A while ago I posted about colors – individual colors.
I wrote about the emotional and cultural characteristics of the major colors, and then I promised I’d discuss color combinations.
I forgot about doing that until I reviewed my blogs of last year to determine what subjects I might explore this year.
So here goes.
Few brands are monochromatic. And that’s a good thing.
Colors in combination provide a much wider range of expressions and moods.
By combining them in many different ways, basic colors can elicit new emotional responses. And then using different tones, tints and shades of various colors in combination provides almost infinite palettes to choose from.
But other than combining colors that look good together – esthetic choices – the reason for using a specific combination may be elusive. In fact, esthetics is as far as many designers go in developing a palette.
That’s why I use a series of books, all originally created in and by Japanese publishers, to understand the emotional pull of different combinations. In this blog, I’ll just address Designer’s Guide to Color (volume one of five), and one page of its combination discussion and exhibition. On that page, eight different colors, including black and gray, were combined and presented to respondents in the Luscher color test.
Several significant responses were identified. The hues were “pure”, intense colors without tint or shade.
Brown with violet: evokes luxury and indulgence.
Blue and grey: means a serene environment.
Red and yellow: depicts volatile and outgoing.
Yellow with brown: insecurity is the main attribute.
Blue and brown: evokes security and peace.
Red and grey: brings to mind irritable, threatened feelings.
Violet with yellow: withdrawn and unimaginative.
Now some of these findings, mostly determined within the German culture, may be surprising because of what we know about the emotions evoked by the single colors in the studies. But it points out the need to be aware and careful of the combinations designers present to us. Just because the dictators of taste and style had OKed teal and sea green as the color combo of the year does not mean they’re right for your particular brand.
There are still several more posts about color combinations and corporate colors to follow.