What Are The Colors In The Rainbow? (And How They Should Be Used In Design)

The seven colors of the rainbow are red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and violet. The easiest way to remember the colors of the rainbow and a common acronym used is “ROY G. BIV”. This is a handy acronym often used to memorize the colors of the rainbow and keep track of them. We’ve all seen a rainbow at some point or another in our life and memorizing all those beautiful colors can be a helpful thing to know about as a graphic designer. 

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As a graphic designer, your job is based on colors and learning how to combine them to create your work. Knowing the basic primary colors and those that make up the rainbow can help you when you’re choosing color palettes for your designs and choosing eye-pleasing color combinations. Let’s take an in-depth look into the colors of the rainbow, their order, and what emotions the colors can evoke. 

Red 

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Red is the first color of the rainbow and one of the most loved colors in the world. Graphic designers use red in their designs if they’re looking to evoke feelings of passion, confidence or strength, and power. Use red in your designs if you’re looking to get people excited, inspired, and passionate. Think about Pizza Hut’s or Coca Cola logo; both use red as their primary color in their logo. You’ll see the color red used in many food industry logos since it’s said to increase the appetite and inspire action. 

Orange 

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The combination of primary colors red and yellow leads to the second color in the rainbow, orange. When many think of orange they often associate it with a warm autumn evening or their favorite beach sunset. Orange is a color associated with warmth, enthusiasm, and joy. Orange is encouraging and often appealing to young people. When thinking about famous logos with orange included think Fanta and Shell. 

Yellow 

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The third color of the rainbow is yellow, a color that is associated with optimism and sunshine. Yellow is a universally happy color that signifies joy, light, youthfulness, and energy. The color can be used for those looking to create a logo aimed at youth or one that wants to excite people. Think McDonald’s or Snapchat’s logos; they both use yellow in their logo to grab attention and aim it at a youthful audience. 

Green 

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The fourth color in the rainbow is one associated with nature and freshness; green. When people think of green they associate it with health, wellness, and a refreshing sense of calm. If you think of Whole Foods or John Deere’s logos then you can see that green is most often associated with nature logos or health logos. 

Blue 

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The fifth color in the rainbow and a trustworthy color is blue. This well-known and well-loved color is one of a beautiful blue sky and calm blue waters. This color is used to convey peace, inspire confidence, loyalty, and responsibility. Blue is often used in company logos that want to earn their customer’s trust or want to induce calm with them. Think Ford and Facebook for iconic blue logos. 

Indigo 

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The second to last color of the rainbow is midnight blue, a combination of dark blue and violet that comes together to create peaceful indigo. Indigo is known for signifying serenity, power, and dignity. This color has a lot packed into it when it comes to emotions including wisdom, devotion, and justice. When thinking of logos with indigo as their primary colors you can think of Hallmark or Yahoo, two well-known company logos. 

Violet 

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The final color in the rainbow and color that signifies wisdom is violet. Violet is a well-loved color and one that can motivate and inspire. Companies use violet in their logo if they’re looking to inspire customers to be creative and to signify uplifting energy. Indigo and violet share similarities in what they stand for and what emotions they can evoke in people. 

Color Theory 

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Now that we’ve gone over the seven colors of the rainbow and what these colors signify and evoke as well as how you can use them in graphic design to create artistically pleasing logos, it’s time to touch on color theory. Graphic designers depend on color theory for their designs when they’re deciding on what color choices to go with. Graphic designers depend on the psychology of color to appeal to their audience’s different emotions. 

The idea of color theory is a complex one, combining science and creativity for humans to better understand what makes changing a simple hue or saturation of color able to give people completely different feelings. This goes for different cultures as well; a color that you may find happy and uplift could be the complete opposite for someone in a different culture. Basically, color theory is broken up into three parts to help us better understand what colors make humans feel different emotions. 

First, we have our primary colors; red, yellow, and blue. The purpose of these three primary colors is that all other colors can be derived from them. These three colors are what we use to create the secondary colors; orange, purple, and green. Primary colors combined create secondary colors. Next comes tertiary colors, which are made up of secondary and primary colors. In total, six tertiary colors are created. 

From here, we could go into a mile-long list of colors that come after these, but primary, secondary, and tertiary colors are what make up the basics of color theory. Exploring color theory as a graphic designer can help you to know what colors can appeal to your audience. Knowing what emotions colors can evoke and color theory can help graphic designers choose their colors.

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