Color Theory for Designers, Part 1: The Meaning of Color

Advertisement

Color in design is very subjective. What evokes one reaction in one person may evoke a very different reaction in somone else. Sometimes this is due to personal preference, and other times due to cultural background. Color theory is a science in itself. Studying how colors affect different people, either individually or as a group, is something some people build their careers on. And there’s a lot to it. Something as simple as changing the exact hue or saturation of a color can evoke a completely different feeling. Cultural differences mean that something that’s happy and uplifting in one country can be depressing in another.

color star

This is the first in a three-part series on color theory. Here we’ll discuss the meanings behind the different color families, and give some examples of how these colors are used (with a bit of analysis for each). In Part 2 we’ll talk about how hue, chroma, value, saturation, tones, tints and shades affect the way we perceive colors. And in Part 3 we’ll discuss how to create effective color palettes for your own designs.

Warm Colors

warmcolors

Warm colors include red, orange, and yellow, and variations of those three colors. These are the colors of fire, of fall leaves, and of sunsets and sunrises, and are generally energizing, passionate, and positive.

Red and yellow are both primary colors, with orange falling in the middle, which means warm colors are all truly warm and aren’t created by combining a warm color with a cool color. Use warm colors in your designs to reflect passion, happiness, enthusiasm, and energy.

Red (Primary Color)

red

Red is a very hot color. It’s associated with fire, violence, and warfare. It’s also associated with love and passion. In history, it’s been associated with both the Devil and Cupid. Red can actually have a physical effect on people, raising blood pressure and respiration rates. It’s been shown to enhance human metabolism, too.

Red can be associated with anger, but is also associated with importance (think of the red carpet at awards shows and celebrity events). Red also indicates danger (the reason stop lights and signs are red, and that most warning labels are red).

Outside the western world, red has different associations. For example, in China, red is the color of prosperity and happiness. It can also be used to attract good luck. In other eastern cultures, red is worn by brides on their wedding days. In South Africa, however, red is the color of mourning. Red is also associated with communism. Red has become the color associated with AIDS awareness in Africa due to the popularity of the [RED] campaign.

In design, red can be a powerful accent color. It can have an overwhelming effect if it’s used too much in designs, especially in its purest form. It’s a great color to use when power or passion want to be portrayed in the design. Red can be very versatile, though, with brighter versions being more energetic and darker shades being more powerful and elegant.

Examples

darkcrimson

The dark shades of red in this design give a powerful and elegant feel to the site.

abstraktion

The true red accents stand out against the dark black background, and give a powerful and high-end feeling to the site.

bureau347

The very bright red accents on this site give a sense of energy and movement.

crowebdesignets

The dark red on this site, because it’s combined with grunge elements, seems more like the color of blood.

1mcreative

Dark red, when combined with white and gray, gives a very elegant and professional impression.

Orange (Secondary Color)

orange

Orange is a very vibrant and energetic color. In its muted forms, it can be associated with the earth and with autumn. Because of its association with the changing seasons, orange can represent change and movement in general.

Because orange is associated with the fruit of the same name, it can be associated with health and vitality. In designs, orange commands attention without being as overpowering as red. It’s often considered more friendly and inviting, and less in-your-face.

Examples

curiousromain

The bright orange box draws attention to its contents, even with the other bright red elements on the page.

alamofire

Orange is used here in its most obvious incarnation, to represent fire.

webdots

The dark orange, when set against the lime green, almost acts as a neutral and grounding color here.

neighborino

Orange is used here to give a friendly and inviting impression.

theplant

The orange accents here add a lot of visual interest and bring attention to the call to action.

Yellow (Primary Color)

yellow

Yellow is often considered the brightest and most energizing of the warm colors. It’s associated with happiness and sunshine. Yellow can also be associated with deceit and cowardice, though (calling someone yellow is calling them a coward).

Yellow is also associated with hope, as can be seen in some countries when yellow ribbons are displayed by families who have loved ones at war. Yellow is also associated with danger, though not as strongly as red.

In some countries, yellow has very different connotations. In Egypt, for example, yellow is for mourning. In Japan, it represents courage, and in India it’s a color for merchants.

In your designs, bright yellow can lend a sense of happiness and cheerfulness. Softer yellows are commonly used as a gender-neutral color for babies (rather than blue or pink) and young children. Light yellows also give a more calm feeling of happiness than bright yellows. Dark yellows and gold-hued yellows can sometimes look antique and be used in designs where a sense of permanence is desired.

Examples

foodtease

The bright yellow header and graphics used throughout this site give a sense of energy and positivity.

artvisiona

The light yellow is used almost as a neutral in the header here, and combined with the hand-drawn illustrations gives a very cheerful impresison.

cabomba

The bright yellow accents bring attention to the most important parts of this site.

pasikeitimai

The bright yellow sunflower reminds visitors of summer on this site, and combined with the antique-yellow background, it gives a homey and established feeling.

tangram

The bright yellow header here adds a bit of extra energy to this design.

Cool Colors

coolcolors

Cool colors include green, blue, and purple, are often more subdued than warm colors. They are the colors of night, of water, of nature, and are usually calming, relaxing, and somewhat reserved.

Blue is the only primary color within the cool spectrum, which means the other colors are created by combining blue with a warm color (yellow for green and red for purple). Greens take on some of the attributes of yellow, and purple takes on some of the attributes of red. Use cool colors in your designs to give a sense of calm or professionalism.

Green (Secondary Color)

green

Green is a very down-to-earth color. It can represent new beginnings and growth. It also signifies renewal and abundance. Alternatively, green can also represent envy or jealousy, and a lack of experience.

Green has many of the same calming attributes that blue has, but it also incorporates some of the energy of yellow. In design, green can have a balancing and harmonizing effect, and is very stable. It’s appropriate for designs related to wealth, stability, renewal, and nature. Brighter greens are more energizing and vibrant, while olive greens are more representative of the natural world. Dark greens are the most stable and representative of affluence.

Examples

rubberdesign

The extremely muted greens of this site give it a very down-to-earth and natural feeling.

ligonier

The bright green header of this site mixed with the leaf motif gives it a very natural and vibrant feeling.

plantwithpurpose

The more olive-toned green of this site gives it a natural feeling, which is very appropriate for the content.

iavion

The brighter, more retro-looking greens of this site give it a very fresh, energized feeling.

baynature

Another olive green site with a very natural feeling.

Blue (Primary Color)

blue

Blue is often associated with sadness in the English language. Blue is also used extensively to represent calmness and responsibility. Light blues can be refreshing and friendly. Dark blues are more strong and reliable. Blue is also associated with peace, and has spiritual and religious connotations in many cultures and traditions (for example, the Virgin Mary is generally depicted wearing blue robes).

The meaning of blue is widely affected depending on the exact shade and hue. In design, the exact shade of blue you select will have a huge impact on how your designs are perceived. Light blues are often relaxed and calming. Bright blues can be energizing and refreshing. Dark blues are excellent for corporate sites or designs where strength and reliability are important.

