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

There are few things in design that are more subjective—or more important—than the use of color. A color that can evoke one reaction in one person may evoke the opposite reaction in another, due to culture, prior association, or even just personal preference.

Color theory is a science and art unto itself, which some build entire careers on, as color consultants or sometimes brand consultants. Knowing the effects color has on a majority of people is an incredibly valuable expertise that designers can master and offer to their clients.

Understanding Concepts And Color Terminology Link

To use color effectively in your designs, you’ll need to know a few color concepts, as well as some color theory terminology. Ready for part 2? →1

There’s a lot to it, though. Something as simple as changing the exact hue or saturation of a color can evoke a completely different feeling. Cultural differences can compound those effects, with a hue that’s happy and uplifting in one country becoming depressing in another.

color star2

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 23 we’ll talk about how hue, chroma, value, saturation, tones, tints and shades affect the way we perceive colors. And in Part 34 we’ll discuss how to create effective color palettes5 for your own designs.

See Also:

Hex Color – The Code Side Of Color6

Warm Colors Link


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 (making it a secondary color), 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) Link


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 warning labels are often 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 Link

Nacache Design7
The bright red of the illustration on the homepage of Nacache Design8’s site gives the page a ton of energy and vibrancy.
Ming Labs9
The bright pinkish red of the background on Ming Lab10’s website is inviting and passionate.
Startup Lab11
The muted red on the Startup Lab12 website is energetic without being aggressive.
Bigsound Buzz13
Bigsound Buzz14’s website uses a monochromatic design of various shades and tones of red, which in this instance gives a poppy, retro vibe.
Build in Amsterdam15
Build in Amsterdam16’s website uses a vibrant red accent color that draws attention to the middle of the page immediately.

Orange (Secondary Color) Link


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. Orange is also strongly associated with creativity.

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 Link

Bitter Renter17
Bitter Renter18’s bright and bold home page takes full advantage of the energy that orange can provide to a design.
We Are Not Sisters19
We Are Not Sisters20’ dark orange, oversized typography makes an immediate impact.
Milk Street21
Christopher Kimball’s Milk Street22’s subtle use of orange as an accent color shows it can be used in more elegant and conservative designs.
Sbjct24 mixes a subtle peach color with a dark orange for a more monochromatic design that still has a lot of energy.
Robin De Niro25
Robin De Niro26 also uses a very light peach background with two shades of orange for the typography, in a much more understated design.

Yellow (Primary Color) Link


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 Link

Kettle28’s not-quite-true-yellow is lively and vibrant without being overwhelming.
Deskpass30 uses a slightly darker yellow, giving it an eye-catching but slightly muted look.
Toyfight32 uses a bright goldenrod background, but otherwise keeps their design simple and straightforward.
Milano Contract District33
Milano Contract District34’s website is simple and minimalist, with all of the impact of the design coming from the bright yellow background.
Susa Ventures35
Susa Ventures36 uses a goldenrod hue as an accent color in their typography to great effect.

Cool Colors Link


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).

Because of this, green takes 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) Link


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 Link

Memory is Our Homeland37
The site for Memory is Our Homeland38 uses a blue-green hue that’s energized by the yellow typography without being too bright.
Rhythm of Food39
The Rhythm of Food40’s site uses a bright kelly green that’s ideal for a site that ties together food and information.
Le Farfalle Osteria41
Rich, hunter green makes a great accent color on an elegant restaurant website like Le Farfalle Osteria42’s.
Anna Rosa Krau43
Anna Rosa Krau’s website44 has a soft sage green background, which works almost as a neutral for this portfolio.
HelloMind46’s bright green background is youthful and gives a sense of growth (in line with their product for improving your brain function).
Studio Farquhar47
Studio Farquhar48’s lime green accents are punchy and modern, and stand out in their minimalist layout.

Blue (Primary Color) Link


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, like navy, are excellent for corporate sites or designs where strength and reliability are important.

Examples Link

Future of Design49
The bright blue background of the Future of Design50 Survey results website homepage stands out, and is then used as an accent color throughout the rest of the site.
Versett52 uses a bright blue as the primary color on their website, along with a number of other bright hues to differentiate different sections.
Deep Mind53
Deep Mind54’s website uses various shades of blue for its background, giving it a trustworthy, authoritative feel.

Purple (Secondary Color) Link


In ancient times, the dyes used for creating purple hues were extracted from snails and were very expensive, so only royals and the very wealthy could afford them.

Purple is 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 lavender) 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.

