Colours and their importance

Colour is the fundamental design approach to reach and grab your target users. It’s key in a design’s non-verbal communication and creates the all important physical and mental reactions of the user. Colours, if used well, can instantly convey the right tone of the site as well as convey key important messages to the user. Colour can be used to bring out all kinds of emotions whether it calms, excites¬† or gives the a user the all important feeling of trust. Because of these reasons colour is a fundamental tool to create powerful Graphic Design.

One of the first things to look at when starting any new design project is to look at a colour scheme. It is fundamental to do this right, and designers, guided by the main principles of colour theory, and of course professional experience.

The Theory

Most people choose colours according to their own taste and end up with something that features the colours that they think look good and work with each other. This is fine if you have a good ‘eye’ and you can successfully choose colours that compliment each other. However, not all people succeed in their choices.

There are basic theories in colour which are very clear and easy to understand. It is easiest to start with the Colour Wheel.

The Colour Wheel

The Colour Wheel

Invented by Sir Isaac Newton in 1666, he took the bar of colours, or spectrum, created by the passage of light through a prism and transformed it into a circle dissected into various segments, each segment a different size according to his calculations of it’s wavelength and it’s corresponding width in the spectrum.

The Colour Wheel is used by many designers and artists across the world. The Colour Wheel allows you to pick the colours that compliment each other. The wheel is made of 6 basic colours: Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue and Purple. There are also mixes of the basic colours that are in addition to these.

The theory is that two colours opposite each other on the Colour Wheel will be harmonious. As well three colours equally spaced around the Colour Wheel in the shape of a triangle or any four colours from the wheel that form a rectangle. These colours should compliment each other regardless of the rotation angle of the shape when selecting the colours.

Further Reading

You can read more into colour and in detail the differences between RGB and CMYK.

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