It goes without saying that the use of color is an important aspect when it comes to design. The correct use of color can make a break a design especially when said design is created for branding or marketing purposes.

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. Knowing the effects color has on most people is an incredibly valuable expertise that designers can master and offer to their clients.

Color theory is an immense topic. Going too in depth on the ins and outs of color theory would be too long for such a small blog as ours. Instead, this will be a two-part article where wee will first give you a brief rundown on the different types of color families as well as what they’re usually used for when creating your designs. We’ll go a bit more in depth on the ins and outs of color theory in part 2.


  • 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. Use warm colors in your designs to reflect passion, happiness, enthusiasm, and energy.


  • 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 modest. Use cool colors in your designs to give a sense of calm or professionalism.


  • Neutral colors include black, white, grey, brown, beige, tan, cream and ivory. They 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.

To sum it up, color theory is as much about the feeling a particular color shade causes a particular person to feel. Here’s a quick reference guide for the common meanings of some of the colors:

  • 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

So, in short, we can conclude that choosing the correct colors can have a major impact on your design choices. When figuring out the colors to use in your designs and other creative projects, search for inspiration all around you. Look outside and take in the natural hues or observe established works of art across all disciplines to see colors combinations you might not have thought of originally. Step outside of your color comfort zone if you want to conjure up some truly eye-catching palettes.


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