than two color choices. But also consider who those companies are and maybe keep it simpler for yours, especially if you’re just starting out. It’s one of those “you have to know the rules to break them” things.
Second, the color(s) you choose should be a reflection of the project and its needs.
What we mean by this is that different facets of the same project may require different colors. For example, Wolf & Key is currently working on a huge project for a huge client. We’re building out landing pages, creating social media and PPC campaigns, optimizing SEO, and everything in between. While the company has certain colors is uses for its logo and most branding, we’re switching up those colors a lot.
Here’s why: when you’re just looking to get people in the door of a business, design that’s consistent with the brand isn’t as important as design that is proven to convert. Yes, you want it to still be good and flow well. But, if using a certain color (like red) for a call to action button is proven to convert leads to clients better than using the brand’s official color, use the one that’s proven to convert. This also connects a lot with landing page design and web design, so make sure you check out our linked blog posts on those for more info.