Examples

sman96

The dark blues give this a feeling of reliability, while the brighter and lighter blues keep it from feeling staid.

industrialmedia

The dark blue gives this a site a professional feeling, especially when combined with the white background. But the lighter blue accents add a bit more interest.

aandesigners

The bright, sky blue of this site gives it a young and hip feeling, which is emphasized by the reddish accents.

mightydream

This site combines a range of blues, which gives it a refreshing feeling overall.

fernandosilanes

The light, muted blue of this site gives a very relaxed and calm impression.

Purple (Secondary Color)

purple

Purple was long associated with royalty. It’s a combination of red and blue, and takes on some attributes of both. It’s associated with creativity and imagination, too.

In Thailand, purple is the color of mourning for widows. Dark purples are traditionally associated with wealth and royalty, while lighter purples (like lavendar) are considered more romantic.

In design, dark purples can give a sense wealth and luxury. Light purples are softer and are associated with spring and romance.

asprey

The dark shade used here evokes the royal heritage of purple, which is very appropriate for the Asprey luxury goods brand.

avantgrape

The light and medium purples here work well to convey a sense of creativity.

monumentmall

The brighter, more reddish purple of this site gives it both a rich and energetic look.

ianjamescox

The dark purple background here adds to the creative feeling of the overall site.

alice

The dark purple accents on this site give a sense of luxury and refinement.

Neutrals

neutralcolors

Neutral colors often serve as the backdrop in design. They’re commonly combined with brighter accent colors. But they can also be used on their own in designs, and can create very sophisticated layouts. The meanings and impressions of neutral colors are much more affected by the colors that surround them than are warm and cool colors.

Black

black

Black is the strongest of the neutral colors. On the positive side, it’s commonly associated with power, elegance, and formality. On the negative side, it can be associated with evil, death, and mystery. Black is the traditional color of mourning in many Western countries. It’s also associated with rebellion in some cultures, and is associated with Halloween and the occult.

Black is commonly used in edgier designs, as well as in very elegant designs. It can be either conservative or modern, traditional or unconventional, depending on the colors it’s combined with. In design, black is commonly used for typography and other functional parts, because of it’s neutrality. Black can make it easier to convey a sense of sophistication and mystery in a design.

Examples

djalexander

The black accents, mixed with the brighter colors and very dark brown background add an edgier look to the overall design.

reducetuhuella

Black, when mixed with icy blues, looks colder.

mediasoldier

The black here, mixed with dark grays and lime green, and an overall grungy theme, adds to the edginess of the design.

markwallis

The black accents here add an extra layer of sophistication and modernity to the site.

theswishlife

The strong black accents on this site add to the overall sophistication of the design.

White

white

White is at the opposite end of the spectrum from black, but like black, it can work well with just about any other color. White is often associated with purity, cleanliness, and virtue. In the West, white is commonly worn by brides on their wedding day. It’s also associated with the health care industry, especially with doctors, nurses and dentists. White is associated with goodness, and angels are often depicted in white.

In design, white is generally considered a neutral backdrop that lets other colors in a design have a larger voice. It can help to convey cleanliness and simplicity, though, and is popular in minimalist designs. White in designs can also portray either winter or summer, depending on the other design motifs and colors that surround it.

Examples

fuelhaus

The white on the Fuelhaus site is used to contrast against the electric blue.

chamainc

White backgrounds are very popular on minimalistic sites, and provide great contrast to black typography.

clearleft

Here, white is used as an accent color, which lightens the overall effect of the site.

timeger

White combined with gray gives a soft and clean feeling to this design.

ocvision

Again, white used as a background lightens the whole design.

Gray

gray

Gray is a neutral color, generally considered on the cool end of the color spectrum. It can sometimes be considered moody or depressing. Light grays can be used in place of white in some designs, and dark grays can be used in place of black.

Gray is generally conservative and formal, but can also be modern. It is sometimes considered a color of mourning. It’s commonly used in corporate designs, where formality and professionalism are key. It can be a very sophisticated color. Pure grays are shades of black, though other grays may have blue or brown hues mixed in. In design, gray backgrounds are very common, as is gray typography.

Examples

adrianpelletier

Light gray gives a very subdued and quiet feeling to this design.

symphony

The light gray background here adds to the modern feeling created by the typography.

nosotros

The cooler gray on this site gives a modern, sophisticated feel to the site.

aside

The dark gray backround and lighter gray typography lend a decidedly modern look to this design.

sheriardesigns

The wide spectrum of gray shades used in this design combine to give a sophisticated and professional look to the site.

Brown

brown

Brown is associated with the earth, wood, and stone. It’s a completely natural color and a warm neutral. Brown can be associated with dependability and reliability, with steadfastness, and with earthiness. It can also be considered dull.

In design, brown is commonly used as a background color. It’s also seen in wood textures and sometimes in stone textures. It helps bring a feeling of warmth and wholesomeness to designs. It’s sometimes used in its darkest forms as a replacement for black, either in backgrounds or typography.

Examples

ridemomentum

The grayish-brown here lends a sense of responsibility and dependability.

tabororthopedics

The orangish-brown here gives a very earthy and dependable feeling.

leliathomas

The dark brown used in the background here lends an earthy and steadfast look to the overall layout, and lets the brigher colors in the design really get to stand out.

austintownhall

Woodgrain is a popular use of brown, and in this case the warm brown adds some friendliness to an otherwise minimalist site.

dcraigmusic

The grayish-brown background here lends a feeling of stability and down-to-earthness.

Beige and Tan

tan

Beige is somewhat unique in the color spectrum, as it can take on cool or warm tones depending on the colors surrounding it. It has the warmth of brown and the coolness of white, and, like brown, is sometimes seen as dull. It’s a conservative color in most instances, and is usually reserved for backgrounds. It can also symbolize piety.

Beige in design is generally used in backgrounds, and is commonly seen in backgrounds with a paper texture. It will take on the characteristics of colors around it, meaning it has little effect in itself on the final impression a design gives when used with other colors.

Examples

hellocarsonified

The light tan background here feels young and fresh because of the bright colors around it.

calicott

The light tan background here lends a more conservative and elegant feeling to the overall design.

spreadfirefox

The yellowish tan background is made even warmer by the orange and brown accents throughout this site’s design.

tarabrooch

Tan is popularly used as a paper-bag texture, and in its more grayish form as a concrete or stone texture.

tonyleighton

The beige header background and other accents on the site lend a refined and traditional feeling to the overall design.

Cream and Ivory

ivory

Ivory and cream are sophisticated colors, with some of the warmth of brown and a lot of the coolness of white. They’re generally quiet, and can often evoke a sense of history. Ivory is a calm color, with some of the pureness associated with white, though it’s a bit warmer.

In design, ivory can lend a sense of elegance and calm to a site. When combined with earthy colors like peach or brown, it can take on an earthy quality. It can also be used to lighten darker colors, without the stark contrast of using white.

Examples

playattitude

The ivory background here has a warm quality that’s tempered by some of the cooler colors on the site.

artinmycoffee

The grayish-cream background here is made warmer by the orangish-brown accents.

musiccityunsigned

The cream background adds a sense of understated elegance this site would otherwise be lacking.

karijobe

The cream background here reinforces the antique theme that runs throughout the design’s graphics.

culinaryculture

The ivory combined with other light colors and jewely tones makes this site have a very elegant overall appearance.

