Colordance Design

Color Communicates Symbolic Meaning

Color conveys intuitive meaning which can be used to reinforce your marketing message. Envision a conceptual theme of tranquility for your web site. It conjures soft tropical hues — cool shades of aqua and sand.  These colors work well if you want your viewers to relax.
However, if you are in the business of offering a service or product that is upbeat, energetic, and friendly, and your target audience is families, the warmth of orange is a better choice.

Cool Blues

Consider the most gender neutral color — cool dark blue. Dark blue imparts dependability, strength, and authority. It is frequently used in school colors, uniforms, and many corporate logos. However, dark blue would be a mismatch for a progressive, trendy, neighborhood store sign. Unique and classy teal blue might offer a better alternative.

Warm Reds

Red added to any design provides excitement and energy. Many foods are red — berries, tomatoes, and apples — so, red is a great choice for a restaurant or  entertainment establishment as it subconsciously stimulates the appetite.

Shades of warm, Terra Cotta red brown are effective for a spa logo design. We associate warm, red browns with clay from the earth, and the casual lifestyle of Mexico and the southwest.

Rich Browns

Deep browns belong to the rich and delicious world of coffee and chocolate, as well as what is secure, wholesome, and rustic.  In contrast, the color burgundy is red’s more sophisticated cousin. One immediately thinks of aged wine. Burgundy adds a tone of wealth, refinement, and status to a project — an effective choice for an elegant restaurant menu.

A trendy, youthful, carefree, and vivacious theme befits bright pink. Paired with it’s complement — lime-green—hot pink creates an artsy, bold statement. Soft pink invokes anything delicate, soft, sweet, and romantic. Combine soft pink with the purity and innocence of white to communicate that which is  gentle and intimate.

Natural Greens

Green is a primary color in the natural world. Dark green cues us to expect something trustworthy, traditional, restful, and moneyed. Light green provides neutrality, and calm, while bright green enlivens themes that are fresh, spring, Irish, and outdoorsy.

Powerful Black

Black is the color of power, mystery, what is masculine, stylish, and expensive.  It’s nearby relative — any shade of Grey — is effective for what is professional, corporate, practical, and mature.  Flamboyance, creativity, spirituality, and fantasy are often expressed with the use of purple.  Purple and black have been used effectively to promote Harry Potter books and movies. Imagine these same colors as corporate logo for a bank. Would they convey trustworthiness and security?

Complementary Colors Enliven A Design

Finally,  complementary colors enliven and strengthen each other. This is important to take into account as the human eye searches for unity in a visual composition. We experience wholeness and harmony when complementary colors appear near one another.  Read more about the importance of unity on the our web page describing the structure of good design.

Each hue on the color wheel has it’s complement— it’s exact opposite.  Purple is complemented by yellow, blue by orange, and red with green. There are variations with shades and tints of these colors too. While well designed logos synthesize a number of elements, ( read more about this), color selection provides a vital ingredient in the mix. Creative brand marks often incorporate complementary color for added impact.

Effective advertising collateral focuses on several dominant colors, embellishing a design with specific accents.  These accent hues may be analogous colors — colors that are adjacent on the color wheel— thus offering added harmony, which extends a color scheme.

In summary, follow the tips below to connect with your target audience through the discerning use of color.

  • Understand the emotional connections color offers your viewers.  Consult color harmony books to the identify the symbolic meaning of each hue.
  • Determine if the emotional tone of your preferred colors are appropriate for your project. If not, consider other color schemes.
  • Where possible use complementary color for added punch.
  • Explore using analogous colors when you need three or more colors for your project.


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