How Color Schemes Affect Graphic Design

Image of colorful crayons with wooden hearts

Colour plays a massive role in how we perceive the world. Sometimes, without even realizing it, we make decisions on things based on the colors used. This is why choosing the right colors 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 colors, 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 color theory and how to combine different tones to create an impactful design!


What Is Color Theory?

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


Why Does Color Theory Matter?

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


How Do We Perceive Certain Colors

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


Red is a color 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 color. 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 Colors


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


Hues, Shades and Tints

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


Shades refer to when black is added to a color. Adding a shade too yellow, for example, would turn it into a deeper orange. By contrast, tints are colors 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 Colors


Image of circular neon colored lights

When creating graphics, we will often have a key color in our head that we want throughout the design. This color 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 colors to support it, which is where color schemes come into play.


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


Complimentary Colors

Complimentary colors are those that are directly opposite each other on the color 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 Colors

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


Analogous Colors

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


What Color Scheme Is Right for Me?

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As mentioned above, you’ll likely have a primary color in mind when it comes to your graphics. Take a moment to understand why that color 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 color with an analogous color scheme. By contrast, if you want your graphic to pop and be energetic, look for more complementary colors.



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