Colors & What They Mean: A Short Guide

Color theory is a system of principles and standards used by designers to connect with consumers through visually attractive color schemes in visual interfaces. Designers employ a color wheel and considerable accumulated knowledge about human optical ability, psychology, culture, and more to select the ideal colors every time.

Colors may elicit an intense response in people, and we respond to them whether we realize it or not. We are hardwired to associate various hues with specific emotions. Colors are the most fundamental nonverbal communication tool we have, and after you understand what each hue signifies, you can plan the colors you’ll utilize in your logo.

There are so many hues in the world that crayon manufacturers can’t keep up! For our purposes, we’ll look at the primary colors and the emotions they might evoke.

  • Yellow: upbeat, warm, uplifting, originality, practicality, cheerful.
  • Orange: confident, playful, friendly, happiness, enthusiasm, uninhibited, extroverted.
  • Red: positive, exciting, bold, motivating, leadership, strong willed, romantic.
  • Purple: creative, inspired, wisdom, imaginative, immature, individual, awareness.
  • Blue: strength, trust, loyalty, peace, integrity, reserved, honesty, tranquility.
  • Green: growth, healthy, balance, harmony, renewal, optimism, spring, fresh.
  • Black/Gray: balanced, informed, neutral, mysterious, fluid, bold, and strong.

Color Theory Explained

As you can see, many businesses and brands have conducted significant research to determine which colors perform best with their specific themes. Color is used effectively in some of the finest logos to send a nonverbal message to their audience. When it comes to picking colors for your own logo, there are no hard and fast rules, but this guide might help you comprehend what people could see when they look at your logo.

Many people are familiar with complementary colors, which are hues that are precisely opposite each other on the color wheel, such as red and green, yellow and purple, and blue and orange. We see these combinations a lot because they function well as “compliments” to each other, but they are a little limited since even if you change the shades of the colors, you are still dealing with two colors that we have all seen thousands of times.

Color Harmony is another strategy of identifying appropriate color pairings that works in the same way as complementary colors do, but with additional colors and instead of moving directly around the color wheel, a rectangle or triangle is used to point to colors.

As can be seen, the color wheel is a useful tool for choosing appropriate color pairings.

Colors should represent the purpose of your design as well as the personality of your brand. Color theory should also be used to maximize a favorable psychological influence on consumers. As a result, you should carefully consider how color temperature (the usage of warm, neutral, and cold hues) represents your message. For example, depending on the nature of your firm and the sector, you may make a neutral hue like gray, warm or chilly.

Color Contrast & Hue

The correct contrast is critical in an inexpensive logo design for capturing the attention of consumers in the first place. The brightness of your design is also important in eliciting desirable emotional responses from people. Gender, experience, age, and culture all influence how people react to color choices. In all circumstances, you should plan for accessibility — for example, in the case of red-green color blindness. Color selection may be fine-tuned through UX research to connect best with individual people.

Color schemes are color groupings or palettes used in illustration and design. Color schemes are usually used to explain local colors when utilized on a design (colors of objects or material under neutral lighting). Color palettes in drawings, on the other hand, are utilized to convey mood or ambience. The ambient colors influence all of the local colors in an artwork. 

Professional artists have access to hundreds of hues at the push of a button. And don’t forget about the all-powerful adjustment layers, which we all believe can remedy any coloring problem. While it is urged to use such useful features for efficiency, there are rules to obey and regulations to break.

Monochromatic, analogous, complementary, split complementary, triadic, square, and rectangle are the seven major color schemes (or tetradic).


Monochromatic color schemes employ a single hue with varied tones and hues to create a unified appearance and feel. Despite the absence of color contrast, it frequently seems clean and polished. It also lets you simply adjust the darkness and brightness of your colors.


Analogous color patterns are created by combining one primary color with the two complementary hues on the color wheel. If you wish to utilize a five-color scheme instead of only three, you may add two more colors (located next to the two outer colors).


The complementary color scheme creates the most color contrast. As a result, you should use caution when using complementary hues into a design plan.

It is advisable to utilize one color as the primary color and the second color as accents in your design. The complementary color scheme works well for charts and graphs as well. High contrast allows you to emphasize key ideas and thoughts…

Split Complementary

The split complementary color scheme can be difficult to balance since the colors used all create contrast, unlike analogous or monochromatic color schemes (similar to the complementary scheme).


The split complementary color model has both good and negative aspects. The positive side is that you can use any two colors in the scheme and obtain fantastic contrast… but the negative part is that it might be difficult to establish the proper balance between the colors.


Triadic color palettes provide high contrast color schemes while being consistent in tone. Triadic color schemes are made by selecting three colors that are evenly distributed in lines across the color wheel.

Because it provides the contrast required to generate comparisons, the triadic color scheme works well in visuals such as bar or pie charts.

Triad color schemes may be excellent for producing great contrast between every hue in a project, but they can also appear overwhelming if all of your shades are picked on the same spot in a path around the color spectrum.

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