Color theory is one of the best weapons of a designer. A lot is gained when the basics of design is fully understood and applied. This article will go through the common concepts of color theory, while giving examples of how to use them.
In short, complementary colors are colors that are at the opposite ends of the color spectrum. Studies have shown that these colors work great for visual appeal. One great example would be blue and orange. These two colors work wonders when mixed together. The soothing and warm nature of the orange color is nicely contrasted with the fresh, cold nature of the blue color.
A lot of people tend to think of contrast as sharpness. But, the real use of contrast is to reduce eyestrain and to capture the user’s eye. Contrast can be used to make parts of your design stand out, and vice versa. For example, gray on white text might not be great for headlines, but they work great on product manuals. This is because these manuals contain a lot of text and they would look too bulky with dark text.
Emotion is the hardest part to get right in design. That’s because emotion is very personal. However, there are some guidelines that can put you on the right track. Darker colors tend to give a more relaxing feel to your design. On the other hand, brighter colors tend to give a more fresh and energetic feel. Whichever you choose, make sure it’s the right emotion for the job.