A Color Study: Using Google As A Reference
Color evokes emotions but color in design can be very subjective. Something as simple as changing the precise hue, brightness or saturation in the color scheme of a design can have a great impact on the feelings experienced. Cultural differences can also add an element of surprise when picking a color: some colors can be seen as happy and uplifting in one country while being completely associated with depression in another.
When designing a logo, website, brochure, infographic or banner image, one has to be careful not to simply pick a personal color preference as the primary color. Your favorite color might be canary yellow, but using such a bright hue in your design might not send the right message to your audience.
To make a case for color, we have picked the simple elegant white design of Google.com, one that appeals to everyone from the world over, to give it a color facelift. So here we go:
Red: Passion, Love, Anger
Red is hot. It’s exudes both the beauty of love and passion or the violence behind fire, warfare and crime.
In China, red is the color of prosperity and happiness while in North America is is often associated with anger, importance (think red carpets) or danger (warning labels). In South Africa, red is the color of mourning while in some eastern countries it is the color worn by brides on their wedding day.
In design, red is powerful and should be used primarily as an accent color.
Orange: Energy, Happiness, Vitality
Orange means energy. As a very hot color, orange is often associated with the feelings of enthusiasm, fascination, happiness, creativity, encouragement, and stimulation.
Often associated with the fruit of the same name, orange can represent healthy foods and can even stimulate appetite. Orange is also the color of fall and harvest and is used to symbolise change and movement.
In design, orange commands attention without being as overpowering as red. Being very noticeable, it can also be a great highlight color to catch attention.
Yellow: Happiness, Hope, Energy
Yellow is sunshine. Evoking feelings of joy, cheerfulness, happiness, energy and warmth, yellow can be an attention grabber that stands out amongst other colors. Yellow can also be associated with hope, danger (not as strong as red) and with babies and children. In some Egypt, yellow is used for morning, in Japan, it represents courage and in India it’s a color for merchant.
In design, avoid using yellow when trying to sell prestigious, expensive products to men; they simply won’t buy a yellow business suit.
Green: New Beginnings, Abundance, Nature
Green is nature. As a very down-to-earth color, green can represent many things such as growth, harmony, freshness, fertility, new beginnings, safety (as opposed to red) and even money (dark green). Green can have a balancing and harmonizing effect and have a great healing power. As the most restful color for the human eye, green is appropriate for designs related the wealth, stability, renewal and nature.
Green can also signify a lack of experience (being green), envy or jealousy. In design, use bright green to convey energy and vibrancy, olive greens for nature and dark green for affluence.
Blue: Calm, Responsible, Sadness
Blue is calmness. Blue is the sky and the sea. Blue symbolizes trust, loyalty, wisdom, onfidence, faith, truth and heaven. Often associated with depth and stability, blue can also be used to represent tranquility, sincerity and responsibility.
As a color that appeals to men, blue, especially dark blue, has become the preferred color for corporate America. Blues can also be used to promote products and services related to cleanliness, air and sky, water and sea, or even high-tech products.
Purple: Creativity, Royalty, Wealth
Purple is royalty. As a combination of red and blue, purple can take the attribute of both colors. Purple is often associated with wealth, extravagance, nobility, power, luxury, ambition, creativity, imagination, wisdom, dignity, independence, mystery and magic.
In design, light purple (such as lavender) evokes romance, spring and nostalgic feelings while darker purple suggest wealth, luxury and royalty.
Brown: Nature, Wholesomeness, Dependability
Brown is earth, wood and stone. As a completely natural and warm neutral, brown is often associated with stability, dependability, reliability, earthiness, comfort, endurance and simplicity. Brown can also symbolise home or the great outdoors.
In design, brown can bring a feeling of warmth and wholesomeness. It is often used as a background color to replace black.
Gray: Moody, Conservative, Formality
Gray is security. Light grays can replace white in some designs while dark grays can substitute black in others. Gray is often associated with security, reliability, intelligence, modesty, dignity, maturity, conservative and practicality. Gray can also be considered boring, moody or depressing.
In design, gray is often perceived as modern, formal and professional. It is commonly used in corporate designs as in typography.
Black: Mystery, Elegance, Evil
Black is strong. Black is commonly associated with power, strength, authority, elegance, formality but it can also evoke death, evil, mourning, rebellion, fear and mystery.
Black is often used to exude both an edgy or elegant, modern or conservative, traditional or unconventional design. A designer must remember that black used as a background diminishes readability. Black might be better served as a highlight color or for typography.
White: Purity, Cleanliness, Virtue
White is purity. White is mostly associated with coolness, goodness, innocence, virtue, peace, precision, youth, winter, goodness, marriage (Western cultures), death (Eastern cultures), coldness and clinical. In general, white as a positive connotation in comparison to black.
Considered to be the color of perfection, white is often used in design as a neutral backdrop since it lets other colors stand out. White is popular in minimalist, modern designs as it conveys cleanliness and simplicity. White let’s everything else around it speak louder, and in design, white is the best color for readability.
Google used white as a background with a combination of the primary colors in its logo to evoke a certain playfulness. What message do you want to send to your fans? A message of coolness or one of earthiness?
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