Basic Design Principle 101: Color Theory

I want to introduce everyone to the Ritual Rebellion Art Director Haley. She is in charge of more than just visuals but helping our designs and deliverables tell a story and evoke the emotion. Consumer marketing isn’t just about sales and content, its about creating a relationship between the brand and consumer and telling the right story.

The role of a graphic designer is an important one. Designers influence how people interact with the world around them. We create all kinds of visual elements that relate specific messages to consumers. Making graphics that are visually appealing is a major part of what designers do. 


Color Theory is complex...

This Joseph Albers color interaction experiment shows how three colors can really appear as four. This shows the relationship colors have based on how you combine them.

Did you know the human eye can perceive 7 million colors?

Color plays a bigger role in your day to day life than you might think. From an early age, humans begin to associate colors with feelings and meanings. An easy example is Red for stop (which sometimes has a negative connotation), Yellow for warning, and Green for go (which often has a positive connotation). Some colors make people feel relaxed, anxious, passionate, or even hungry depending on the hue, value, and saturation. These words might not mean much to the average person, but they are invaluable tools for a designer.

Now you're speaking my language

Hue is another word for color, it refers to the prominent  wavelength the eye perceives in its purest form.

When choosing colors for a project it is very important to choose colors that work well together and convey the desired mood or feeling that fits the brand. Value refers to the relative lightness or darkness of a color, this can show depth and change the intensity of the color.

Dark values with black added are called “shades” of the original color.

Lighter values with white pigment added are called “tints” of the original color. Lastly, the saturation of a color refers to the intensity of the color. For example, pastel yellow feels soft and bright lemon yellow feels very intense. So, before you pick colors for that next project, take a second to consult the color wheel with your newfound knowledge.

Trends in Color

In the age of the millennial, consumers are all about colors that pop. In wellness espcially, we have a tendency to associate healthy or pure with the color white. White space can really make or break your design. Just like you, your designs need to breathe. However, white isn’t really a part of your palette, it’s more the negative space between elements used to create digestible design.

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Check this out...

This mood board was made for a client who is working on a fitness program for men and women. Witness how the colors imply strength without being overly masculine or aggressive. 

Using Color

Adding pops of color in geometric shapes or colored typography can be a really great way of utilizing color without overdoing it.

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Another example...

The colors and assets in this mood board tell a compeltely different story. The pastels and retro washes inspire a carefree and creative vibe.

Here are some suggestions of easy Colors to incorporate into your next design:

Teal, Blue, Coral

Difficult tones:

 Yellow, Red, and Purple

Yellow and red are extremely intense colors and therefore cause your eye more fatigue when looking at them because they vibrate more than other colorwaves. Red also tends to draw the eye and cause negative reactions. Red can be useful though in marketing when highlighting pricing if the brand operates from a pricing standpoint. Purple is gorgeous when used correctly but is a very strong color.

Stay tuned for more design basics,