Understanding the Qualities and Characteristics of Color

Understanding the Qualities and Characteristics of Color


Shifting on from our earlier article on defining and recognizing colours, let’s now discover the qualities and traits of colours.

If you wish to see what’s in style proper now, take a look at our separate publish on 2021 colour traits for designers.


Part of the hotter colour household, the first colour purple is a powerful, emotionally-intense colour.


Naturally enhancing the metabolic charge in individuals, it has additionally been proven to extend respiration charges and blood strain when persons are uncovered to it. It is utilized in site visitors programs quite a bit (suppose highway indicators and site visitors lights) as purple is a high-visibility colour which has loads of affect.

Some associations of the colour purple embrace:

  • power
  • positivity
  • motion
  • conflict
  • hazard
  • power
  • braveness, and
  • all issues intense and passionate
  • love, intercourse, ardour, want

What’s fascinating about purple is the way it has two almost-direct reverse associations: love and conflict. Because of purple being often known as a high-impact colour that always represents hazard, it is also related to many memorable conflict photographs. Nevertheless, purple is understood fairly closely for love and issues of the guts – with various shades of purple (from stronger, darker colours to lighter variations resembling pink) being closely related to Valentine’s Day in Western tradition.

In different cultures, purple has fully completely different meanings. In China, purple is related to each prosperity and happiness, in addition to being an emblem of excellent luck. In India, purple represents purity and is then usually used as a colour utilized in many weddings. Nevertheless, in South Africa purple is the colour used most in mourning.

When utilizing purple, it is usually sensible use it extra as an accent colour than a focal colour for the entire of a web site. Whereas in some conditions it really works nicely as the primary focal colour, more often than not utilizing an excessive amount of purple in a design could cause emotions of irritation, agitation and even anger. Nevertheless, utilizing too little purple may create a sense of cautiousness and manipulation.

Owing to those two extremes, it may be fairly tough utilizing purple to construct the appropriate stability. Nevertheless, utilizing purple as an accent colour – significantly on options that you simply wish to improve or make explicit be aware of, resembling buttons or different components that push a person to decide – might be fairly efficient.


One other colour belonging to the nice and cozy household, orange is usually seen as a shiny, optimistic and uplifting colour.


Each youthful and impulsive, orange usually acts as a psychological stimulant and is seen to be fairly balancing.

Some associations of the colour orange embrace:

  • enthusiasm
  • happiness
  • intestine reactions
  • spontaneity
  • journey, risk-taking
  • autumn (fall) and harvest
  • creativity
  • citrus
  • wholesome meals

Orange is usually seen related to the third season within the yearly cycle: Autumn (or Fall). As a result of altering colours within the seasons, orange provides a heat transition from the brighter colours of summer time earlier than the harsher, cooler colours of Winter set in. Orange can be the primary colour related to Halloween, which additionally takes locations within the peak of Autumn on October thirty first.

In addition to the associations with nature, orange is seen as a colour which evokes enthusiasm and spontaneity in individuals. A colour that encourages journey and risk-taking, orange (on account of its citric associations) additionally acts as an urge for food stimulant, so could also be helpful in web site designs the place meals or the urge for food of the person is related.

And fascinated by what we mentioned earlier about a number of the associations orange has with autumn and the transition between seasons – why not translate this into your designs, utilizing orange as a colour that gives transitions between two completely different areas of your design?

When utilizing orange, it is positively helpful to consider your goal market and viewers. When younger persons are your target market, orange appears to be a preferred colour. In addition to this, orange can be utilized to get individuals speaking or considering.


The final of the primary heat colours, yellow is a shiny, inventive colour.


Identified for its means to advertise clear considering and fast resolution making, yellow might be most related to happiness, constructive power and sunshine.

Some associations of the colour yellow embrace:

  • creativity
  • sunshine
  • happiness
  • power
  • cowardice
  • deceit
  • warnings
  • instability
  • readability
  • exercise

Yellow, one of many three main colours, is seen mainly as a happiness-invoking, inventive colour and might due to this fact be used successfully to create designs that evoke emotions of happiness and readability.

A really energetic colour, yellow additionally has a level of exercise that it may well cross alongside in your designs. You should use yellow to create enthusiasm and improve areas in your design that want motion to be taken.

In different cultures yellow has wildly completely different associations and meanings. In Egypt, yellow is extensively used as the colour for mourning and within the Center Ages, yellow clothes was worn to indicate people who had died. In India, yellow is a colour that’s usually utilized by retailers. And in Japan, yellow is an emblem of braveness and due to this fact has constructive associations.

When designing with yellow, it’s good to bear in mind that utilizing an excessive amount of yellow can typically introduce emotions of tension – on account of it being such a shiny, “fast-moving” colour an excessive amount of yellow can result in an unbalanced really feel in your web site. As an alternative, attempt to introduce different colours alongside yellow and use yellow as a spotlight on a web page, to lend focus to the extra necessary facets of a design.