In Brief…

While the information contained here might seem just a bit overwhelming, color theory is as much about the feeling a particular shade evokes than anything else. But here’s a quick reference guide for the common meanings of the colors discussed above:

  • Red: Passion, Love, Anger
  • Orange: Energy, Happiness, Vitality
  • Yellow: Happiness, Hope, Deceit
  • Green: New Beginnings, Abundance, Nature
  • Blue: Calm, Responsible, Sadness
  • Purple: Creativity, Royalty, Wealth
  • Black: Mystery, Elegance, Evil
  • Gray: Moody, Conservative, Formality
  • White: Purity, Cleanliness, Virtue
  • Brown: Nature, Wholesomeness, Dependability
  • Tan or Beige: Conservative, Piety, Dull
  • Cream or Ivory: Calm, Elegant, Purity

Further Resources

The Whole Series

↑ Back to top

Cameron Chapman is a professional Web and graphic designer with over 6 years of experience. She writes for a number of blogs, including her own, Cameron Chapman On Writing. She’s also the author of The Smashing Idea Book: From Inspiration to Application.

  1. 1

    Muhammad Usman Arshad

    January 28, 2010 2:57 am

    Great job Cameron. this is very helpful article, and of course I like the collection of website you have mention. thanks a lot for sharing a good resources.

    0
  2. 3

    Excellent article! Looking forward to see continue. Thank you a lot, Cameron!

    1
  3. 4

    It’s was very good understanding about colors..Excellent article! Thank u! :)

    0
  4. 5

    Awesome article Cameron. Another part is to find the perfect color. For this part I often use a Colour-Generator like the kuler from adobe.

    -1
  5. 6

    nice work! thx

    -1
  6. 7

    Great article. I often find myself trying to find the perfect colors to use for my designs, ending up using popular tools like adobe kuler or color schemer. This article (and the rest of the series) will surely help designers around making a more solid start on their projects. Keep it up on the next articles.

    0
  7. 8

    Great article! It’s very useful for designers to improve their design skill. Thank you so much cameron.

    -1
  8. 9

    I like these overviews but sometimes I think colour meanings are taken a bit too literal. I often get clients that pull up sites about colour meaning they have found when they have an issue with a colour I’ve used. (When dealling with a group of 10 people there is always someone doesn’t like the colour not because of its significance but really just out of personal choice. They search for a ‘colour definitions’ site until they find one that condemns the colour they have an issue with (red=blood, green=jealousy, blue=cold, yellow = cowardice etc etc) I think they miss out on two key considerations

    1. Context. How and where the colour is used. Looking at a page of solid red does not give the same feeling as having a red panel on a white page.

    2. Tones. People will often state blue means this and red means that – but what they don’t realise is that they tend to talk about the solid primary colour and that there are an infinite number of shades and tints of each colour. Grouping them all together against one base colour does not do them justice as each tint has its own distinct feeling.

    Sorry not having a go at the publisher, the more info out there the better. I just think sometimes ‘clients’ use good resources like this in an over simplified way.

    Cheers

    0
    • 10
    • 11

      While I agree with your comment, this article is only part 1 of a series. This one deals mostly with the basic emotions/feelings one gets from these colours. Hopefully the next articles will focus on context and toning. I hope some of Kandinsky’s and Itten’s research will be mentioned as well.

      0
  9. 12

    wow… that’s an amazing article, thanks cameron :)

    -1
  10. 13

    Very usefull article with some good exampels thnx !

    -1
  11. 14

    thanks!!! very helpful for designers… i also liked example sites u given looking for next parts :)

    -2
  12. 15

    great article. thx ;-)

    -2
  13. 16

    How about the perception and meaning colors, fot they are also culture related.
    meaning of yellow in europe is dffrent then the meaning of yellow in china.
    or am i wrong?

    -2
    • 17

      Very true about the tones of colors having different connotations around the globe. I was working for an agency a few years ago where we were designing a hospitality website for a client in Germany. After presenting the preliminary designs, the client rejected the hue of blue we had used throughout since it was the same that most all industrial equipment in that country is colored. I hope the next parts of this article touch more on these types of global color connotations.

      -2
    • 18

      It’s not that you’re wrong, it’s that you didn’t pay attention when you read the article, if you even bothered to read the article you’re criticizing. There’s more to an article than the summary list at the end. This was covered – in detail – throughout the entire article.

      -1
  14. 19

    I really like the examples. Most of the websites shown haven’t been on any of the lists yet. But I’m not sure the whole color theory facts are useful for designers. All of it is so general and belongs to the most basic design knowledge.

    -2
  15. 20

    Thanks, i was just researching this kind of stuff!

    -2
  16. 21

    wow, great article, thank you!

    -1
  17. 22

    This is a super useful article, especially for designers that have international clients.

    -2
  18. 23

    Great article, looking forward to the continuance!

    -2
  19. 24

    Great article!

    Bookmarked

    -2
  20. 25

    This article is a great example of how flawed basic color theory is:

    Do any of the red website examples raise the association of fire, violence or warfare?
    Do any of the orange examples raise the association of earth, autumn or health?
    Do any of the yellow examples raise the association of deceit or cowardice?

    Color theory is just a sales tool. Its value lies in enabling the designer to “talk the talk”. The real value of colours in webdesign – compared to product design – does not lie in single colours anyway, but in what colours you combine. Using a certain color on a white background will have a totally different effect from using the same color on a white background.

    This is why simplistic views of color theory like this are not only worthless, but much rather counter-productive. Color theory really is something that you can only use when you get into it VERY deep.

    What we need much more is an article on how to COUNTER color theory, because just as woodshed explained, color theory is used against designers a lot.

    Apart from this, great choice of websites.

    2
  21. 27

    “Do any of the yellow examples raise the association of deceit or cowardice?”

    Yellow always makes me think of warm sunshine. I guess it all depends on how you use the colour’s name in your language. Which I guess would mean it’s even harder to pick the right colour if you are pitching for an international audience. Yellow might represent one thing in the US, another in the UK, and other in Spain, India, Brazil…

    I believe that you have to design to look good and try not to pander to the clients colour phobias too much. Though you should always be able to back you choice with a better answer than ‘Well I like it’. Have something up you sleeve like ‘Well a lot of my clients say that Yellow makes them think of warm sunshine’…

    -1
  22. 28

    Mistyukevych Serge

    January 28, 2010 4:54 am

    Great!
    I’m like combination of black, red and white.
    That’s why I’m using it in my personal site design: mistyukevych.com
    As for me a little usage of red makes site more solid.

    Also I have found great usage of red color for whole site: expertscreative.com/
    (it’s again red/black/white color scheme).

    Looking forward to continuance!

    -1
  23. 29

    Hei! congrats for this post, very helpfull! Great example and suggestions that i’ll use in my next work.
    Bye
    Thanks
    G.

    -2
  24. 30

    Cameron, this is one of the best articles I’ve read in a while. To help with a recent creative slump, I’ve been on the lookout for inspiration. I believe this article will help, alot. Thanks a bunch.

    -1
  25. 31

    I like how you use a website using an elegant theme instead of linking directly yo elegant themes’s lumin page.

