Color is an interesting subject and one that can baffle even the best designer. So how does one choose a color scheme for their next project?
If I’m designing for a client, I’ll look at their logo and marketing materials. I might ask myself – How can I take their primary color and use it to an advantage? Are there certain shades, tints, hues and/or saturations that might influence the project?
But what if the client doesn’t even have a logo? Now the color choices seem very limited.
One thing we can do is begin with a primary color and work from there. As mentioned above, certain hues, tints, shades and saturations can compliment the entire scheme. The problem with this technical technique is you can end up with uninspiring color schemes.
It is possible to do a “match” of colors from a photo or object the client likes. By selecting little bits and pieces from this photo or object, you end up with appealing and familiar colors. The downside – you could possibly pick the wrong colors that take away from the message of the product. Can you imagine a pastel colored brochure selling sporting equipment?
Finally, there’s good ‘ol trial and error. Some designers call it their intuition; others just call it plain ‘ol dumb luck. The pro to making a color scheme on trial an error is the fact that you can end up with brand new and fresh schemes. But it can be very dangerous to do this without a basic understanding of color theory.
Something else to think about when choosing a color scheme for a project is your audience. I know, I know, audience… audience… audience. But think of your audience from a different culture. One color in the U.S. might mean something totally different in another.
So the next time you’re looking for a color scheme, remember these three possible inspiration points
1.) Logo/identity products already in use
2.) Objects or photos with appealing and familiar colors
3.) Whip out some colors, mix and match ‘til your hearts content.