Nevertheless, because of the results yellow has on an individual (going again to the “fast-moving” sense it seems to supply), you may typically use yellow to your benefit – for instance, yellow seems to induce faster resolution making and due to this fact having yellow buttons in e-commerce designs may go extraordinarily nicely – so long as it’s in becoming with the remainder of your design.

Because of yellow feeling fairly unstable it would not be a good suggestion to make use of yellow in a web site the place you wish to invoke a sense of stability or safety. It additionally appears that traditionally males understand yellow to be a infantile colour, so it would not be a great colour selection for males’s product web sites – although it will be proper at residence when used for a youthful viewers.


Belonging to the cooler household of colours, inexperienced is a rejuvenating colour and is usually described as a pure peacemaker, on account of its many associations with stress-free facets of nature.


Some associations of the colour inexperienced embrace:

  • spring
  • progress
  • renewal & rebirth
  • stability
  • nature
  • grass & gardens
  • stability
  • possessiveness
  • jealousy
  • envy
  • fertility
  • security
  • cash
  • recycling

A mix of blue and yellow, inexperienced provides the psychological readability and enthusiasm of yellow blended with the extra emotionally calm and secure blue. In nature, we see inexperienced round us on a regular basis – in leaves, grass, flowers and far more. Due to this, a number of the associations now we have with the colour inexperienced are associated fairly closely to nature and related themes resembling rebirth and fertility.

Inexperienced is sometimes called a colour that gives a way of stability and stability. It may due to this fact work nicely to make use of inexperienced in designs the place you wish to present how a services or products is dependable or protected to make use of.

On the opposite aspect of the coin, inexperienced additionally has numerous associations with jealousy, envy, and possessiveness – so it’s good to watch out about how you employ the colours and make sure you use inexperienced extra so as to add stability to a web site.

Inexperienced has sturdy hyperlinks with the recycling market, with inexperienced getting used within the main recycling logos within the UK and Europe alone. Subsequently, it is sensible to make use of inexperienced in designs that relate to recycling or any “inexperienced” product, service or firm.

In different cultures, inexperienced usually has good connotations. In Eire, in addition to showing on the nationwide flag, it is a colour that’s closely related to St. Patrick’s Day. Inexperienced can be the colour of the fortunate four-leaf clover, which might be probably the most well-known image of luck on this planet. Inexperienced is the normal colour in Islam and can be talked about in a great gentle quite a bit within the Quran, with a lot of these in Paradise described as sporting “inexperienced clothes”.


The good of all the primary colours, blue is usually seen as a really dependable and tranquil colour, more than likely because of the most blatant affiliation of blue with the ocean and the sky.


A conservative colour, it’s usually used nicely in designs that signify cleanliness and an air of duty.

Some associations of the colour blue embrace:

  • the ocean
  • the sky
  • belief
  • honesty
  • loyalty
  • sincerity
  • peace
  • tranquility
  • intelligence

The ultimate of the first colours (alongside purple and yellow), blue is a stress-reducing colour that’s usually utilized in designs for masculine and company audiences. Blue is a colour that invokes the sensation of belief, honesty and safety and due to this fact lends itself nicely particularly to designs for merchandise, companies or corporations that wish to evoke these emotions of their audiences.

With its many associations with each the sky and the ocean, blue additionally works nicely on designs that wish to fairly closely promote these issues. For instance, if a product relates closely to the ocean (a browsing product, for instance) then blue can be utilized to convey out these acquainted emotions referring to the ocean and assist the viewers relate to the product or web site extra. The identical might be mentioned for any colours that relate to precise, actual issues – resembling something in nature, like grass or flowers.

Blue can be recognized to be an urge for food suppressor, so it would not be an appropriate colour to make use of in designs that contain meals ultimately. You additionally must be conscious how utilizing an excessive amount of blue might be stifling and might virtually appear old school, relying on the shades used.

A number of the finest instances to make use of blue in your designs shall be for web sites which might be centered on masculine audiences and in addition for company companies. That is not to say you may’t use blue on different kinds of design – do not be afraid to experiment and have enjoyable with utilizing colours the place you may not count on them.

Like with the final associations, there are lots of completely different connotations that include the colour blue in several cultures as nicely. Within the Western tradition, there’s the “one thing blue” custom, usually utilized in weddings the place the bride is obtainable one thing blue (in addition to the opposite conventional “one thing previous” and “one thing new”) as a token of excellent luck in her new married life. Nevertheless, in Iran, blue is the colour that’s utilized in mourning.


The final of the cooler colour household, purple is seen as fairly a mysterious colour, normally representing ambition, royalty and energy.


Some associations with the colour purple embrace:

  • royalty
  • creativeness
  • energy
  • luxurious
  • wealth
  • extravagance
  • ambition
  • knowledge
  • magic
  • thriller

A very good mixture of each purple and blue, purple is intriguing and has each the calming, tranquil impact of blue and the power that purple provides. Purple is usually seen as a colour of luxurious and works nicely in designs that want to point out that bit extra of an extravagant edge to it.