    0
  26. 32

    I thought this might tend to be like all other “Color Theory” articles that are posted elsewhere online. However, this reads well and the examples provided show off well. Plus I like the Condensed Quick-Read version at the end.

    Awesome.

    -1
  27. 33

    I think it’s worth noting that much of the power in color theory is fighting the colors default meaning. Online and off, what colors generally represent is common knowledge. You don’t think about it, but you make the associations automatically. Blue for trust and a sense of officialness, Red for sex and passion etc etc.

    The key is to not fall victim to the colors’ accepted meaning. Push the limit through contrast and texture. If design communicates, color can’t solely define. Most of the sites here do exactly that. IMO.

    Oh and thanks for featuring 1M Creative. :)

    -1
  28. 34

    There are certain colors that definitely mean something. Like a toxic pink represents lot of modernism, and is still a brave thing to spot. That’s why we made our website (whitehatsweb.com) pink. Our other gallery site Footerama is a subtle ode to noir film posters (Futurama – Footerama, film connection, you got it!) hence the red as a tribute to Saul Bass.

    -1
  29. 35

    That was a very useful article with some nice practical examples. I’ve actually taken some color theory classes and there is much to the subject, but you managed to pack in some of the key points.

    -2
  30. 36

    WHOSE RESPONSIBLE COLOR?

    -2
  31. 37

    Color theory is fascinating, and even more so when you take it to the level of color pairing and how that can affect the message you are sending. Awhile back I wrote a blog solely about the color blue, and how pairing it with different colors can help change the meaning. Check it out if you are interested!

    microarts.com/culture/branding-insights/2009/11/vast-ocean-of-blue.php/?s=bl

    -1
  32. 38

    Hey thanks for the mention! We are dependable!

    -2
  33. 39

    excellent article.

    -2
  34. 40

    inspiring and looking forward for the next article :)

    -2
  35. 41

    Wonderful article.
    I always spend lot of time with colors.
    You saved many hours SM :)
    Waiting for the next part :)

    -2
  36. 42

    I live the article.
    Looking forward to the next parts :)

    -2
  37. 43

    Just noted a small error – “The true red accents stand out against the dark red background…”. I think you mean dark BLACK or GREY background?

    -2
  38. 44

    Brilliant article.
    I am in the process of redesigning my company’s website, choosing the colors and all that, and this was a great help in seeing other designs and how to work colors together. Great job, guys!

    -2
  39. 45

    Hiya Cameron,
    First things first: good article – enjoyed it thoroughly!

    As a South African, I’m confused as to why you think that red is the colour of mourning in my country – could you shed some light on this?

    Thanks in advance,

    -2
  40. 46

    Cool insight and a great reminder for us

    -2
  41. 47

    Nice article. Good to see that you have also included examples for various colors. I hope you will you will also touch upon various color schemes like monochromatic, analogous, complementary and split-complementary in this series. :)

    -2
  42. 48

    Very interesting article! Thanks a lot for your effort.

    -2
  43. 49

    THAT is the kind of quality I expect of SM. thanks a lot.

    -2
  44. 50

    Nice start. I took “Color Theory” in school. That what the most intense and pivotal class of all my foundations. I am looking forward to your discussion on saturation, tints and shades.

    -2
  45. 51

    Xaliber von Reginhild

    January 28, 2010 9:58 am

    Nice post.

    But why the lateness? I thought knowledge as principal as in this should have been dwelling in SmashingMagz years ago. The color theory is the most important thing to know before all else for any designer.

    -2
  46. 52

    This was a great read! I’m excited to read the next installment!

    -2
  47. 53

    This list is a great reference when mood is important to a design (which is always!). Thanks for doing the leg work :-)

    -2
  48. 54

    great job! thanks, looking fwd to next parts :)

    -2
  49. 55

    Very interesting article.

    -1
  50. 56

    This article was way better than my Color Theory class at school. I learned more reading this than in that entire class.

    -2
  51. 57

    Nice article. Important information that every designer should know. I’ll be looking for the next two installments.

    -2
  52. 58

    Kristian McIntyre

    January 28, 2010 12:06 pm

    Thanks for the article. I’ve created work for a client that views red = hot and blue = cool. A common perception indeed but what color is your can of ice cold Coke?

    -2
  53. 59

    Yeah this is a great article, I like all the pictures and examples, very visually pleasing. You guys have the best images with your posts. Also, I read a similar article for those who are interested

    websitecomplex.com/blog/choosing-the-right-colors-to-represent-your-website

    -2
  54. 60

    Nice article! Very detailed.

    -2
  55. 61

    Really Great Article! and very well explain, I all be waiting for part 2/3

    thanks

    -1
  56. 62

    WOW! I can’t believe how wrong you got this.

    Red, Yellow and Blue are NOT primary colours as is commonly understood within the same colour model. It is important to distinguish between the additive (RGB) and subtractive (CMYK) colour models. Red & Blue are from the additive model and Yellow is from the subtractive model, they are not the 3 parts of a single model

    Your monitor that you are looking at right now creates all the colours you see with Red, Green and Blue which are the primary colours in an additive colour model.

    Cyan, Yellow, and Magenta are the primary colours of pigments of inks in the subtractive colour model and are the ones used in print shops around the world.

    Don’t believe me? Check your colour palette in photoshop!

    -2
    • 63

      hey Michael ..

      I was wondering why people are just keep on praising the article without checking the proper credibility. Indeed its a great effort and I truly appreciate it but at the same time you have pointed out the genuine mistakes that author has written.

      I now have some doubt on author’s experience about color theory.. :) Well I would like to suggest to go and check this link for a better understanding of color theory. Correct me if I am wrong..

      http://www.dpbestflow.org/node/286

      -1
    • 64

      Indeed, and green is not a secondary color. In fact, quite the opposite, green is the single most important color, as it accounts for 50% of visual perception in our retina’s cones, followed by red, then blue.

      -1
  57. 65

    I love the list of sites that accompany this article, but if you dont know all of this already you shouldn’t be a designer, period. This should all be very intuitive.

    -1
  58. 66

    Really good job! Waiting for more :)

    -1
  59. 67

    Design That Rocks

    January 28, 2010 1:54 pm

    Excellent post. Very interesting interpretations and examples. Nice work!

    -1
  60. 68

    I hope in a future installment you’ll cover color blindness, and particularly foreground/background contrast issues.

    For example, several of the dark background colors in your examples look black to me, and non-bold red text on a dark red background is very hard for some of us to read. And roughly 7 to 10 percent of men (and a much smaller percentage of women) have some form of color blindness, so if you don’t take this into account when you’re picking colors, you may be losing up to a tenth of your audience.

    0
  61. 69

    Really interesting comment on color blindness, Jed! I’d love to read a posting about that!
    Here’s another blog post about color theory, if you’re interested: microarts.com/culture/branding-insights/2009/11/vast-ocean-of-blue.php/?s=tl

    -1
  62. 70

    Great article. Color schemes in design often gets overlooked.

    -1
  63. 71

    That’s a very Eurocentric view of colors- if your audience is coming from China, Korea, or Japan all of your generalizations are dead wrong.