Examples Link

Filippo Bello55
The first project in Filippo Bello’s portfolio56 uses a purple color scheme that adds to the sense of creativity.
One Shared House57
The site for the One Shared House58 documentary uses a vibrant shade of purple and hot pink accents to give a sense of energy, creativity, and imagination.
Content Stack59
On Content Stack60, reddish purple works great as an accent color against a neutral background, and draws attention to important page elements, like buttons.
The dark purple hues of Orbit61’s website give a sense of sophistication fitting their AI.
KIKK Festival62
Purple is the perfect hue for a creative endeavor like KIKK Festival 201663.

Neutrals Link


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 Link


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, when used as more than an accent or for text, 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 its neutrality. Black can make it easier to convey a sense of sophistication and mystery in a design.

Examples Link

The faded black (technically dark gray, but close enough to black that it makes sense to classify it as such) of the DUA65 website works beautifully in such a minimalist design.
Anonymous Hamburger Society66
Anonymous Hamburger Society67’s black background is a perfect canvas for the amazing food photos on the site.
Timothy Saccenti’s portfolio68
Many of the images on Timothy Saccenti’s portfolio69 are dominated by black, which is also the color of the transparent menu, giving the entire site an edgy, modern feel.
Minimal design with black used as an accent color gives Heco71’s site a super modern feeling.
The black hue used here73 along with the animation gives it an edgy, almost creepy feel.

White Link


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 healthcare industry, especially with doctors, nurses and dentists. White is associated with goodness, and angels are often depicted in white.

In much of the East, however, white is associated with death and mourning. In India, it is traditionally the only color widows are allowed to wear.

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 Link

Black And Wood74
Black & Wood75 uses white as both a background and an accent color (in their typography, for example), giving the site a very clean feel.
Nuno Coelho Santos76
The mostly white background of Nuno Coelho Santos77’s website contributes to the modern aesthetic.
Skylark79’s website uses white typography to lend the site a cleaner feeling without going minimalist in the design itself.
Spent81 uses white typography to lend a modern yet soft look to the site.
Dwell83 uses white as an accent color on their splash page, a very unique but effective choice for something that includes a CTA.

Gray Link


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 Link

The Round85 website is very modern, with various shades of gray used to delineate different sections of the site.
For Office USe Only86
The gray background on the For Office Use Only87 website is so subtle it almost appears white, and gives the site a very modern feel.
Gray takes on a sophisticated yet down-to-earth feeling on the Shinola89 website.
Sam Dallyn90
When mixed with modern typography, gray takes on a modern feel91.
Handsome Frank92
Gray is a perfect background color for a portfolio of illustrations93.

Brown Link


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 Link

Trefecta95 uses warm brown as an accent color for buttons and CTAs, an unexpected choice given the modernity of the rest of the design.
Yasuhiro Yokota96
The cream background and brown typography of Yasuhiro Yokota97’s portfolio site is warm and earthy, while still serving as just a good a backdrop for design work as shades of gray.
Off And On98
Off & On99 Barber Shop uses various brown elements for the bulk of their site, giving it an old-fashioned feeling.
Umbert Cessari100
Umbert Cessari’s website101 uses various shades of brown for accent colors throughout, giving it an earthy appeal.
Green Rebel102
Green Rebel103’s website uses brown for much of their typography and graphics throughout, as well as in some of the textures, lending an organic feel.

Beige and Tan Link


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 Link

People Map104
People Map105’s website uses a more gold shade of tan, giving the site an upscale feel, especially when combined with the site’s typography.
Plane Site106
Plane Site107’s warm tan background color feels modern without feeling minimalist.
La Pierre Qui Tourne108
La Pierre Qui Tourne109’s website uses a variety of shades of tan for their primary color palette, alongside some great brights for a very fun feeling design.
The Mile Inn110
The Mile Inn111 site combines modern typography with a beige and black color palette for a site that feels retro and hip.
Context Is Half The Work112
The tan accent color used on this site113 is entirely unexpected and gives it a Mid-Century Modern look.

Cream and Ivory Link


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 Link

Stefanie Bruckler114
The barely-there ivory background of Stefanie Bruckler’s portfolio115 site is a welcome change of pace from the typical neutral gray, giving it a timeless look.
Sainte Paix116
Rich cream feels like a very modern and even edgy accent color117 when used with a black background.
Techies Project118
Cream is an unexpected background color choice for a website focusing on those in the tech industry119, but gives it a warm, human touch.
The Lobster120
Considering how odd the film The Lobster121 is, their use of a pale off-white background for the website is an unexpectedly subdued choice that feels very modern.
Sweet Magnolia Gelato122
Sweet Magnolia Gelato123’s rich cream background is a perfect neutral for a warm and inviting design.

In Brief… Link

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 Link

The Whole Series Link

Footnotes Link

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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.

  2. 2

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

  3. 3

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

  4. 4

    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.

  5. 5

    nice work! thx

  6. 6

    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.

  7. 7

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

  8. 8

    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.


