Color in Graphic Design: Understanding Why Color is Important in Design

What is the importance of color in graphic design? The truth is, there really is nothing more important than the use of color in creating graphic layouts—the goal of graphic design to communicate so strongly with the viewer that they take the desired action.

Emotion is one of the powerful influencers that trigger this type of behavior. Color evokes emotion. It is so compelling that entire careers have been built on color consulting. Through the application of color psychology in graphic design, you can achieve magnificent results.

Importance of color in graphic design

In everyday life and in design, color plays a vital role. It has the ability to communicate a message without using words. Depending on the interactions between our personal preferences, gender, our family background, and cultural identity, colors affect our perception.

Most buying decisions are based on visual factors. The assessment of a product or message presented in a graphic design happens in just over a minute. Subconsciously, the viewer decides whether it is worth spending their money. Of the influencing factors, 90 percent is based on color.

Color psychology in graphic design is a science. In marketing, it is used to create an awareness of a brand, associating it with certain feelings and concepts. As an artist, knowing color definition in graphic design and how it influences the viewer's impression is essential. Colors can have both positive and negative connotations.

Warm colors

Red, yellow, orange, and their combinations are considered warm colors.

  • Red (primary color) — excitement, fiery passion, powerful emotions, love, warmth, anger, fire, war.
  • Yellow (primary color) — cheerful, happy, hopeful, attention-getter, frustration, caution, cowardly, deceit.
  • Orange (secondary color) — enthusiastic, health, enthusiasm, energetic, affordability, seasonal change, transformation.

Cool colors

Blue, green, purple, and their variations are called cool colors.

  • Blue (primary color) — authority, reliable, peaceful, stable, prosperity, strength, sadness, distance.
  • Green (secondary color) — new beginnings, growth, nature, money, fertility, harmony, greed, envy.
  • Purple (secondary color) — creative, imagination, luxury, royalty, honor, romance, spiritual.

Neutral colors

Black, white, gray, brown, and beige are considered neutral colors because they often function as the backdrop to brighter colors.

  • Black — elegance, mystery, power, magic, formal, death, evil, intimidation, the occult.
  • White — innocence, cleanliness, purity, goodness, cold, impersonal, sterile.
  • Gray — sophisticated, formal, professional, moody, depressed.
  • Brown and beige — earthy, friendly, dependability, comfort, family, dull, dirty.

How to use contrast in graphic design

In graphic layouts, contrast is the differentiation of one object or area from the others. It is designed intentionally to draw the viewer's eye to the most important part of the message. Using color in graphic design to create contrast is powerful for three main reasons:

  1. Color contrast attracts the eye because it creates visual interest. Conflicting colors look like glaring errors, while complementary colors are subtle yet clear to the subconscious mind.
  2. Using color to create contrast reinforces an idea. Colors represent certain values and have a profound influence on the viewer. Used correctly, they strengthen your communication.
  3. Designing with color contrast indicates hierarchy. How you use it creates a focal point and indicates the level of importance a section of the layout holds. It tells the viewer where to focus.

The science of color in graphic design

You don't need to possess strong drawing skills to become proficient in the design elements that result in successful graphic layouts. The knowledge of color psychology in graphic design and arranging colors, in contrast, are a science and can be learned. Becoming aware of how to use color is vital since it can make or break your design. It takes practice. Eventually, you will cultivate your eye for color in graphic design, and then it is simply a matter of building upon your expertise.

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