    -1
    • 72

      Did you even read the article, where it is mentioned a zillion times that color meanings vary around the world (with specific examples, including Japan, Egypt, and Thailand)? Or did you just skip the reading and decide to take offense?

      -1
  64. 73

    I was a color-theory-enthusiast back in the uni. Thanks for reminding me!

    1
  65. 74

    The Dark Crimson designer needs to put a period at the end of that sentence. And work on his grammar. It’s not ’00′s, it’s ’00s. And capitalize his proper nouns — it’s Flash, not flash.

    -4
  66. 75

    Excellent article… very very useful…. Thank You :)

    -1
  67. 76

    With the greatest of repect, while I agree with most of your comments about various colors, you labelled the article Color Theory, and your theory is wrong in relation to the web. The web being screen based is an additive medium, and in the additive world primary colors are Red. Green and Blue, secondary colors are Cyan (Blue + Green), Magenta (Blue + Red) and Yellow (Red + Green)

    -1
    • 77

      As i already said… i agree with you!! But just because its shows screen web examples. If they´ve put some addictive examples as the CYMK scheme colors would be ok :D instance of that pretty good article!!

      -1
    • 78

      This. Goethe’s color wheel (the traditional standard), the wheel you are referencing for this theory was derived from a paper medium dictated by paints. Apple re-calibrated the color wheel not too long ago as it applied specifically to screens, or the additive wheel that Adrian mentions. Apples wheel was retooled to treat Red, Blue & Green as the primaries of the spectrum, as those are the three colors that screens use to make every other color in the wheel… It also lends greater weight to spectrum, and doesn’t treat colors as an equal split. Meaning that say, Magenta occupies a far greater percentage of the wheel than Yellow, which is almost non-existent. It’s why Pixars color palettes where so much more alive than other animation houses at the time. They were the first to fully migrate to Apples wheel.
      Upon realizing this, both Adobe & Pantone tried to migrate over to Apples wheel and were met with a huge uproar from the traditional art community. Pantone switched back completely, and Adobe kind of played a middle ground. If you are on a Mac and are designing for the screen, make sure you are using Apple’s color Picker, and not Adobe’s. Preferences>General>Color Picker>Apple. It makes a huge difference when choosing complimentary and tertiary palettes.

      0
  68. 79

    Very use-full article with some good examples thanks !

    -1
  69. 80

    hey folks ..

    Its a great article, but from web design perspective the RGB color model is best suited rather than RYB color model.

    RYB color model which was initially develop with the help of printer, painter before there could be any explanation of color theory scientifically. But after studying the various color property the RGB and CMYK Color model was developed and widely deployed for the BEST possible outcome.

    FYI have look on this link ..

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Color_theory
    http://www.dpbestflow.org/node/286

    Correct me if I am wrong..

    Cheers
    hari

    -1
  70. 81
  71. 82

    awesomeness

    -1
  72. 83

    Knowledge of colors is very important for a designer and its good Cameron you have initiated such an article. Covering all areas of color theory in one post is impossible and we look forward for other parts.

    Few weeks back I wrote a post about logo and usage of colors in it, where I touched upon colors at high level since it was not the main subject of my post. Your posts can work as a detailed one my colors section :-) If you want to review the post
    deepikadutta.wordpress.com/2010/01/01/how-to-design-a-logo/
    and feel free to share your comments.

    It would be good if you can add how color changes its meaning from one part of globe to another, and also how color combination’ can change the meaning of a color.

    great going & waiting for more parts!

    -1
  73. 84

    awesome!
    this is a very useful info for web designer.

    -1
  74. 85

    nice work! thx

    -1
  75. 86

    Very use-full article with some good examples thanks !

    -1
  76. 87

    Woha ! this is huge..

    -1
  77. 88

    awesome stuff

    -1
  78. 89

    Nothing I didn’t know before; but a great accumulation! Bookmarked for reference

    -1
  79. 90

    IMO the best article ever written on SM :) Loved it
    Can’t wait till part 2 :)

    -1
  80. 91

    In my rookie year as a designer I had a packaging design review for a name brand product to be sold at a HUGE retailer. I spent weeks perfecting my design concepts and colors in preparation. At the conference table filled with executives the best design of the bunch (in my opinion) was instantly removed from consideration with one sentence uttered by the buyer, “purple is the Latin color for death.” No one even looked at that concept again. Except me, in shock, that he had dismissed my work so easily and casually. The lesson: know what your colors mean to all cultures! Great article.

    -1
    • 92

      I can feel that, James, but I think you have your conclusion wrong. All the colors can mean something negative in some culture. Especially if extinct cultures like the roman empire are included.

      The conclusion should rather be that color theory in its simplified version is just not a basis for proper decision making in the design process.

      Colors can ONLY be said to have a specific effect on the viewer if their context, their specific shade and a dozen other factors are included. Since that would be an utterly impractical model to use, it makes more sense for designers to concentrate on how to counter non-designers using oversimplified design theories to damage great work.

      -1
  81. 94

    BLUE means SADNESS ?!?!….Sorry, but I desagree… I think BLUE means sky, flying, happiness, dreams, calm (light blue)….
    But is a great reference… Bookmarked too… Thanks!

    -3
    • 95

      Blue DOES generally convey dark/sadness. Relating to design.

      -1
      • 96

        No it doesn’t. There’s the english idiom “I’m feeling blue.” which expresses sadness. But that doesn’t mean the color blue expresses sadness in design.

        In german, there’s the very common saying “I’m blue.”, which means “I’m drunk.”. But nobody in Germany would associate the color blue with alcohol because of that. And blue is hardly ever used for designing alcohol bottles.

        As with all of “color theory”, it is simply dead wrong to assign any meaning to a color without considering its context.

        0
      • 97

        Well… here in Brazil we remember the blue because our national flag (green, yellow and blue). In this case blue means the sky!

        Besides that we use the expression “Everything azul” on a direct translation, wich means that “everything is just fine”.

        So as you can see, guys, to assign any meaning to a color depends on the context as Chris have mentioned.

        Yep… this is a complex issue!

        -1
  82. 98

    Excellent format and good examples. Great article!

    -1
  83. 99
  84. 100

    Great article! I just read the whole thing. It took me at least 15 mins. Got inspired and learned some things. I wrote down the list for later reference. Thanks a lot!

    -1
  85. 101

    The red in the China,which makes me give a smile,cuz I am a chinese, Excellent format and good examples. Great article!

    0
  86. 102

    Website Design Contest

    January 29, 2010 7:01 am

    Excellent work!!! Everyone will get confused when coming to colors like how and which should be taken. But now after looking at your blog I got an idea as which color to use. I would use this in my site design and would enter into contest running by grafikguru.com.

    -1
  87. 103

    Hy,

    Its wonder full article… :)

    I got to know what colors to use and when to use it…

    -1
  88. 104

    Great examples, thanks for the article.

    -1
  89. 105

    While this might be a useful starting point for designers to learn cultural color associations, it’s not at all “color theory” in the strict sense. Red, yellow and blue might be “primary” colors in the common cultural context, but that’s completely incorrect and even harmful information for anyone trying to learn to create color formulae in software or mix inks. It would be helpful if you either retitled the piece, or included some proper RGB (additive) and CMYK (subtractive) charts off the top — as well as graphics that explain the concept of tints and shades (so-called 3D color space).