    • 9

      well said

    • 10

      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.

  9. 11

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

  10. 12

    Very usefull article with some good exampels thnx !

  11. 13

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

  12. 14

    great article. thx ;-)

  13. 15

    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?

    • 16

      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.

    • 17

      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.

  14. 18

    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.

  15. 19

    Thanks, i was just researching this kind of stuff!

  16. 20

    wow, great article, thank you!

  17. 21

    Rochelle Dancel

    January 28, 2010 4:02 am

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

  18. 22

    Great article, looking forward to the continuance!

  19. 23

    Great article!


  20. 24

    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.

  21. 26

    “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’…

  22. 27

    Mistyukevych Serge

    January 28, 2010 4:54 am

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

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

    Looking forward to continuance!

  23. 28

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

  24. 29


    January 28, 2010 5:22 am

    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.

  25. 30

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

  26. 31

    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.


  27. 32

    Antoine Butler

    January 28, 2010 6:23 am

    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. :)

  28. 33

    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 ( 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.

  29. 34

    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.

  30. 35

    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!

  31. 36

    Momentum Sports

    January 28, 2010 7:26 am

    Hey thanks for the mention! We are dependable!

  32. 37

    excellent article.

  33. 38

    inspiring and looking forward for the next article :)

  34. 39

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

  35. 40

    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?

  36. 41

    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!

  37. 42

    Riaan Knoetze

    January 28, 2010 8:37 am

    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,

  38. 43

    Cool insight and a great reminder for us

  39. 44

    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. :)

  40. 45

    Thomas Strobl

    January 28, 2010 9:25 am

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

  41. 46

    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.

  42. 47

    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.

  43. 48

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

  44. 49

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

  45. 50

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

  46. 51

    Very interesting article.

  47. 52

    Francis Baptiste

    January 28, 2010 11:28 am

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

  48. 53

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

  49. 54

    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?

  50. 55

    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

  51. 56

    Nice article! Very detailed.

  52. 57

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


  53. 58

    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!

    • 59

      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.

  54. 60

    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.

  55. 61

    Really good job! Waiting for more :)

  56. 62

    Design That Rocks

    January 28, 2010 1:54 pm

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

  57. 63

    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.

  58. 64

    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:

  59. 65

    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.

    • 66

      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?

  60. 67

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

  61. 68

    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.

  62. 69

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

  63. 70

    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)

    • 71

      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!!

    • 72

      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.

  64. 73

    Very use-full article with some good examples thanks !

  65. 74

    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 ..

    Correct me if I am wrong..


  66. 75


  67. 76


  68. 77

    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
    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!

  69. 78

    this is a very useful info for web designer.

  70. 79

    nice work! thx

  71. 80

    Very use-full article with some good examples thanks !

  72. 81

    Woha ! this is huge..

  73. 82

    awesome stuff

  74. 83

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

  75. 84

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

  76. 85

    Excellent format and good examples. Great article!

  77. 86


    Its wonder full article… :)

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

  78. 87

    Great examples, thanks for the article.

  79. 88

    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).

  80. 89

    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.

    • 90

      The Flying Animator

      December 8, 2011 6:40 am

      And what happens when you try to print a design you created on the computer???

  81. 91

    James Kurtz III

    January 29, 2010 5:13 am

    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.

    • 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.

  82. 94

    Leonardo Mateus

    January 29, 2010 5:15 am

    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!

    • 95

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

      • 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.

      • 97

        Carlos Pacheco

        January 29, 2010 8:34 am

        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!

  83. 98

    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!

  84. 99

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

  85. 100

    Kresna Akhmadi

    January 30, 2010 12:35 am

    Perfect article, it’s reveal all i need

  86. 101

    Nice example of website lists.

  87. 102

    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.

  88. 103

    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 :)

  89. 104

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

  90. 105

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

  91. 106

    Great Article!

  92. 107

    @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…

  93. 108

    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

    • 109

      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

  94. 110


    January 30, 2010 7:30 am

    nicely done! very informative mucho!

  95. 111

    Thanks for Sharing Some great Links

  96. 112


    January 30, 2010 5:38 pm

    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.


  97. 113

    Ismail Biltagi

    January 31, 2010 2:43 am

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

  98. 115

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

  99. 116

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

  100. 117

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

  101. 118

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

  102. 119

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

  103. 120

    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.

  104. 121

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

    From Myanmar

  105. 122

    Ekrem Büyükkaya

    January 31, 2010 5:18 pm

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

  106. 123

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

  107. 124

    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.

  108. 125

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

  109. 126

    no pinks?

    great article though.

  110. 127

    i love this entry!

  111. 128

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

  112. 129

    Great article! Thanks for sharing with us.