In contrast to blues and greens, purple is a uncommon colour to come back throughout in nature. For instance, purple flowers resembling lilies, orchids and lavender are uncommon to come back throughout however are very fragile and delicate, but very valuable and handled with nice respect.

Purple is a well-liked tradition in lots of cultures, for a lot of completely different causes. In Thailand, purple is the colour of mourning for widows whereas in Egypt, it’s recognized extensively because the favorite colour of Cleopatra, who was the final pharaoh of Historic Egypt. In lots of different cultures, purple is the normal colour worn by royalty or individuals with authority. And within the US, there’s the “Purple Coronary heart”, a major US Army ornament awarded within the identify of the President to these wounded or killed in battle.

When utilizing purple, it’s good to watch out of utilizing it an excessive amount of – whereas sure quantities can positively promote a extra majestic, extravagant or luxurious really feel to your design an excessive amount of purple may irritate and has even been heard to worsen despair in some individuals.

It has been discovered that the majority youngsters favor the colour purple to different colours, so it will probably be a very efficient colour to make use of in your designs which have a youthful viewers.

Utilizing purple in your designs can be utilized to spice up creativeness or creativity and lighter shades of purple additionally work very well in female designs.

Coloration Schemes

Coloration schemes are an association of colours that, as soon as put collectively, can be utilized in any type of design – together with your designs on the internet. It is laborious work to provide you with a great colour scheme – and it is easy to note when colours really feel or appear “off” or not fairly proper. Nevertheless, if you do make an effort to create a great and efficient colour scheme – and you set it to good use – it will make all of the distinction between a great design and one that’s mediocre.

There are just a few principal colour schemes, together with: monochromatic, analogous, complementary, break up complementary, triadic and tetradic.

Observe: You may hear the subsequent few phrases used fairly a bit when discussing colour schemes. This is a helpful little glossary that will help you out in case you want it:

  • Hue: A “hue” is the colour itself – so inexperienced, blue, purple, purple, and many others.
  • Tint: A “tint” is when *white* is added to a hue, making that hue lighter.
  • Shade: A “shade” is if you as a substitute add *black* to a hue, making it darker.
  • Tone: A tone is created when *gray* is added to a hue.


Monochromatic colour schemes use one hue (resembling blue) after which use varied tints or shades of that unique colour.


These are the best colour schemes to create because it solely entails the one hue – so you realize that the few base colours you select will work in concord with each other.


Analogous colour schemes are created by selecting hues which might be subsequent to one another on the colour wheel. So, for instance, blue-green, inexperienced and yellow-green.


The simplest manner to make use of a similar colour scheme is to decide on one of many colours as the primary, dominant colour after which use the opposite two extra sparsely, as accent colours to the primary.


Complementary colour schemes are created by selecting two colours which might be opposites on the colour wheel – for instance, purple and inexperienced or purple and yellow. Due to these colours being actual opposites, they provide extraordinarily excessive distinction and have a excessive affect.


Complementary colour schemes might be laborious to drag off because of this and work higher when you may have components of a design you wish to stand out, somewhat than utilizing them in fuller doses throughout the entire of a design.

Break up Complementary

Break up complementary colour schemes are created by taking one colour after which taking the 2 colours which might be both aspect of what could be the primary colours complementary.


For instance, in case your principal colour is purple, then your different two colours shall be both aspect of the purple’s complementary colour yellow – so yellow-green and yellow-orange.

As this colour scheme is sort of near the complementary colour scheme, it’s nonetheless going to have fairly the affect when used, although it may well really feel somewhat extra balanced and calmer than full-on complementary schemes. Once more, when utilizing a break up complementary colour scheme it’s simpler to make use of one of many colours as the primary focus, with the opposite two colours getting used as an accent.


Triadic colour schemes use three colours which might be evenly spaced across the colour wheel, for instance purple, orange and inexperienced.


Utilizing triadic colour schemes means you normally find yourself with fairly a shiny and vibrant colour scheme, although this may be toned down barely by utilizing various shades and tints of the colours. Like with the earlier colour schemes, triadic colours schemes work finest when letting one colour have extra of a spotlight, with the opposite two working as accent colours.


Tetradic colour schemes work by pairing up two units of complementary colour schemes. It virtually works by virtually making a rectangle across the colour wheel. An instance of a tetradic colour scheme is purple, inexperienced, blue and orange.


What’s nice concerning the tetradic colour scheme is that it provides a number of selection in relation to selecting the colours that you simply use, and should give you extra concepts if you’re designing your web site. Once more, although, like with all the different colour schemes a tetradic colour scheme works finest by permitting one of many colours to be the main target, with the remainder getting used as accent colours.


That concludes our have a look at the traits of colours. Within the subsequent a part of Design College for Builders, we’ll study sensible methods of selecting a colour scheme.


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