    1
  90. 106

    As designers, we should know that the RYB color wheel is outdated and incorrect. Hopefully they teach that in today’s design schools. Why include the words ‘color theory’ and then kill all credibility with such a glaring error? Why even mention the subtractive model?

    Let’s not misinform people just for the sake of a title. If you don’t know, don’t pretend; daddy will still let you play with your crayons.

    -1
  91. 108

    Nice example of website lists.

    0
  92. 109

    nice article… but seriously, this is Graphic Design Theory 101, not an article “for designers” as described. this would be helpful for the rest of the people, though

    And I also think that “meanings” of colors are not to be taken literally.

    0
  93. 110

    Color Theory for Designers, Part : The Meaning of Color

    Color in design is very subjective. What evokes one reaction in one person may evoke a very different reaction in somone else.

    Love the site :)

    0
  94. 111

    Great insight about colors, looking forward for other parts, i always am in search of the articles about colors.

    0
  95. 112

    Perfect article, it’s reveal all i need

    0
  96. 113

    This is exactly what I’ve been looking for. I think choosing right colors is hardest part of designing.

    -1
  97. 114

    Great Article!

    0
  98. 115

    @woodshed – I totally agree with you, the overall color scheme and feeling is what matter and what one solid color means.

    West and East meaning of colors – even in the Feng-Shui you can find examples of color combination between ‘bad’ colors to the situation and ‘good’ ones.

    Nice work, nice articles . I’m waiting for part 3…

    0
  99. 116

    Hi
    Interesting read, fascinating information. I’m new to this so I got two questions.
    Firstly, is there a term for the design of using two of the ‘same’ color with different brightness, e.g. goes gradually fra bright to dim from left to right?

    And call me dumb, but what’s the distinction between bright and light in color?

    thanks :D

    0
    • 117

      bright and light are not strictly color theory terms but…..
      a bright color would be high saturation high luminance, as in bright yellow
      a light color would be low saturation high luminance, as in light or pale yellow

      0
  100. 118

    nicely done! very informative mucho!

    0
  101. 119

    Dear Smashing Magazine, i hate it when i want to leave a comment and then have to scroll to the bottom of all comments to leave mine. I would much rather leave a comment at the top, as most of my comments will be to the article, not to someone else’s comment.

    Thanks.

    0
  102. 120

    Thanks for Sharing Some great Links

    0
  103. 121

    Great article :)
    but in Egypt Yellow is not a color for mourning !

    0
  104. 123

    Nice! I’ve learn much from this article! Thanks, cameron! :)

    0
  105. 124

    Thanks a lot. This is invaluable. I hope part-2 will be published soon.

    -1
  106. 125

    It’s was very good understanding about colors.. and very useful.Excellent article! Thank u! Cameron

    -1
  107. 126

    Fantastic read. I liked having all of those examples for each color.

    -1
  108. 127

    Bookmarked! thank you for the article, I like the examples. This article reminds me of school days where I studied psychology, about colors :)

    -1
  109. 128

    Ekrem Büyükkaya

    January 31, 2010 5:18 pm

    That is really awesome. Thank you for such a great tutorial!

    -1
  110. 129

    Thanks for the excellent article. The web samples really helped define the effects and emotions given by each color.

    0
  111. 130

    Good article. Maybe part 2 should be about colours and printing.

    Too many people want to print colours that are RGB but don’t understand that printers print CYMK. Or want a pantone colour on digital print job but don’t understand why CMYK will never match it exactly.

    Clients, designers & photographers alike sometimes want to achieve different colours that are outside the CMYK and pantone colour gamut but dont get that you cant print that.

    An article on this topic would be beneficial for a lot of people.

    0
  112. 131

    How come it hasn’t been mentioned that red can cause fatigue when used on websites?

    -1
  113. 132

    i love this entry!

    -1
  114. 133

    I heard green is neither cool nor warm. Since it’s a mix of blue (cool color) and yellow (warm color) depending on what it is associated to, its signification becomes warm or cool.

    -1
  115. 134

    Hi, Cameron.
    Thanks alot for this post and waiting for upcoming parts

    Cheers!
    Zeyar
    From Myanmar

    -1
  116. 135

    no pinks?

    great article though.

    -1
  117. 136

    Very nice article. I translated into my own language :P

    -1
  118. 137

    Great article! Thanks for sharing with us.

    -1
  119. 138

    Excellent job Cameron!
    Thanks alot = )

    -1
  120. 139

    russelpea stickers

    February 3, 2010 9:25 am

    Great work, thanks for all the examples.

    -1
  121. 140

    Excellent article, thank you so much for sharing! Saved it in my bookmarks, definitely a great resource…

    -1
  122. 141

    As a programmer learn a bit more about design, I find this article very helpful

    -1
  123. 142

    Nice !

    learnt a lot from the post, about colors and thier significance. First time I came across such a learning >> so desciptive in a very short duration.

    thanks.

    -1
  124. 143

    Thanks for the excellent article. I’ve learn much from this article.

    -1
  125. 144

    Wow, that was very inspiring!
    I too expected one of those standard teory pages. This was awesome.

    Thanks for your work, keep it up!

    best regards
    /Jocke

    -1
  126. 145

    an oasis for our tired eyes :-)

    -1
  127. 146

    I like the article a lot,, really good work.
    but i have one comment, coz im from Egypt, and we don’t use yellow for mourning as you mentioned! it is black that is associated with sadness and loss of loved ones, and of course mourning.
    so other than this great job =)

    -1
  128. 147

    What a great piece of work, many thanks, it was truly inspirational. Looking forward to part 2.

    -1
  129. 148

    Could you show some examples of colors that don’t work well on web sites? Or common color mistakes?

    -1
  130. 149

    I LIke it, even for who don get a job how web designer, this article was very good. I think was awesome!

    -1
  131. 150

    I have always loved using grey for its professional look. It’s good to know that I’m not the only one that thinks so.

    On a side note (and not to be a grammar Nazi, but I figure a magazine doesn’t mind help with editing…), there’s a grammatical error in this sentence: “It’s sometimes used in it’s darkest forms as a replacement for black, either in backgrounds or typography.” The second “it’s” should be a possessive “its”.

    -1
  132. 151

    When I was in college for advertising design we HAD to take color theory…it was a pre-rec for all design classes. My instructor was a little batty but said something that totally makes sense “Copy your design with a b/w copier, does the shades of gray look good? If not the color choices are wrong and dont complement each other. You need to follow the color wheel…only after you have mastered that can you break the color rules.”

    -1
  133. 152

    Can’t wait for the third one! :D

    -1
  134. 153

    Hey, great post…I feel like I am color blind, but I am not really color blind. I guess I am color slow. This is a very informative post, I am working on purchasing a new website designer and will need some color instruction. I will bookmark this post.

    Luke Spencer
    Pop’s Survival Guide

    -1
  135. 154

    The effort put into making something this awesome can NEVER be ignored.
    KUDOS and tons of Thanks for putting this up.

    Loved the Part 2 and Part 3 too.

    Cheers!

