If you think that typography is all that graphic design is about, think again. The importance of color as an element of web design cannot be discounted. Imagine a bland grey scale page, devoid of any color to it. Exactly.
It’s already a proven fact that the right side of the brain is stimulated by visual elements and color, while the left side of the brain is activated by printed text. In other words, the right side of the brain is associated with emotions, while the left side is associated with logic. So basically, colors help stimulate certain emotions within the human brain. If this can be tapped into effectively, a good base for design will already have been established.
Typography, in association with color, is responsible for being the cornerstone of good web designing. A harmonious combination of the perfect typography with the appropriate colors can go a long way in drawing attention quickly to the content, while also reinforcing recognition and impact. This, in turn, can help establish powerful brand identities.
There are various guidelines on what to do with color, and what to avoid specifically, so as to achieve the perfect design:
The Color Wheel: All About It
The principles of the color wheel comprise of some basic guidelines that go a long way when using color. Color consists of three parts: primary, secondary and tertiary. Primary colors include yellow, blue and red. Secondary colors, which can be obtained by combining the primary colors, consist of purple, orange and green. And finally, the tertiary colors are acquired by mixing primary and secondary colors, and they include red-purple, blue-purple, yellow-green, yellow-orange, red-orange and red-purple. This is all that the 12 color much-hyped color wheel is all about.
A few standard rules pertaining to the color wheel are:
1. Monochromatic color schemes are generally the easiest on the eyes, since they include shades of the same hue, only in varying degrees of intensity.
2. Analogous color schemes – usage of colors sharing the same undertones – look very harmonious; for example, yellow-orange and yellow, or yellow and yellow-green.
3. Complementary color schemes draw the most attention, since the rule of “opposites attract” applies to colors too. Such colors, for example, pink and blue, form a unified whole when used together.
Using Colors Based on Surroundings
If you place a big yellow rectangle beside a thin narrow yellow rectangle, the color in the narrow rectangle will take on a deeper appearance, despite the fact that both colors used are the same. This happens due to the presence of a bigger amount of white space around the narrow rectangle.
Focusing on Readability
As with anything else, color, especially when used on text, exists so that it can be read. There is simply no point in placing yellow text on a pale pink background, where it will almost go unnoticed.
Combining color with type is a relatively new aspect of graphic designing, as earlier the focus was mainly on monochromatic designs. While the black-and-white combination still holds popular ground today – mainly due to the fact that black text on a white background is the easiest to read – other color combinations are finding their way into designs as well.
If used properly, the combination of color and type can go a long way in emphasising the message of the design. Also, keep in mind that the contrast between a colored type and its background tends to diminish if the characters are too closely spaced, not to mention the illegibility it may lend to the text.