Show Your Infographics’ True Colours
13th of February, 2019 | Infowithart
We are back with our “How to Create Infographics” saga! Today, we’re going to make you a Jedi in colour design. You don’t think a Jedi level is needed when it comes to colours? Is it just choosing a few colors that look pleasant together? Well, if you’re ok with a typical mediocre result, stop reading! If you’re willing to create something extraordinary, go on!
Answer this quick Questionnaire before you start:
1. What is your infographics about?
It’s a great idea to associate the colors of your infographic with the theme it covers. To give you an idea, topics covering nature, renewal energy and eco-friendly policy would be perfectly reflected with a green colour palette. Something related to weddings usually wouldn’t do without white and beige.
2. Is there a brand standing behind your infographics?
If the answer is yes, you might want to reinforce the brand with brand colours. Every brand and business uses colors deliberately in their product designs, logos, websites, ad campaigns etc. Thus, you have to select colors that work with the brand and the company’s mission.
3. Who are you creating it for?
You must always think of your target audience. We’ve already recommended you to do this while writing your content. The same story happened with the general design guidelines. And now, with the colours.
Have you known that the same colour can be perceived differently by different cultures? Let’s say, you have to design an infographic related to bridal branding. If you go with white, it’ll bring up the right associations in Western cultures. Nevertheless, in Japan and India white is a mourning colour. Another example is blue. It’s viewed as masculine in the U.S. but feminine in China.
Of course, it’s impossible to please everyone. You cannot know what kind of person would come across your infographics by accident. But you can learn what kind of person could be looking for your infographics on purpose. The bottom line here is to know your target audience. And, consequently, choose wisely.
4. How should your infographics affect your readers?
It’s a known fact that different colours in various combinations evoke diverse feelings. Thus, it’s important to use each colour strategically based on colour psychology. In such a way you’ll easily produce the desired effect.
Of course, there’s a fair share of subjectivity in human feelings. Anyway, we’d like to familiarize you with the common connotations each color carries. Keep on reading and find out!
Have you answered all the questions above? Great, you know where you’re heading up to, then! Now, let us equip you with some tips on how to pick a winning colour combination.
A Tiny Bit of Theory First
*Value is the lightness or darkness of a colour. It ranges from white to black on the value scale.
*Intensity (chroma) is the brightness or dullness of a color.
*Primary Colors are red, blue and yellow. The most basic colors on the color wheel. They cannot be made from any other colors. But all other colors on the color wheel are made from them.
*Secondary Colors are green, orange and purple. They are formed by mixing equal amounts of the two primary colors beside them on the color wheel.
*Tertiary Colors are blue-green, yellow-green, yellow-orange, red-orange, red-purple and blue-purple. They are formed by mixing a primary color and a secondary color together.
RED: the most emotionally intense color.
Positive associations: passion, adventure, excitement, love, confidence, comfort, warmth.
Negative associations: danger, anger, violence, blood, fire, warfare.
Popular design usage:
* a tool to attract the observer’s attention;
* can show conflicting emotions ranging from blood and war to love and passion;
* dark red, in combination with gray and white, would work nicely for a professional, elegant look.
BLUE: as popular and ambiguous in connotations as red.
Positive associations: calmness, confidentiality, dignity, security, stability, trust, authority, conservatism, masculine, peaceful.
Negative associations: sadness, depression, distance.
Popular design usage:
* can cause opposite reactions: it can tranquillize and be cold and depressing at the same time;
* may be very often found in the government sectors, medicine, sea products and services designs;
* baby blue is evidently used for baby and young children’s products;
* dark blue is widespread in corporate designs.
YELLOW: the most difficult color for the eye to take in, so it can be overpowering if overused.
Positive associations: sunny, warm, cheerful, attention-grabbing, curiosity, positivity, happiness, joy.
Negative associations: anger, frustration, caution, cowardice.
Popular design usage:
* cheerful sunny yellow is an attention getter and conveys a sense of happiness and warmth;
* soft yellow is widely used for products and services involving children;
* gold and darker yellow can be found in an antique look creating a feeling of long-lasting appeal or permanence.
GREEN: the easiest color on the eye.
Positive associations: nature, fertility, growth, harmony, health, freshness, new beginnings, money, renewal, good luck.
Negative associations: jealousy, envy, greed, inexperience.
Popular design usage:
* symbolizes nature and represents life and ecology;
* it’s obviously used in designs for initiatives and companies that are environmentally or ecologically friendly;
* is also used to represent money and investment.
ORANGE: less intense than red, but still contains a lot of strength, and it’s more playful and youthful.
Positive associations: energy, health and vitality, fun, excitement, dynamism, enthusiasm, warmth.
Negative associations: crassness, rudeness and frivolity.
Popular design usage
* commonly used to stimulate positive emotions, for example, describing fun forthcoming events;
* food and drink websites often use orange due to its appetite stimulation.
PURPLE: a combination of blue and red, so it’s both cold and warm; it’s rare in nature, thus may seem artificial.
Positive associations: creative, mysterious, spiritual, luxurious, royal, romantic, feminine.
Negative associations: decadence, conceit and promposity.
Popular design usage:
* often presented in many logos related to education and spirituality;
* light purple is used for pampering, beauty, and romance;
* dark purple is frequently found in luxury and wealth designs.
Stick With The Color Harmony
Colors can be combined in various ways. We recommend to start with the three basic color harmonies:
*Monochromatic harmony is developed around one colour.
Example: variations in value or intensity, such as light, medium and dark blue.
Monochromatic schemes are easy and restful. Although, they may become monotonous. It’ll be a good fit for creating a simple, clean and elegant color scheme with minimum contrast.
*Analogous harmony chooses colors that are close to each other on the color wheel.
Example: yellow, yellow-green and green.
These colours have low contrast but work well together because of the common undertones. This harmony produces a restful effect and is less dramatic than the complementary color scheme.
*Complementary harmonies are colors that are opposite each other on the color wheel.
Example: the red and green Christmas color scheme.
They tend to be dramatic, bold and attention-getting. They provide maximum color contrast and work particularly well when a warm color is paired with a cool color.
Contrast creates visual impact by placing two strikingly different elements beside each other. If an infographic has a light background with bold colored shapes, our eyes are immediately attracted to the bold colors. Just try pairing complementary colors to make your headline pop.
Take Good Care of Your Audience’s Eyes
The color scheme shouldn’t attack the senses. Otherwise, the reader’s eye won’t be able to easily flow down the page. In case you’re not sure what colours to combine, you may choose the safest easy-on-the-eyes option – a three-colour palette. One colour, usually the lightest of the three, is for the background. The other two will be breaking the sections. You can also add shades of the three main colours to enrich the palette.
*Colour Options for Background
For example, neon on a black backdrop would be hard to read, especially if there’s lots of data. Also, you’d better omit a white background. Since it’s the favourite option for most websites where we share our infographics. In that case, it would be hard to guess where your infographic piece starts and ends.
Similarly, with fonts, don’t overdo it with the number of colours. Use one or two main colours and two more for accents. The accent colours are helpful in deciphering between different sections or themes.
As we can see, the difference a color palette can make is outstanding. Especially in the world of infographics. The right palette can help organize an infographic and reinforce your topic. The wrong colours can turn a great topic into an epic fail. But we’re sure that with our guidance, you’re going to make it! Calm you shall keep and may the force of colours be with you!