    0
  136. 155

    As an engineer, and mostly tech-type of guy, the color aspect of things has alwyas impressed (yet eluded) me. Thanks for the primer I needed. Now for Part 2 &3…….(can’t wait!)
    Thanks again for the effort to help those of us who are not designers by talent (or at least me!)

    0
  137. 156

    I love this article! I will focus your post continuously. Thank you!

    -1
  138. 157

    Yep. Yellow is not for mourning in Egypt. That’s black you’re talking about.

    -1
  139. 158

    This is really great. Thanks!

    0
  140. 159

    Though I find the article useful, I have one question about your first paragraph which makes me think you either don’t know what science is or you don’t know what subjective means. How can color theory be both subjective and scientific?

    -1
  141. 160

    awesome article. all I need now is a good CSS layout article.

    -1
  142. 161

    Typo/grammar error:

    It’s sometimes used in it’s darkest
    forms as a replacement for black,
    either in backgrounds or typography.

    The first “it’s” is correct (means “it is”), the second one should be “its” (meaning “belonging to it”).

    -2
  143. 163

    “Blue … has spiritual and religious connotations in many cultures and traditions (for example, the Virgin Mary is generally depicted wearing blue robes)”

    I think when Mary is depicted in blue (at least in Renaissance and older works), it’s a regal representation. If I’m recalling Art History correctly, the ingredients required to make a bright blue were some of the most rare, so this color was reserved only for very important individuals.

    Interesting tidbit!

    -1
  144. 164

    Cool…nicely :)

    -1
  145. 165

    Impressive article. Very well composed. Definitely part of my reference collection now. Thanks!!

    -1
  146. 166

    What an excellent article! As I have written seven books on color and am constantly updating information on my blog, I am always looking at meaningful, content-rich information on the web and you have accomplished that.It is also refreshing not to see some of the urban legends that are passed off as factual, for example, yellow causes irritation. There is not one study to justify that claim– it was started by someone who simply did not like the color!!
    Thank you again,
    Leatrice Eiseman
    Executive Director, Pantone Color Institute
    Director, Eiseman Center for Color Information and Training
    Eisemancolorblog.com
    http://www.colorexpert.com

    -1
  147. 167

    Such a great article! Color theory has never been explained so well and thanks for the examples. I am definitely going to bookmark this one!

    -1
  148. 168

    This article is really helpful for people to come up with good combination of colors when designing web pages/applications. Thanx for sharing such a nice article.

    -1
  149. 169

    Great article. It really makes you think about color. I not so sure I think of yellow as deceit or cowardice but rather joyous!

    -1
  150. 170

    This article is really inspiring for color-challenged designers like myself. This should actually be used as a beginners / standard article for amateur designers everywhere. Good work! Looking forward to more from your end!

    -1
  151. 171

    Good effort, but the article is fundamentally incorrect. Hue (red, yellow, violet) does not determine colour temperature; undertone does. Undertone is a more esoteric topic which make-up artists, decorators and image consultants use to explain why girls should only wear some kinds of red lipstick but not others or why the hunter green upholstery seems to clash with the lime green walls but not the burgundy pillows. The rule goes that colours with a yellow undertone are warm and colours with a blue undertone are cool. Ever wonder why aqua blue reminds you of a sunny beach and not a frozen lake? It’s because, although blue, it has a warm yellow undertone.

    -1
  152. 172

    Excellent article. I really got a lot out of the examples and the information presented.

    I have bookmarked the site to refer back.

    Thanks!

    -1
  153. 173

    Mohmmad Zakaria

    March 18, 2010 8:40 am

    Thank you Cameron for this Great Info

    -1
  154. 174

    Wow, just finally got around to reading the article and just noticed my buddy’s site was listed under the “neutral” section. Congrats to Trevor aka Media Soldier. 19 years old and he’s already making a huge name for himself. Keep an eye out on this up and coming talent =)

    -1
  155. 175

    Excellent,

    Thanks for this great article.
    http://www.colortools.net

    -1
  156. 176

    Nice article, Found it usefull

    Hope this continues

    Thanks

    -1
  157. 177

    I can’t believe you mention nothing about additive and subtractive color schemes. Red, yellow, and blue are NOT primary colors. You need to do some research because you do not understand color fundamentals.

    -7
  158. 178

    fascinating! I’m not a web designer, but I love to learn new things. I learned quite a bit here. On note though… a yellow ribbon is not really a cultural thing. It’s traced back to a cheesy song, “Tie a yellow ribbon around the old oak tree” by Tony Orlando and Dawn. It became associated with the hostage crisis in Iran and has since become a symbol of homecoming.

    -1
  159. 179

    http://colorbrewer2.org/ is a good website to test color combinations for maps… maybe it works for websites and other apps too.

    -1
  160. 180

    i like this one
    “The dark red on this site, because it’s combined with grunge elements, seems more like the color of blood.”
    in combination with people shapes, gives the power of people, labor force

    0
  161. 181

    pretty good info thanks!

    im trying to find a colour theory class any clues?

    -1
  162. 182

    very2 use full…..thankks

    -1
  163. 183

    Useful information for printing students. Very good.

    -1
  164. 184

    Hello, anyone can tell me about Earthy color? Is it brown with some orange?
    -Pastel Color
    -Retro Color
    -High-Tech color
    This 3, what color is belonging to them?

    Thanks for answering

    -1
  165. 185

    It’s was very good understanding about colors..Excellent article! Thank u!

    -1
  166. 186

    amazing article

    -1
  167. 187

    This stuff is very important to people involved in web design. I will probably even use this site as a reference for the future.

    -1
  168. 188

    Good Sample for the depicting color use and meaning thanks a lot

    -1
  169. 189

    incredible…

    -1
  170. 190

    i ahve read about colour and their meanings so many times. but giving examples of so many websites puts it in context. thanx a lot. was a refreshing read :)

    -1
  171. 191

    Very Very useful
    thx for Ex

    -1
  172. 192

    very useful.

    -1
  173. 193

    The red and dark gray layout is a really pro-looking one.

    -1
  174. 194

    I have read about color and their meanings so many times. but giving examples of so many websites puts it in context. thanks a lot.

    -1
  175. 195

    great article! very much thnxs!

    -1
  176. 196

    Knowing colors and how much they affect a design is so important. This is a great article to help understand color. I like the extra resources and examples too.

    0
  177. 197

    very exciting!
    very useful

    -1
  178. 198

    so many thanks!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    great post!!!

    -1
  179. 199

    Very very effective designs

    -1
  180. 200

    very good for web proffessionals ………

    -1
  181. 201

    Nice tutorial with examples

    -1
  182. 202

    hey very interesting ,thanks for your nice article .i am glad to read it

    -1
  183. 203

    This article helped me immensely.

    -1
  184. 204

    This article is very use full.
    thank u………

    -1
  185. 205

    you information is ok but i want you to include what colour can match the other. thanks.

    -2
  186. 206

    your article is ok and i love it but i want you to include what colour can match the other in terms of dressings . thanks.

    -1
  187. 207

    i love your article is nice but i want you to include what colour can match another in terms of dressing. thanks

    -1
  188. 208

    Good article. However, there are three colors – the primary colors, from which all colors are derived. ‘Black and White’ are not technically colors. Black is the absence of LIGHT, and thus is can not be a color. White however, does reflect light, and has been called a color… however, it is also devoid of any color unless seen in a spectrum.

