How Colour Schemes Affect Graphic Design

Colour plays a massive role in how we perceive the world. Sometimes, without even realising, we make decisions on things based on the colours used. This is why choosing the right colours is key to standing out online, either as a blogger or a business.

Colour schemes can be a particularly challenging thing for inexperienced designers to create. You not only need to consider how users engage with particular colours, but how those shades interact with each other to create a feeling that draws people to your graphics.

If you’re hoping to produce professional, successful graphics for your blog or business, we have all the tools that you need here at PikWizard. In this blog, we guide you through the basics of colour theory and how to combine different tones to create an impactful design!

What is Colour Theory?

In essence, colour theory concerns how humans perceive different shades and hues, and also how different colour interact with each other. However, this basic explanation hides behind it the incredible depth and complexity that is involved with colour theory.

Colour theory is a scientific field that people devote their lives and careers towards, and many of its key points are still debated today. In reality, it covers a vast range of topics, including the meanings we place behind specific colours and how different shades can impact our perceptions.

Why Does Colour Theory Matter?

Colour is all around us, and we subconsciously use it as a guide to make good decisions. According to multiple studies, the majority of us will decide on what businesses to interact with based purely on colours alone. In a crowded marketplace where making the right first impression matters, the colour scheme you use could make all the difference!

How Do We Perceive Certain Colours

The way we interpret certain shades can vary depending on our personal experiences. However, there are some typical emotions that certain colours evoke.

Red is a colour that we react to very strongly. Red has connotations with aggression, but its weight also makes it a symbol for things of importance – this is why it’s used on warming signs. Blue, on the other hand, is seen as a more inviting and calming colour. There are shades in-between, such as yellow, which is energetic but can also be used as a warning. Orange is seen as playful, while green is seen as providing stability.

Things to Consider when Choosing Colours

When we look at colour, we typically use the colour wheel. This wheel usually presents 12 colours that are formed by mixing the colours on either side. However, the wheel often doesn’t do justice to the amount of variation available when it comes to colour.

Hues, Shades and Tints

Colours are sometimes referred to as hues – in colour theory, this usually means the pure shade without any modifications, as it appears on a simple colour wheel. From here, you can create more unique colours by considering shades and tints.

Shades refer to when black is added to a colour. Adding a shade to yellow, for example, would turn it into a deeper orange. By contrast, tints are colour to which you add white, making them lighter. Add a tint to red, and you produce a more mild shade of pink.

How to Combine Colours

When creating graphics, we will often have a key colour in our head that we want throughout the design. This colour may be part of your brand, or it might just be something you choose to help your graphic stand out. Regardless, you’ll need other colours to support it, which is where colour schemes come into play.

Successful colour schemes often rely heavily on the colour wheel. Using the information provided by the wheel, you can plot colours that are proven to evoke certain feelings in people.

Complimentary Colours

Complimentary colours are those that are directly opposite each other on the colour wheel. Examples could be red-green and yellow-purple. Using these combinations creates a sharp but balanced design, making it an excellent choice for simple graphics that need to stand out.

Triadic Colours

This colour scheme involves selecting three colours on the wheel that are of equal distance from each other. A typical example is red-blue-yellow. These colour schemes evoke similar feelings to complementary colours but with three shades, providing more options for different aspects of your design.

Analogous Colours

Unlike the two schemes above, analogous colours sit next to each other on the colour wheel. Examples here could include yellow-green-blue or orange- red-purple. These designs appear much smoother than they’re counterparts, with one colour being supported by other complimentary.

What Colour Scheme is Right for Me?

As mentioned above, you’ll likely have a primary colour in mind when it comes to your graphics. Take a moment to understand why that colour is your primary: does it create a feeling of calm? Is it lively and full of energy?

If your design is intended to be calming and thoughtful, consider pairing your primary colour with an analogous colour scheme. By contrast, if you want your graphic to pop and be energetic, look for more complementary colours.

Using this information, you’ll be able to create stunning graphic designs that make the right first impression to your audience!

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