  113. 130

    Excellent job Cameron!
    Thanks alot = )

  114. 131

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

  115. 132

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

  116. 133

    Ashutosh Shukla

    February 4, 2010 3:20 am

    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.


  117. 134

    George Birbilis

    February 6, 2010 9:53 am

    an oasis for our tired eyes :-)

  118. 135

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

  119. 136


    February 6, 2010 2:47 am

    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

  120. 137

    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 =)

  121. 138

    Dave Wilkinson

    February 8, 2010 2:16 pm

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

  122. 139

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

  123. 140

    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.”

  124. 141

    Can’t wait for the third one! :D

  125. 142

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

  126. 143

    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”.

  127. 144

    Aravind Jose T

    February 9, 2010 10:25 am

    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.


  128. 145

    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!)

  129. 146

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

  130. 147

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

  131. 148

    This is really great. Thanks!

  132. 149

    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?

  133. 150

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

  134. 151

    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”).

  135. 153

    “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!

  136. 154

    Cool…nicely :)

  137. 155

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

  138. 156

    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!

  139. 157

    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.

  140. 158

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

  141. 159

    Nabil Moosa

    March 1, 2010 4:22 am

    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!

  142. 160

    Borden Rhodes

    March 14, 2010 1:02 am

    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.

  143. 161

    Gordon Gregory

    March 17, 2010 3:32 pm

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

    I have bookmarked the site to refer back.


  144. 162

    Mohmmad Zakaria

    March 18, 2010 8:40 am

    Thank you Cameron for this Great Info

  145. 163

    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 =)

  146. 164

    Nice article, Found it usefull

    Hope this continues


  147. 165

    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.

  148. 166

    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.

  149. 167

    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

  150. 168

    pretty good info thanks!

    im trying to find a colour theory class any clues?

  151. 169

    very2 use full…..thankks

  152. 170

    Useful information for printing students. Very good.

  153. 171

    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

  154. 172

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

  155. 173

    CH. Lalit Mehla

    August 31, 2010 11:05 pm

    amazing article

  156. 174

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

  157. 175

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

  158. 176


  159. 177

    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 :)

  160. 178

    Very Very useful
    thx for Ex

  161. 179

    very useful.

  162. 180

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

  163. 181

    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.

  164. 182

    great article! very much thnxs!

  165. 183

    Brett Widmann

    November 6, 2010 6:46 pm

    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.

  166. 184

    very exciting!
    very useful

  167. 185

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

    great post!!!

  168. 186

    Very very effective designs

  169. 187

    very good for web proffessionals ………

  170. 188

    Nice tutorial with examples

  171. 189

    vailanka antao

    January 27, 2011 10:41 pm

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

  172. 190

    Christian Roman

    February 10, 2011 7:19 am

    This article helped me immensely.

  173. 191

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

  174. 192


    March 2, 2011 1:47 am

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

  175. 193


    March 2, 2011 1:54 am

    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.

  176. 194


    March 2, 2011 2:03 am

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

  177. 195

    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.

  178. 196

    Very helpful. I needed this for a school project.

  179. 197

    dipendra kumar

    March 28, 2011 8:55 am

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

  180. 198

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

  181. 199

    Noah Buckingham

    April 5, 2011 8:33 am

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

  182. 200

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

  183. 201


    April 6, 2011 7:28 am

    This is stupid. I didn’tlike it.

  184. 202

    Noah Buckingham

    April 11, 2011 11:06 am

    Your stupid and I dont like you

  185. 203

    Noah Buckingham

    April 11, 2011 11:06 am

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

  186. 204

    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?

  187. 205

    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.

  188. 206

    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.

  189. 207

    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.


    • 208

      khushboo chandak

      March 7, 2012 5:26 am

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

      • 209

        Green is a primary colour in the light.
        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

    • 211

      Tal Ben-Ari

      June 6, 2013 7:33 am

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

    • 212

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

    • 213

      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!

  190. 214

    An Eye opener for designer

  191. 215

    thnx a ton… it is very useful ..

  192. 216

    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.

  193. 217

    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.

  194. 218

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

  195. 219

    Ecelent!, thanks for this amazing article very instructive

  196. 220

    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.

  197. 221

    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

  198. 222

    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 :-)

  199. 223

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

  200. 224

    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.

  201. 225

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

  202. 226

    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.

  203. 227

    Great Article! Very precise and informative. Thanks.

  204. 228

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

  205. 229

    Aparna Naik

    June 12, 2012 2:09 pm

    Really Helpful….Thank you…!

  206. 230

    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.

  207. 231

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

  208. 232

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

  209. 233

    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 ( . 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.

  210. 234

    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.

  211. 235

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

  212. 236

    Cool website

  213. 237

    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.

  214. 238

    Thank you for posting this!

  215. 239

    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!


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