    -1
  189. 209

    Very helpful. I needed this for a school project.

    -1
  190. 210

    colour is a very important to every designear , its locate the creativity an think of a designear

    1
  191. 211

    Thats super interesting.. god thanks for your creative beautiful mind

    -1
  192. 212

    Noah Buckingham

    April 5, 2011 8:33 am

    This is a great article. I love math and I am such a smart guy. YAY!!!!

    -1
  193. 213

    This is a great article. And that green background nailed it.

    -1
  194. 214

    This is stupid. I didn’tlike it.

    0
  195. 215

    Your stupid and I dont like you

    -2
  196. 216

    Sorry I didnt mean to put what I had before. That was my little brother

    -1
  197. 217

    I did an essay on colour and focused on red in college 1999. I remember reding this. Have you just copied all this out of one book?

    -1
  198. 218

    Overall, I thought the article was very informative and well written. It does give great insight into how colors affect the look, feel and overall message of a website. Whether that website is personal, corporate, or an eCommerce site. Well done.

    -1
  199. 219

    nice info. thanks

    -1
  200. 220

    No entiendo como se sigue utilizando la paleta de artista que generalizó Itten, como diseñadores gráficos deberíamos usar la paleta de impresión que incluye al cyan y al magenta.

    -1
  201. 221

    Hello Everyone,

    The article is so informative. It helps me to learn a lot about colors. Even the whole series of this article is good.

    However, I am wondering that it is written in the article that Green is secondary color. Is that so?

    I think Green is primary color. Please confirm, if I am wrong somewhere.

    Thanks.

    -4
    • 222

      khushboo chandak

      March 7, 2012 5:26 am

      Primary Colors are only red,yellow,blue & Secondary Colors are green, violet,orange

      -1
      • 223

        Green is a primary colour in the light.
        Primary
        Colours: Yellow, blue and red
        these make the secondary colours.
        green, purple and orange.
        In the light
        Primary: Green, Blue and Red
        then the secondary are
        purple yellow and brown

        0
    • 225

      You were absolutely right. I’m not sure why you got so many thumbs down.

      1
    • 226

      Green is the combination of blue and yellow. Both primary colors.

      0
    • 227

      Dear Nitesh, I think you are referring to RGB of the computer colors ~ where Red Green Blue are used for graphic designs vs CMYK for printing purposes!

      Please note that Red Yellow & Blue are the primary colors!

      Peace, Metal Up Your Life!

      0
  202. 228

    An Eye opener for designer

    -2
  203. 229

    thnx a ton… it is very useful ..

    -1
  204. 230

    In the colour photographic printing business the primary colours are blue, green and red. The secondary colours are yellow, magenta and cyan. Magenta is a combination of red+blue (your colour wheel shows it as violet) and cyan is blue+green (shown as blue-green). Printing a photograph on colour photographic paper (e.g.Kodak) is called additive when using the three primary colours, and subtractive when using the three secondary colours. However, your tutorial is excellent and is aimed at website creation, where things are a little different. Looking forward to part 2 and 3.

    1
  205. 231

    I have noticed that the color scheme of my blog had an effect upon my wanting to put up a post or not. That’s why I changed it to something more soothing yet happy instead of red and black, which was the color scheme before.

    -2
  206. 232

    Complete n lvly information about colors….that is really what i want……simply luv it :)

    -1
  207. 233

    Ecelent!, thanks for this amazing article very instructive

    -4
  208. 234

    You’ve got your colour spaces muddled up. Green is a PRIMARY colour of LIGHT. Its a SECONDARY colour of PIGMENT. So since you’re talking web sites, i.e. screens, they are made up of the 3 primary colours of light: red, green and blue. The pigment colour space does not apply (red, yellow, blue). By the way, did you know the primary colours of printing ink, cyan, magenta, yellow and black, are the secondary colours of light.

    8
  209. 235

    Amaizing guys i have sooo much liked every thing in terms of content from the different meanings of this colors,and to how they affect us in our design work,wuw let me go do some practice right away and by the way train the eye as well

    -4
  210. 236

    Good article. I am more of a structure builder (databases, programming), but now delve more into web design. This article is inspiring and useful. Thank you :-)

    -1
  211. 237

    Fantastic article series! Especially important for aspiring GDs.
    Thanks for sharing!

    -2
  212. 238

    What a great article laying out the colors, their moods and examples of how to use the color in web design. It was fun jumping back & forth with similar articles for home decorating, to see the similarities and differences.

    -2
  213. 239

    excellent article, very very helpful and descriptive!
    really well written.
    and the color analysis with the exams is great

    -3
  214. 240

    Excellent article series. Not just this one but all the articles in this series rocks. It’s good to have such articles for wanna be web/graphic designer like me.

    -3
  215. 241

    Great Article! Very precise and informative. Thanks.

    -3
  216. 242

    this has been really helpful. i’m and event planner, and sometimes trying to explain certain colours to clients can be quite hectic. thanks!

    0
  217. 243

    Really Helpful….Thank you…!

    -1
  218. 244

    realy good Article..
    RGB colors are primary colors for light and RYB colors are primary colors for painting.
    actully RYB colors are basic colors. these colors cannot be made from any other colors.
    mixing of RGB lights gives you white light. and mixing of RYB paint color gives you near to black gray or brown gray color.

    -1
  219. 245

    I want to study the UI, but I don’t know how to do it. Please tell me . Thank you

    -5
  220. 246

    Very helpful with some really amazing examples..Thanks a lot..

    -2
  221. 247

    I think too many designers globally assume that financial institutions ought to have a green color scheme. Context really matters, as I’ve tried to emphasize in the post: http://bit.ly/153ELid

    -2
  222. 248

    Nice article! I think, the problem, wether or not green is a primary color is the problem of differentiating between additive and substractive color mixing (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Additive_color http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Subtractive_color) . The first has red, green and blue as primary colors, the second red, yellow and blue. Printing uses subtractive mixing, computer monitors use additive. But since when designing a webpage, display technology doesn’t matter and screen design works a bit like print design, I’d say you could use both.

    0
  223. 249

    Great as a refresher for me. But I’m wondering, are you aware of any negatives for white, ivory, and cream? Anywhere in the world as well.

    0
  224. 250

    I love this article! The most comprehensive guide to color meaning I’ve read so far on the Net.

    0
  225. 251

    Cool website

    0
  226. 252

    I like colors because of the meaning they have. Maybe its because of the passion i have for flowers! thank you for the great information.

    0
  227. 253

    Thank you for posting this!

    0
  228. 254

    Dear Cameron Chapman, I am so grateful for this precise and informative theory on colors. I love all your articles, I learned so much!

    GOD Bless You Always!

    0

Leave a Comment

Yay! You've decided to leave a comment. That's fantastic! Please keep in mind that comments are moderated and rel="nofollow" is in use. So, please do not use a spammy keyword or a domain as your name, or else it will be deleted. Let's have a personal and meaningful conversation instead. Thanks for dropping by!

↑ Back to top