What Every Marketer Should Know About Color Theory in 2022

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    Color theory is a vast array of concepts, definitions, and design concepts that could fill many Encyclopedias. However, there are three fundamental concepts of color theory: clear and valuable: the color wheel, harmony of colors, and the background of how colors are utilized.

    Color theory help to create a clear arrangement for the color. For instance, if you have a variety of vegetables and fruits, we can arrange them according to color and then place them on a circle to show the colors relative to one another.

    What Is Color Theory?

    A set of rules for color theory comprises guidelines to mix, combine, & manipulate color. The color theory includes ideas such as:

    1. Harmony of colors Color harmony refers to color combinations that are pleasing to the eyes and create a visual order. Color schemes based upon similar colors and shades are typically viewed as harmonious. However, as humans react to different colors based on their personal preferences and experiences, there aren’t generally “right” colors for achieving harmony.
    2. The temperature of color: Color temperature is the process of breaking down colors to warm hues (associated with daylight and sunset) in addition to cool shades (associated with overcast lighting). Making a variety of combinations of cool and warm colors will allow you to mix colors to create a unique effect.
    3. Color context The colors appear to appear differently in various contexts. For example, a rusty orange could appear dull and subdued against a bright yellow, but when juxtaposed with a dark purple, the orange suddenly appears more vibrant.

    Why should you care about color theory?

    For Three things that is branding, marketing, and sales.

    By having this fundamental understanding of colors and schemes of color, you’re able to make informed branding choices. For instance, the color of your logo color should be. Or the feelings that colors trigger in a customer’s mind and the mentality behind choosing colors on your site.

    The knowledge of color theory helps you with your marketing, but it can also help you be aware of your competition.

    The Color Wheel

    Color Theory
    Image credit: xd.adobe

    Color circles, which are based on yellow, red, blue, and red, have become a common sight in art. Sir Isaac Newton developed the first circular color diagram in 1666. Since then, artists and scientists have studied and created a variety of variations of this idea. There are a variety of opinions on the legitimacy of one design over another that continues to cause discussion. In actuality, every color wheel or color circle that presents a logically organized arrangement of pure colors has merits.

    Further terms (or classifications) of colors are based upon the wheel of color. It starts with a three-part color wheel.

    Primary Colors The primary colors are yellow, red, and blue

    In the traditional theorizing about color (used in pigments and paints), primary colors are three pigment colors that are not combined or created in any other colors. All other colors originate from these three hues.

    Secondary Colors The primary colors are orange, green, and purple

    These are the colors that are created when mixing primary colors.

    Tertiary Colors Red-orange and yellow-orange blue-purple yellow-green, blue-green, and red-orange.

    These are the hues created when you mix a primary color with an additional color. This is why the hue has the result of a two-word name, for example, blue-green, red-violet, and yellow-orange.

    RGB: the additive color mixing model

    Humans perceive colors in light waves. Mixing light or using the mix of colors using the additive model–allows users to make color by mixing green, red, and blue lights with different intensities. The more light you include in the mix, the more bright the color mix will become. If you mix the three shades of light, you will get pure white light.

    Televisions, screens, and projectors use red, green, and blue (RGB) as their primary colors. Then, they mix them to create different shades.

    Why should you care?

    Let’s suppose you own a distinct brand with an attractive yellow logo. If you put your image on Facebook, Twitter, or your website but don’t use the correct color scheme, your logo will look muddy instead of bright yellow. This is why when working with images for any screen, make sure you use RGB and not CMYK.

    Color schemes

    Color Theory
    Image credit: 99designs

    Colors complementing each other

    Complementary colors are opposites on the wheel of color–green and red, for example.

    Logo style created from Weill for Pepper Powered

    Because of the stark contrast between the two hues can make images pop, but excessive use can become boring. Consider any mall that is open in December. Indeed, having a color scheme that is complementary to your business’s marketing can offer clarity and sharp contrast between pictures.

