Color is a part of every design. Anything that is (except weird invisible things) has color. The principles of color are pretty basic. If you look in the picture above, based on the knowledge of our favorite number three, we can say that kitchen is pretty well-designed. The focal color is on the walls. That would be green. The complementary color is in the counter and tile: brown. And the accent color is found in the glass-front cabinets, on the counter, and in the curtain. Red. The appliances are black, which would be a fourth color, but in kitchens, the appliances are not really part of ‘design’, per se, they are just part of the work you do in that kitchen.
We’ve kind of covered that base already. But another thing to keep in mind is the different families of neutral colors. There’s two families of neutral colors. Browns and blacks. As you add more white to brown, you’ll eventually get to off-whites. As you add more white to black, you’ll get grey-whites. By the way, just thought I should let you know, that I don’t have a doctorate in color. This may not be completely correct, but it’s the ultimate point that matters.
When you throw a brown in with a black, you get a sort of a mashed-up, hectic sensation similar to that people get when they look at designs that have too many colors. Most people know not to wear black shoes with a brown skirt, or vice versa. If someone will be wearing an ivory wedding dress, great care is taken not to get a pure-white strand of pearls. The effect sort of “buzzes” the eyes, and confuses them.
Of primary and secondary colors there are two families. Warm, and cool. Warm colors are colors that have that brownish or off-white tint; reds, pinks, oranges, and yellows. Cool colors are colors that have a black or white influence, such as blues, greens, grays, and purples. But, unlike mixing browns and blacks, mixing warm colors with cool colors is very acceptable, and sometimes preferable. The classic combination of red and blue is very commonly found.
Of these two pictures, the first is very commanding, very present, but it also is a little wearying. So many warm tones makes my eyes a little tired. It’s beautiful, it isn’t breaking any rules, and it does its job well. It just is a little much. The second one is equally as eye-grabbing. Next to the first one, it doesn’t seem to be as bold, but it brings in a cool color. The purple helps counter act the orange colors, and while they both would make great logos (I might even prefer the first for its presence), the second is just a little tad bit easier on the eyes.
The third thing to remember with colors is something many people know already. With clothing, keep in mind 1) when you’ll be wearing it, and 2)where you’ll be wearing it.
If you’ll be wearing this new dress for a wedding in June, pick a light color. But if the dress is for a Christmas party, go for dark colors. Autumn is a great season (my personal favorite), and having a peaches-and-cream complexion, the colors that go with it are great for me too. Autumn is a great time for the darker colors of both families to come out, but especially the warmer tones.
If you are sewing for a joyous occasion, keep in mind that black might not be a great idea. But if you’re working on a project to be used for your winter recital (or, sadly, a funeral), black is very appropriate. Going with neon colors in almost any situation is a little overboard. Remember that by choosing a color that stands out, the person wearing that color will stand out. As a result, if said neon garment is for a performance, it will serve the performer well. But if you decide to wear it to a friend’s wedding, said friend’s dress must pale to yours, and that is, of course, a wedding taboo.
Color is an amazing thing, and so much fun to work with. Keep your color scheme simple, and you make it gorgeous. ♥
This is the second post in a multi-part series on principles to keep in mind as you design and make things.
Read “Mindful Crafting, Part One – Three” here. Logos designed by Polly Wolly Designs for this series.