graphic design

design principles

choosing color
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choosing color

  • Choose a palette of colors to base the design on -- 4 is sufficient
    • This may sound extreme, but you can use varying tones of the same shade to highlight
      • For example, this web site uses different shades of purple and teal, as well as dark blue for text
  • Always use web safe hues for the main design elements, especially if these are going to contain any textual navigation
    • This is because non-web safe colors will dither (go "bitty" - made up of two or more similar shades)
  • If in doubt, check your colors after reducing your screen color depth to 256 colors
    • In Windows - go Start > Settings > Control Panel > Display > Click Settings and change the colors to 256
  • Place your chosen colors next to each other in a graphics software program to see if they work together
    • Some web safe colors create "noise" (appear to move/blend together) when placed next to each other - try to avoid this

tips on choosing color

first impressions

  • Think about the impression you want to give
    • Modern, welcoming, cosy, corporate, professional, fun etc
    • Choose colors which match these
      • For example:
        • Modern colors are clean, bright, such as blue and yellow
        • Welcoming or cosy colors could be oranges, yellows, greens
        • Corporate styles are clean - blue, grey, white for example
        • A fun web site for kids could include the primary colors red, blue and yellow

color psychology

Think about color psychology - how color makes people feel

  Positive Negative
  Red symbolizes passion, love, danger, heat, power, strength, a little can be stimulating. Stimulates the appetite, by increasing metabolism.

Too much could be percieved as aggressive. Also symbolizes danger, fire, blood, war, violence.

Remember to consider color-blind users - red/green color blindness is the most common

  Pink can symbolize femininity and youth. Naivity, weakness.
  Orange is percieved as vibrant, warm, cosy and autumnal. Has been a very in vogue color for web sites. Attention-seeking.
  Yellow can symbolize sunshine, happiness, growth, gold and "newness". Can also symbolize dishonesty, cowardice, betrayal, jealousy, deceit, illness, hazard.
  Green signifies nature, the environment, life, growth, good luck, youth, spring, fertility, religion. Also symbolizes jealousy, envy and misfortune. See color-blind issues. Considered bad when used for packaging.
  Blue symbolizes calm, peaceful, water, sky, harmony, therapeutic, trust, confidence, cleanliness and loyalty. Gives people energy. Safe color to use in design. Sadness, cold, depression, suppresses the appetite.
  Purple symbolizes royalty, spirituality, passion and love. Cruelty, arrogance, mourning.
  Brown is neutral, earthy, outdoors, warm. Dirty, dull.
  Grey/gray can be modern, intelligent, solid, clean. Old age, sadness, boring, dull.
  White is symbolic of cleanliness, innocence, space, purity, chastity, simplicity, peace, winter/snow, goodness, marriage/virginial. Death (in Eastern cultures), cold, clinical, sterile.
  Black is associated with power, elegance, magic, mystery, night, sophistication, solid and powerful. Death (in Western cultures), witches (black magic), fear, evil, anonymity, unhappiness, sadness, remorse, anger, mourning, death (Western cultures).

color combinations

Think about which color combinations work

        Black, white, grey/gray and red
    Red and white
    Orange and purple
    Purple and yellow
    Green and purple
    Blue and yellow
      Blue, grey/gray and white
    Green and browns (be careful or color-blind issues)
    Teal and purple/lilac