The failure or success of a design depends greatly on the choice of colors which what have negative or positive impact on the audience. The choice of colors is one the basic elements of a design and the most difficult step. The right choice helps you deliver your idea and the wrong one makes the design unable to achieve its main purpose. So designers should be aware of the meaning of colors to be able to use them accurately.
The meaning of colors
It gives a feeling of warmth and passion, motivates for work and indicates a danger or error. Its meaning is determined by the theme of the design.
It is associated with sunlight and increases feelings of joy and happiness.
Usually, it represents serenity and comfort influencing the way the audience perceive the design and it is used in web designs and scientific contexts.
It symbolizes growth and new beginnings. It also represents revival, health, welfare and generosity.
It reflects romance, smoothness and delicacy and mostly chosen in feminine designs.
It is the most powerful and elegant color which gives a sense of ambiguity and passion. Being neutral, it is often used in printing.
It is a neutral background color which highlights the beauty of other colors in a design. It also symbolizes purity and it is the most color used by designers.
How to choose the colors of a design?
1- Identifying its target
Identify the target of your design to ensure making the right choice of the colors.
The following questions help you identify your target:
1- What is the message you want to deliver through your design?
2- What is the main purpose of your design?
3- What are the sentiments you want to evoke by seeing your design?
2- Identifying the audience:
Our concept of colors varies according to the different effects they have on us as well as our own experience, individual preferences and culture. If you want to see how people would react to your design, you must identify your audience first. Some colors have the same meaning for various audiences, whereas the meaning of others can be different from one audience to another. For example, ‘green’ represents nature in many cultures. However, ‘red’ in the west symbolizes fire, violence and war whereas in China it symbolizes welfare and happiness. It is important that your colors match your audience’s perceptions of them.
3- Exploring the theory of colors
Before building your color palette, you should know a little about the theory of colors which is a practical guide to the way of mixing colors with visual effects and it includes everything starting from color wheel to the meaning of every separate color.
4- Finding inspiration
It is so difficult to build your color palette, so seek inspiration in other works- it is common to get inspired by the work of other artists.
There are also websites that may give you inspiration and help you build your own color palette such as Dribbble and Behance. But if you need inspiration for a specific type of designs like material designs, you can visit Material UI. As for colors of flat designs, you can find them on Flat UI Colors.
Look for inspiration in everything around you. If you found this source of inspiration, use it to build your own color palette.
5- Creating design outline
The Design Outline is a guide to your own design which gathers all of its elements starting form button designs to printing materiel.
To build you color palette, you should follow the principle of KISS. It is an acronym for “keep it simple, stupid” and it means that you should deliver information simply and easily without complexity. So the fewer colors you use the better.
The following outline is an example of a complete design :
- Background colors
- Basic colors
- Secondary colors
- Colors of error steps
- Colors of correct steps
Usually, basic colors are used for button designs and important elements. Many companies use the color of its logo as the basic color such as ‘sky blue’ in Twitter, ‘yellow’ in Snapchat and ‘blue’ in Facebook. As for secondary colors, they are used to differentiate and separate basic and secondary elements. As for the colors of basic and secondary button designs and colors of error and correct steps, ‘green’ and ‘red’ are often used to indicate error and correct states in a design.
Finally learn how to design using colors because they it is an asset to the designer. When you achieve the best results in building your color palette, you develop an ability to automatically visualize the colors of your designs even before opening your graphic design software.