Color is a major part of our lives. And even more so in the web design world. It evokes emotions, can change peoples actions, and sway their thinking. The power of color if great! If you think back to when you were a kid, you probably learned that red means stop, hot, or dangerous. Green means go, good, or growth. Because of this traffic light colors world wide like; stop sign colors, and warning sign colors are all the same. Think about what would happen if you traveled over seas and every country you went to the traffic lights and signs were different colors. I know for me it would be very scary, but thank goodness this is not the case.
As a graphic designer color is something I consciously think about every day. I want to make sure that each client is represented appropriately. I will also admit that I am very easily persuaded by color as well. So lets break it down.
Active and Passive Colors
These are the colors that split the color wheel in two. They are also known as warm and cool. Active (warm) colors are the yellows, oranges, and reds. Passive (cool) colors are the purples, blues and greens.
Active Colors live up to their name. They are described as energizing, vibrant, passionate, and positive. If you want a design to reflect happiness, passion, or energy these are your colors.
Red: red has many associations war, fire, hot, stop, danger, anger, importance, happiness, prosperity, passion, morning. Now this color may not mean all of this to one person. Across the world it means different things. In design it can be a very over powering color. It is best suited as an accent color. If you are going to use it as the majority color tone it down, use the darker shades.
Orange: is vibrant, energetic, change, movement. In its muted tones associated this fall, autumn, earth. In design orange grabs your attention but is not overpowering like red.
Yellow: the brightest of the bunch, most energetic. Associated with happiness, sunshine, deceit, cowardice, hope, friendship, mourning, courage, and merchants. Yellow also has many meaning all over the world. Design wise, with being so bright it can be distracting. Softer yellows are great for gender neutral and young kids. Darker yellows, like gold, look antique instill tradition.
Passive Colors: don't mind taking the back seat, they are great supports to active colors and help them shine. Passive colors in your designs reflect calm, professional, growth, refreshing, romantic, luxury.
Green: is one of the more versatile colors as it can range from excitement to neutral and then to stable. That is a full range color. And one of my most favorites. Words that it represents are; down-to-earth, new beginnings, growth, envy, jealousy, lack of experience, wealth, renewal. In your design since green has such a range it is very important to choose the right shade. Mid ranges are used to represent wealth, stability, and renewal. Brighter green are energizing and olive greens are subtle and neutral. Dark shades are the most rich and represent the most rich as well.
Blue: most commonly associated with sadness, peace, calmness, responsibility, and religious connotations. Now in design it depends on what shade of blue you use. The shade will change how your design is perceived. Light blue has a peace and calming effect. Bright blues liven up a design and make it refreshing. And dark blues are greatly used in the corporate world to instill strength and reliability.
Purple: most commonly represents royalty, creativity, imagination, wealth, and romance. If you are using purple in your design the shade plays a big part as well. Lighter shades are associated with romance and spring. Dark shades give a luxury, royal feel.
Who new colors could mean so many different things in your designs. If you are trying to get a specific reaction, emotion, or change someones way of viewing a product or company. Then you should do some research on what colors mean to your proposed clientele. It may mean one thing to you and a complete different thing to them. You defiantly do not want to disrespect anyone.