Using Color: Real World Examples

By LaurenMarie

Color holds the most critical appeal to emotions out of all the elements of design. It is important to choose your colors wisely!

Aesthetic Apparatus’ Doombuddy (Codename Mr. Tibbets)

Red, blue and yellow are the primary color triad and often associated with children. Tints (adding white), shades (adding black) and tones (adding grey) are often effective ways to dissipate the juvenile qualities of this primary triad, as seen in this Mister Tibbets poster from Aesthetic Apparatus, a design studio focused in the music industry.

Red is a passionate color, riddled with emotional connotations and deep meaning. Red is the color of blood, fire, rage, love and power. It is the most eye-catching of colors and should always be used mindfully because it can produce unexpected reactions if allowed to run amuck.

Blue is the color of sky and water (a reflection of the sky). Blue can be sad, serene, cold, refreshing, loyal (“true blue”) and calm.

Yellow is another color that jumps off the page. Here it is actually the color of the paper (usually white is the color of paper). Yellow is a happy color. It is cheerful, good-natured, warm and inviting. Compare the mood of Mister Tibbets with other Doombuddies like Doombuddy II (blue, foul mood) and Doombuddy III (green, sick?).

White (here used as a color) is pure and clean. Be careful with white, though, too much of it and the design can appear stark and sterile.

This Mister Tibbets poster is friendly, cheerful and slightly childish.

Homebase by Turner Duckworth

This Homebase product line by Turner Duckworth uses the colors orange and green, two pieces of a triad (purple would be the other one). This produces an interesting and often unexplored combination; it’s not quite a complimentary, but the colors still go well together.

Green is inarguably a fresh, clean color. Green can also be a restful color, and it definitely has a positive vibe, at least in this cheerful tint. There is also the term “green with envy,” but that conjures up images of a deeper, darker green. Green is a cool color that tends to recede into the background, so it makes a good base color, as seen above.

Orange is also a refreshing color. Citrus is a clean scent that is translated into the visual spectrum very well in this layout. Orange is a warm color that pops from the page so it is usually best used as an accent color.

The color choices for this packaging make the product look easy, no-nonsense and practical.

Tina Colada by FLO

You may think at a glance that the colors from Tina Colada go really well together but just can’t quite figure out why. It’s a little difficult to see right away, but this poster is composed of the complimentary of blue and orange, but here orange is a shade (added black) and appears as dark brown.

Blue is peaceful, tranquil and serene. The tint of blue seen here has a nice value contrast with the dark brown, too.

Brown is a deep, earthy, wholesome color. Chocolate and soil are brown, and it can be a warm and comforting color.

From the choice of colors, it seems that Tina is a calming, beautiful and nurturing force in the artist’s life.

Nimbupani Designs

The Nimbupani Designs blog is a strange half triad, half complimentary of yellow and blue (the primary triad) and green (complimentary of red, which would normally complete the primary triad). The links are in a dark red-purple. The effect of all these bright colors is a cheerful and inviting design, although my “designy sense” still kinda resists the unorthodox use of cyan, yellow, lime and red-purple as main colors.

This has been the sixth installment in Real World Examples of the elements of design. Previously covered have been line, shape, space, scale, texture and value. Next, we’ll go over color in a little more detail.

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