Colors make designs come to life—they’re often the first things people notice when looking at your design. They attract attention, set a mood, and influence emotions or perceptions. Colors play a huge role in how your audience recognizes you, your design, and your message.

In this unit, you will learn

  • How to customize colors
  • Where to start choosing a color scheme
  • The emotions behind colors
  • How to keep colors simple

How to customize colors

If you’ve decided you want to work with a new color scheme you can change the color palette of a template. This means you can change the color of the text, background, illustrations, graphics, and more. 

You can watch the process step-by-step in the video below to learn more about customizing colors in your next project. 

Where to start when choosing a color scheme

You’ve probably noticed that some colors can look beautiful together while others don’t. Choosing the right colors can help improve your designs. We use the color wheel as a tool for combining colors. The color wheel gives a set of tried and tested formulas which can help you choose a beautiful color palette. This will not only lift your design visually but helps you clearly communicate your ideas. 

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This is a color wheel

  • A complementary color scheme is made up of colors that sit opposite each other on the color wheel. These schemes offer a sense of balance and help avoid harsh contrast that can create eyestrain.
  • A monochromatic color scheme uses variations of one color. It’s hard to go wrong with colors from the same family that are guaranteed to match.
  • An analogous color scheme is made up of a group of colors close to each other on the color wheel. These schemes work well to communicate consistency and uniformity within your design.
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QUICK QUIZ

Masie and Marc are creating stationary for their wedding. Which color scheme do you think would work best for them?

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We think the first one would be most suitable. The color scheme is harmonious and aligns with the message in their designs. 

The emotions behind color

Colors are all around you. Whether you realize it or not, they play a big role in your everyday life. They also define the overall mood of your design. You can use color to create a mood that may be hard to describe with words. Play with colors to help support the message of your design.

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Not everyone thinks about, or experiences color in the same way. The meaning and symbolism we associate with different colors is influenced a great deal by the cultural and societal groups we identify with.

Keeping colors simple

Too much of anything is never a good thing. A color scheme that has too many colors is difficult to manage and can often make your designs look a bit busy. On the other hand, having too few colors can make your design look boring. While this is not a hard and fast rule, limiting your design to a max of three colors can result in a more cohesive composition with a decent amount of variation and visual interest.

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QUICK QUIZ

John is creating a design for an upcoming event he is organizing. What colors should he use for the balloons?  

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A. Each section of every balloon should be a different color so his design can be as colorful as possible

B. Using two or three different colors across the design should be enough to give his design some pop

C. He should just leave the balloons black and white there's no need for any color

 

B. Having a couple of colors will offer his design balance and prevent it from getting messy.