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Color and Design

Before we get to talk about color theory lets take a look at the Psychology of Some colors we make use of in our everyday design.


Courage Egbude

5 months ago | 4 min read

Color, it plays a vital role in design and everyday life, it has the ability to draw your eye to an image, invoke a certain mood or emotion, even communicate without the use of words.

So how do we know which colors look good together and which don’t ? that’s easy COLOR THEORY !!!

Before we get to talk about color theory lets take a look at the Psychology of Some colors we make use of in our everyday design.

Psychology of Colors

Photo by Daria Nepriakhina on Unsplash

RED: Its a color that's really captures attention. It’s basically the color behind a lot of success stories; Coca Cola, Ferrari F1 and let’s not forget Manchester united. It is used as a primary warning or error color in design.

Red is aggressive, exciting, passionate, dangerous and energetic.

Photo by 301+ Kim on Unsplash

BLUE: The color of the sea and the sky, it represents harmony, peace, calm and relaxation, it also brings a feel of trust. Making use of soft blue has a calming influence and a strong blue is energetic. Blue is majorly linked to social media such as Facebook, Twitter and Skype.

Tip: When going for your next interview, trying putting on blue it gives a feel of trust to your employer.

Photo by Scott Webb on Unsplash

GREEN: When we say green the first things that come to mind are growth, fertility, health, nature and let’s not forget wealth. Companies like Spotify and Starbucks use green to communicate youth and freshness.

Green basically screams success in design, it is mostly advisable to use green in success messages and also positive information while designing whether its UI or Graphic.

Photo by Brooke Lark on Unsplash

YELLOW: It is bright, cheerful and optimistic. It is the color of smiles and sunshine, if you’re ever looking to add positivity and freshness to your design, think yellow.

There are so many other colors such as Purple, Orange, White, Pink and Black, but we all know the psychology of color won’t be complete without BLACK! so here it is folks.

Photo by Alex on Unsplash

BLACK: The color of luxury, its top choice when it comes to dresses and tuxedos. It is understated and mysterious, synonymous with elegance and sophistication. Brands like Sony, Samsung and Beats use black, it never goes out of style. it is a constant choice for tech companies.

Black is also associated with death cause of its sense of mystery, when using black in design avoid using it as a way to make things stand out, brighter colors should be used instead for such purposes.

Okay, so I’m going to have to stop here and apologize because i won’t be able to treat a lot of other colors on this article, but I’m going to be working on another article that's covers a whole lot more information and a lot of other colors.


For centuries artists and designers have followed color theory, but basically anyone can learn it; all it takes is a little insight and you’ll be looking at color in an entirely different way.

Lets start with the basics; Primary colors, these are any group of colors that cannot be obtained by mixing, but can mixed to form other colors, our primary colors are basically Red, Yellow and Blue.

Now we know that RED + YELLOW = ORANGE, YELLOW + BLUE= GREEN and BLUE + RED = PURPLE, if we mix this colors further we get more colors which give us the Color Wheel, i know we all know what a color wheel is but I’ll give a quick definition.

A color wheel is a circle with different colored sectors used to show the relationship between colors.


Now lets go further with Hue, Saturation and Value.

  • HUE: Its basically just another word for color or shade.
  • SATURATION: This refers to the intensity, that is if the color is more subtle or vibrant.
  • VALUE: This has to do with how dark or light the color is ranging from black to white.

So how do we put this together to create professional designs. Easy! make use of the formulas, the formulas?! you might ask, yes! the formulas. The formulas are called Color Schemes; it makes use of the color wheel to find matching Colors.

MONOCHROMATIC: This is done by picking a single color and using saturation and value to create variation. The best thing about this color scheme is that they are guaranteed to match.

ANALOGOUS: An analogous color scheme uses colors next to each other on the wheel like Red and Orange or cooler colors like Blue and Green, never be afraid to play with the different palettes and create different schemes.

COMPLEMENTARY: This makes use of colors opposite to each other on the wheel for instance Blue and Orange or Red and Green, to avoid simplicity add saturation to your tones.

SPLIT COMPLEMENTARY: Involves the use of colors on either side of the complement, it forms a triangle but not an equilateral one like the Triadic, this gives the same level of contrast and more options to work with.

TRIADIC: It makes use of three color schemes that are evenly spaced, forming a triangle, they tend to be pretty striking so be mindful when using them in your work.

TETRADIC: They form a rectangle on the wheel using not one but two of the complementary colors, it works best if one color is allowed to dominate and the others are used as an accent.

It’s also best to keep in mind that when designing, colors should be readable, legible and easy on the eyes try avoiding colors that make the eyes vibrate, neutral colors like black, white and grey help tone down colors.

So there you have it COLOR AND DESIGN.

Hmm, i think I’ll end with a quote just so everyone can take this seriously.

Color is a power which indirectly influences the soul — Wassily Kandinsky


Created by

Courage Egbude


UI/UX Designer

Product Designer and Writer







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