It would be impossible to compress all there is about color into one article, but we can go over the basics that every designer and do-it-yourself person needs to know to create professional and successful projects using color.

Color theory encompasses a multitude of definitions, concepts and design applications, so as an introduction, let’s break everything down into a few basic concepts starting with:

The Color Wheel

There are many different kinds of color wheels you might see. Shown first is a “traditional” version of a color wheel with tints, tones and shades, while the color wheel shown beneath it goes from light to dark hues.

Red, Yellow and Blue

A color circle is based on the primary colors of red, yellow and blue, and in traditional color theory, these are the 3 pigment colors that can not be mixed or formed by any combination of other colors. All other colors are derived from these 3 hues.

Green, Orange and Violet (Purple)

Green, orange and violet (purple) are the colors formed by mixing the primary colors.

Red-orange, Yellow-orange, Yellow-green, Blue-green, Blue-violet, and Red-violet

These are the colors formed by mixing a primary and a secondary color. That’s why the hue is a two-word name, such as blue-violet, red-orange, and yellow-orange.

Reds, Oranges, and Yellows

are vivid and energetic, and tend to advance in space.

Greens, Blues, and Violets

give an impression of calm, and create a soothing impression.

So Now What?

With this basic color vocabulary in place you can begin to assess which colors best apply to your customers, and how best to leverage that knowledge to make better visual and emotional connections to them.

To be obvious: Children tend to prefer primary colors and simple layouts.

But take that a step farther and remember that the parent is going to be making the decision to buy.

So what to do?

Well good marketing data on your customers and their buying trends comes heavily into play, but common sense does too. Parents are going to buy something that they know will appeal to their child, so, back to primary colors and simple designs. \

It’s not just dumb luck that so many Sesame Street characters are primary colors.

Cookie Monster: Blue
Elmo: Red
Big Bird: Yellow

You get it.

So use your common sense, and do the best marketing research you can to make that emotional and visual connection as often as you can. It really is a vital component to marketing and one that the fashion industry makes billions on every year!

Don’t Ignore the Basics!

Now, I understand, I have probably revealed nothing new here, but you would be AMAZED at how many businesses I work with who are MORE than ready to bypass this incredibly easy-to-implement tactic.

Example: I changed the color and the design of an auto store’s logo and they had an increase in business by 7% in the first month! And that’s just ONE example of why color is important.

I’m sure you can come up with 1,000s of your own when you think about it.

Don’t ignore color. Don’t ignore the basics!

Try it – you’ll be happy you did.

Need Help? We can help

We’re always happy to help you out. At H.A.R. Marketing SEO and Design we have helped people with color and how to incorporate it into their businesses hundreds of times.

So never hesitate to contact us. We can get started in short order and see what we can do to increase your bottom line!


Hilary Rinaldi is a nationally published writer, and an award winning illustrator and graphic designer. She has been a Certified Search Engine Optimizer (SEO) since 2005. Hilary has developed and overseen national and international marketing campaigns, and regularly writes about Marketing, Graphic Design and Web Design, Illustration, Content Creation, and SEO. She strives to give the best advice she can while making it an enjoyable process for anyone who wants to learn.


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