— For Designers
This is our section dedicated to helping designers out. We have compiled articles on color psychology and association, useful links, and subjects of interest to the graphic designer.
I - Terminology:
Hue: Synonym for color. Hue is the dominant wavelength of light reflected by a colored object. Pure hues such as red, yellow and blue are called chromatic colors. Black, white and gray are called achromatic color.
Tint: Micture of a saturated color plus white. Pastel colors are tints.
Tone: A tone is a mixture of a hue and gray.
Shade: A shade is a micxture of a hue and black.
Undertone: Underlying color in any hue. For example, gray in grayish blue.
Value: Lightness or darkness of a color.
Saturation: Describes the intensity of a color: how much gray it conatins.
II - Color Association:
III - Color and Personality:
Just as red sits on top of the rainbow, you like to stay on top of
things. You have a zest for life. Remember that red can speed up the pulse,
increase the respiration rate and raise blood pressure. It is associated
with fire, heat, and blood, so it is impossible to ignore. And so are
you (or would like to be).
The key words
associated with red are winner, achiever, intense, impulsive, active,
competitive, daring, aggressive and passionate. Red people are exciting,
animated, optimistic, emotional and extroverted. Desire is the key word,
they hunger for fullness of experience and living.
you have all the good news, let's hear it for the bad news. Since you
crave so much excitement in your life, routine can drive you bananas.
Restlessness can make you fickle in your pursuit of new things to turn
you on. It is hard for you to be objective and you can be opinionated.
You have a tendency to listen to what others tell you and then do whatever
you please. Patience is not one of your virtues.
you are an exciting person to be with, and always stimulating. The world
would be a dull place without red people.
Since red is primarily associated with a zest for life, excitement
and passion, a dislike of this hue could mean that these feelings are
a bit much for you to handle at this point in your life. Perhaps you are
bothered by the aggressiveness and intensity that red signifies. Or perhaps
you would really like more fulfillment but are afraid to get involved.
People who are irritable, ill exhausted, or bothered by many problems
often reject red and turn to the calmer colors for rest and relaxation.
They are very self-protective.
This is a softened red, so it tempers passion with purity. It is associated
with romance, sweetness, delicacy, refinement and tenderness. Pink people
are interested in the world around them, but they do not throw themselves
into participating with the ardor of the red person. Violence in any form
is upsetting to you.
At one time,
pink was considered exclusively feminine, like the frosting on a little
girl's birthday cake, but more men are comfortable with pink now because
it's no less macho to exhibit sensitive, so-called "feminine traits."
If you love
pink, you are talented and have subdued drive, charm and warmth, and are
probably an incurable romantic. Pink people are friendly but tend to keep
inner feelings hidden.
Soft, medium tints do not evoke much emotion--many people are indifferent
to pink. It is sweetness, innocence and naivete--red with the passion
removed. So if you dislike pink, you are looking for excitement in your
life and pink simply will not do it for you.
Yellow is luminous and warm because it is strongly associated with sunshine.
It sparkles with optimistic activity. Yellow people are highly original,
imaginative, idealistic, creative, artistic and often spiritual. You love
novelty and challenge and have an inquiring mind. You are a reliable friend
and confidant. Your ambitions are often realized, and you usually have
a sunny disposition.
You are often
egotistical, however, and do not like to be second best. You can be generous,
but may be rather shy at heart and appear somewhat aloof as a result.
You may be impatient with other people's ideas if they seem less well
thought out than yours. You are genuinely concerned about the good of
society, but generally spend more time talking about it than actually
doing anything about it! Yellow people are perfectionists, but can also
If you dislike yellow, you usually dislike the qualities that this luminous
color has. You are a realist--a practical, down-to-earth person and probably
critical of others who are not. You are skeptical of new ideas and rather
than try something innovative, you prefer to concentrate on things you
know you can accomplish. Guaranteed results are important to you, because
you like to protect yourself from disappointment.
Orange is a combination of red and yellow, so it takes on many of the
characteristics of both colors. It is vibrant and warm, like the autumn
leaves. Orange has the physical force of red, but it is less intense,
less passionate. Lovers of this color work and play hard, are adventurous
You are good-natured,
expansive and extroverted with a disposition as bright as your favorite
color, and you like to be with people. Your ideas are unique and you have
strong determination. You are more agreeable than aggressive.
can be fickle. It has been said that your latest friend is your best friend.
Orange lovers make for undependable mates--they're always looking for
new worlds to conquer! Success in business can come easily to this gregarious,
If your preferences
tend to the peach tones, you have all of the same traits as the orange
person, but you are much less assertive about it. You work hard, but your
play (especially sports) activities are more as an observer than a participant.
You're friendly and charming as well, but in a much more subtle way!
Life is definitely not a dish of gumdrops for the rejecter of orange.
Nothing flamboyant appeals to you. You dislike too much partying, hilarity,
loud laughter, showing off and obvious intimacy. As a result, you may
be difficult to get to know, if not a loner. You prefer a few genuine
close friends to a large circle of acquaintances and once you make a friend,
they're your friend forever.
The color of Mother Earth is the hue that is associated with substance
and stability. A preference for brown means you have a steady, reliable
character with a keen sense of duty and responsibility. You are the down-to-earth
person with a subtle sense of humor. Browns love simplicity, comfort,
quality, harmony, hearth and home.
You are a
loyal friend, understanding but firm. Brown people have strong views and
may be intolerant of others who think, talk, or act too quickly. You strive
to be good money managers (we won't say "cheap") and drive a good bargain.
