From a young age, we’re all taught the colors of the rainbow and their order; red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and violet. To remember these colors better all you have to do is memorize this easy acronym; ROY G. BIV. Next, we’re taught that they’re three primary colors and three secondary colors. From there, we’re taught that all colors come from those six total colors (indigo and violet being somewhat combined as one color).
However, understanding the exact science behind these colors and how all the colors around us are formed is often a less popular story. Understanding color theory is an important part of a graphic designer’s job since they work closely with colors and understanding what emotions they evoke in people.
You’re probably wondering where Isacc Newton comes into colors and graphic designing. Well, Isaac Newton is the one that first started with understanding color theory, which leads to where we are now with understanding color theory for graphic design. Back in the 17th century, Isaac Newton was the one who realized that by breaking white light apart using raindrops we get the visual spectrum of light (or the rainbow).
With the visual spectrum, all of the colors bleed into one another, therefore creating the rainbow. Newton was the one who decided that these colors should be broken up into individual chunks that could then be discussed better. From there we’ve come further with breaking the colors up and color theory.
The Colors Of The Rainbow
Red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and violet; the colors of the rainbow. Looking at these colors, we can better understand how to use colors to evoke emotions in our audience. As a graphic designer, understanding colors and how which colors you choose for your designs can impact your audience can be crucial. Even more, understanding different colors and tones can help you display your work in a way that will help you be able to do your job better and give satisfactory results to clients.
You can think of the colors of the rainbow, and colors in general, as broken up into two categories; warm colors and cool colors. Now, warm and cool are usually associated with temperatures, so you may be assuming that’s what we mean when we say that the colors of the rainbow are classified into warm and cool colors. When we say that these colors make us feel warm and cool, we’re talking about psychology, not physically.
Warm colors are those that range from orange to yellow and red. Warm colors are traditionally reds, pinks, oranges, and yellows. Usually, warm colors are used for branding when companies want to catch the eye of the consumer. Red is bright, fiery, and passionate and is used to catch the attention of the consumer. Yellow as well is often used in branding since it’s bright and can stand out.
Graphic designers include warm colors in their designs if they want to make the consumer feel welcomed, invited, and overall let the design have a softer feeling. Warm colors can also display energy and are often used in logos that appeal to youth. Think of Mcdonald’s using two warm colors; red and yellow. This is to appeal to youth and to increase the consumers’ appetite.
Secondly, we can think about cool colors and how they evoke emotions in consumers. Cool colors, although different in their meanings and what emotions they evoke in people, have the same effect in the sense that they both influence consumers greatly when used in marketing.
Cool colors are those placed on the opposite side of the color wheel and basically the remaining colors in the rainbow. Cool colors include greens, purples, and blues. These are colors that are most often associated with water, nature, and the sky. Graphic designers use these colors if they want to give consumers a calming, relaxed, or reserved mood. Since blue is the only primary color of the cool colors, it means that all cool colors have some hue of warm and cool colors in them.
Graphic designers use cool colors in their designs if they want to communicate success, calmness, faithfulness, and depth. When you think of designs with cool colors included, you can think of medical centers or drinking water companies since these colors use logos with cool colors to signify health and cleanliness.
The colors of the rainbow can greatly influence graphic design and as a designer the better that you can comprehend the colors of the rainbow and their meaning the better you can complete your job. When using colors, many graphic designers opt to choose a combination of cool and warm colors. Finding a balance can be difficult, but combining and contrasting until you reach what you think is the perfect result can often be a powerful marketing tool.