A Rainbow Of Emotions: Color Basics

Overview

Color is a powerful tool that is more complex than it seems. There are many different theories and aspects that involve color. In order to truly understand color and how to incorporate it into your brand marketing, it is important first to understand the basics of color. Let’s start at square one.

Color Theory

Color theory is a combined set of rules that are creative and scientific. These rules are used by designers, marketers, and surely art students everywhere to decide how to put colors together. Additionally, color theory lays the groundwork for choosing the right colors to communicate the desired message to users. 

Primary, Secondary, And Tertiary Colors

What are Primary Colors? What are Secondary Colors? 

The color wheel is made of 3 base colors, or primary colors: Red, blue, and yellow. The primary colors, when mixed, create secondary colors: green, orange, and purple. 

What are Tertiary colors?

Tertiary colors are when primary colors are mixed with secondary colors. An example of this is red-orange. Tertiary colors create additional gradations of colors on the color wheel — six in total. 

Hues, Tints, and Shades 

Are black white and grey considered colors? 

White is considered a tint; when white is added to a color to make it lighter, this is a tint. 

Black is considered a shade; when black is added to a color to make it darker, it is a shade. 

Grey is considered a tone; when black and white (or grey) are added to a color, it becomes a tone. 

What is a hue? 

Hues: A pure color that is found on the color wheel and has had nothing added to it to change its properties.

Complementary Colors

What are complementary colors? 

Complementary colors are colors that are across from one another on a color wheel. They have a sharp contrast and can be a good way to choose pop colors for branding. 

An example of a color palette with complementary colors: Purple and yellow or blue and orange.

Ask Yourself

This photo features 3 squares on top of different color backgrounds. 

Are all of the pink squares the same color? 

Answer: Yes! 

This is a perfect example of how a background color can skew perception of a color. In the middle, the pink square looks brighter because of the contrast with the dark purple. This is something to keep in mind when using colors or choosing your brand colors. 

Analogous Colors

What are analogous colors?

Analogous colors are any 3 colors next to each other on a 12-part color wheel. An example of this is yellow-orange, orange, and orange-red. Typically one of the three colors will dominate the others. 

Warm and Cool Colors

What are considered warm and cool colors?

Colors are also separated into categories of warm and cool. Red, orange and yellow are considered warm colors, and green, blue, and purple are cool colors. 

Like what you see? Read more from our Blog on marketing knowledge, tips & tricks. 

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