    Analogous colors

    Analogous colors lie in a row next to each other on the color wheel – red-orange and yellow, for instance. When you create an analogous color scheme, one color will be dominant while another will be a support color and another one will complement. In the business world, analogous color schemes aren’t only appealing to the eye but also help instruct the user on how and where to proceed.

    The Tostitos website is based on the same color scheme. The prominent navigation bar in bright orange invites you to explore the website. Accent-colored hyperlinks at the bottom guide hungry customers who are craving food towards “Buy Online.”

    Triadic colors

    Color Theory
    Image credit: 99designs

    The colors of the Triadic family are uniformly spread on the color wheel and are generally lively and vibrant.

    Utilizing triadic colors in your marketing can create a visually striking contrast and harmony, making every item stand out and making the entire image statement. Burger King uses this color scheme to great effect.

    Use Color Theory to Match What Your Users Want to See

    The proper contrast is crucial to draw the user’s attention at the beginning. The intensity you choose for your design is important in triggering desired emotional responses from the users. How they respond to colors is contingent upon the factors that affect them, such as gender or experience, age, and culture. In all instances, it is important to create your designs to ensure accessibility for all users – e.g., the color-blindness of red and green.

     By conducting the UX study, it is possible to fine-tune the color palette to be most effective with the specific audience. Users will view your design based on their ideas of what an ideal good design in the specific sector ought to be like. It’s the reason you need to create a design that meets your customers’ expectations in terms of geography.

    For instance, blue, which is an industry norm for banking in the West, also has positive associations with different cultures. But, certain colors could cause conflicting feelings among certain nations (e.g., red is a symbol of luck in China, sorrow for mourning in South Africa, danger/sexiness in the USA). In the end, it is recommended to conduct a usability test to verify your color preferences.

    Practical tips for using color

    Use mood boards to find the right colors

    Mood boards are visual ideas. They can be extremely beneficial in deciding on any design idea that you want to make, including colors. If you come across an image or photo that you like, you could use a tool such as Colers to directly make a color scheme.

    Create focal points using color

    Color Theory
    Image credit Designmodo.

    A high level of accessibility is vital to the success of web design. Users should be able to locate the information they require quickly. The colors you choose to use aid in this since they help direct the eye of the user. For instance, you could make use of contrasting colors for a button that calls to action to increase its visual impact and, therefore, increases its prominence.

    The more we desire something that stands out and is noticed, the more we must use color contrast to accomplish this. Mailchimp, for instance, utilizes contrast colors to draw your attention to the button that calls for action. 

    Color Theory
    Image from the source the Mailchimp

    Decide when and how to use vibrant and soft colors.

    Most colors are classified into two groups: soft or vibrant. Based on the nature of your work, you may prefer either the first or second category.

    Vibrant colors are those that make a statement against the background and pulsate with energy. These colors are excellent to give a cheerful mood and are a great option for businesses that wish to showcase themselves differently.

    Color Theory
    Image credit Vredestein New Horizons.

    A vibrant homepage, colored in pink and blue, creates an energetic atmosphere—

    However, soft colors are a perfect match with the style and create the feeling of tranquility that makes users feel relaxed.

    Product collection pages using soft pastel and earthy color schemes—image credit Collage.

    In the end, you must make your color choices based on the way you want your customers to experience when they are using your product.


    Design isn’t just about aesthetics. It’s as well about usability and functionality. When creating UI, the product should be accessible to users with different capabilities. For example, one of the challenges designers confront when working with color is figuring out how people who suffer from visual colorblindness or impairment (CVD) are likely to interact with the software.

    The color wheel shows how colors appear for those who have regular vision (far left) and the exact hues experienced by those who have a color defect of red and green (middle and right)—image taken to Sakurambo.


    Color is just one of the tools that designers love to play with. But, at the same time, it’s one of the tools that can be tricky to master. The rules mentioned above will set a good foundation for visual designers, but the only way to improve is to master the skill of creating great color combinations. Practice makes perfect.

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