“Color” as a Visual element of Graphic design?

Hello and welcome to today’s blog, it’s on “Color” as a visual element, which is another topic related to our series on Visual elements of Graphic Design.

In this blog, I am going to discuss an important key visual element i.e. “Color” in graphic design. So color plays one of the biggest roles in graphic design. It can be used as a mechanism of an organization; it can create impact and create a specific feel, look, and a specific graphic design work.

When working with color, it helps to have a good knowledge of color theory. A color theory provides us the practical guidance to help us to mix colors and create interesting color combinations, and with the color wheel.

Color Wheel – The color wheel is a really useful tool to design to help us choose colors that work well together. So this wheel contains red, yellow, blue, green, etc. which consists of 12 colors.

Now if we jump on to the Adobe color website, we can see this color wheel has more available colors as a spectrum. This is an amazing resource to explore and create color schemes. The address for this website is color.adobe.com. I have referred to this website later in this blog.

Now to help explain color theory, I will use this simple example-

If you want to take a closer look at this color wheel and the spectrum you can find them. So the color wheel consists of Primary colors, Secondary colors, and Tertiary colors and these can be explained as a warm and cool color. So let’s take a look at each of these:

  1. Primary Colors: – Primary colors make up the bases of the color wheel; here they are red, yellow, and blue.

2. Secondary Colors: – They are made by mixing equal portions of the primary colors. These create orange and purple.

3. Tertiary Colors: – Tertiary colors are made by mixing the primary colors with the neighboring secondary colors.

For example: –

If we mix the yellow with the orange, we get a yellow-orange color in between. If we continue to mix primary and neighboring colors we feel the gaps and get the remaining colors which are called Tertiary colors.

Now if we separate the color wheel, we get 2 types of categories: Warm Colors and Cool Colors.

On the right we have the Warm colors, these incorporate the red, and violet colors through to yellow. On the left we have the Cool colors these incorporate the colors yellow through the Indigo, so that completes the color wheel. Now this is a really useful tool, which helps us to choose color schemes. To help us choose interesting color combinations and let have a harmony to get or create contrast, there are some color rules we can explore.

These color rules are referred as monochromatic colors, and Analogous colors, Complementary colors, and Triadic colors.

So first we have monochromatic colors: – Monochromatic colors are shades obtained from the same color. The monochromatic color scheme is typically balanced and easy to the eye.

Now if we jump to the Adobe color website, color.adobe.com, we can see some of these colors rules on the left. If I click on monochromatic it will generate a monochromatic color scheme below. Now if I click and drag the middle color center over the others it would generate new schemes.

Next, we have Analogous colors: –

Analogous colors are those closer to each other on the color wheel. Analogous colors typically will always work well together since they have similar origins. Like the monochromatic colors, they are also balanced for a typically more interesting as these colors have more contrast, this time on the Adobe color website. If I click on analogous colors, then it will generate an analogous color scheme. If I click and drag the middle center over others then it will generate new schemes. Notice that all the colors are similar to each other.

Next, we have complementary colors: – Complementary colors are those which are often found on the opposite ends of the color wheel. Complementary colors highly contrast, which produce vibrant and exciting color schemes. As suggested the complementary colors enhance each other and they typically always work well together.

Back to the adobe color website, if I click on the complementary it will generate complementary schemes, if I click and drag them in the circle, it would generate new schemes.

Finally, we have Triadic Colors: – Triadic colors are those that are placed equally on the color wheel. Triadic colors produce vibrant effect back on the Adobe color website. If I click on Triadic, it would generate a Triadic color scheme. If I click and drag the middle circle, it would generate new schemes.

So those are some rules and keep in mind when you are exploring colors – so that is another key visual element in the graphic design.

Well, I hope you like this blog. If you did, please leave a comment below in the comment section.


Vishwajit Kale

Vishwajit Kale blazed onto the digital marketing scene back in 2015 and is the digital marketing strategist of Hostripples, a company that aims to provide affordable web hosting solutions. Vishwajit is experienced in digital and content marketing along with SEO. He's fond of writing technology blogs, traveling and reading.