You are the
person who might find it difficult to be carefree and spontaneous but
will often rebel internally against accepting things the way they are.
You feel very uncomfortable about losing control, but will work hard to
change a situation that seems unjust or unfair.
a good marriage partner and a good parent because you have a strong need
for security and a sense of belonging. Family life is very important to
You probably fantasize about a lot of things, perhaps traveling with a
circus or racing cars. Novelty excites you and routine drives you crazy.
You are witty, impetuous and generous. Living on a farm is not for you.
Homespun people bore you. You do like people, but they must be bright
and outgoing. A meaningful relationship with you could be risky business--it's
hard to get you to sit still!
Beige people have many of the same characteristics as brown, though they
are probably less intense. Creamy beiges and honeyed tones take on a lot
of yellow qualities, while rosy beiges take on pink characteristics. You
are warm, appreciate quality, and are carefully neutral in most situations.
You are usually well-adjusted and practical.
You are less frenetic and impetuous than a disliker of brown, but have
many of the same characteristics. Beige represents to you a beige existence--boring
and tiresome. You hate routine.
Nature's most plentiful color promises a balance between warmth and
coolness, so green people are usually stable and balanced types. This
is the good citizen, concerned parent, involved neighbor and PTA member--the
joiner of clubs and organizations. You are fastidious, kind and generous.
It is important
for you to win the admiration of peers so you are often a "do-gooder."
You are a caring companion, loyal friend, partner or lover, with a high
moral sense, and are super sensitive to doing the right thing.
You are intelligent
and understand new concepts. You are less inclined, however, to risk something
new than to do what is popular and conventional. The bad news about green
people is that they often have big appetites for food. If you are dieting,
it is difficult for you to lose your lumpies. The worst vice for a green
is the tendency to gossip. Are you a little green with envy?
Since lovers of green are usually very social, joiners and "keep up with
the Joneses" types, dislikers of green will often put those qualities
down. You may have an unfulfilled need to be recognized that causes you
to pull away from people rather than join them. You don't like thinking,
looking and doing things the way you see the majority of people thinking,
looking and doing them. Picnics, cocktail parties and a quiet Saturday
night at home are not your thing.
and certain body functions are often associated with yellow-green, as
are snakes, lizards, dragons and various other creepy-crawlies. Did something
slithery frighten you as a child?
The color of tranquility and peace, blue tends to be the most preferred
color universally. Although cool and confident (or wishing to be), blues
can be vulnerable. You are trusting and need to be trusted. You are sensitive
to the needs of others and form strong attachments, and are deeply hurt
if your trust has been betrayed.
aspire to harmony, serenity, patience, perseverance and peace. You are
somewhat social but prefer sticking to your own close circle of friends.
You think twice before speaking or acting out. You are generally conservative,
even tempered and reliable.
the highly developed sense of responsibility of the blue personality,
you must be careful of perfectionist tendencies that may make you unrealistically
demanding. Your gentleness, however, will win out.
A dislike of blue may mean restlessness--a need to break away from
the sameness that bores you. Perhaps you would like to change your job,
or even your life, and long for more excitement. You might be tired of
being "depended on," but your conscience makes you stay. You wish that
you were either wealthy or brilliant (or both) because that would enable
you to have all the good things in life without working so hard. Deeper
blues may mean sadness and melancholy to you--blue may simply give you
Since this is a marriage of the blue and green colors previously mentioned,
many of the traits will be combined, but there are added dimensions. You
are neat (to the point of fussiness) and well-groomed. You are sensitive,
but also sophisticated, self-assured and (usually) stable.
others and usually manage your own affairs very well. Courtesy and charm
are characteristics, too. But narcissism is a key word here. Teals love
to dress up to get the admiration of others, but along with admiration,
you may also provoke some of the "blue-green-eyed monsters."
Since love of teal means orderliness and neatness, dislike of teal
means that, as messy as you'd like to be, a little voice inside you (was
it your mother or your father?) keeps telling you to clean up your room.
As much as you try to ignore it, it won't go away. You really love to
relax more and not pay attention to petty details. You really prefer earthy
types to fussy people.
This hue has an aura of mystery and intrigue. The purple person is enigmatic
and highly creative, with a quick perception of spiritual ideas. Purple
is often preferred by artists. People who like to consider themselves
different from the common herd or unconventional often prefer purple.
You are often
generous and, at times, charming. Purple is also associated with wit,
keen observation, super sensitivity, vanity and moodiness. Because purple
is a combination of red and blue, which are opposites in many ways, you
often have conflicting traits. You are constantly trying to balance those
opposites--the excitement of red with the tranquility of blue.
It has been
said that purple people are easy to live with but hard to know. You can
be secretive, so that even when you seem to confide freely, your closest
friends never completely understand you.
People who love this tint use it sometimes to the exclusion of all other
colors. Just as with purple, this person likes to be considered different.
You are quick-witted, though usually not intellectual.
person seeks refinement in life. Yours is a fantasy land where ugliness
and the basic aspects of life are ignored. Outward appearances are very
important. Gentility and sentimental leanings also go along with this
color, as do romance, nostalgia and delicacy. Since lavender is first
cousin to purple, you may aspire to creativity, but if not capable of
it, you tend to encourage those who do have talent.
Yours is a no-nonsense approach to life. You don't like others to
be coy with you--you would rather they be direct. Nostalgia is not your
thing; you live in the present. Just as with the anti-purple people, you
don't like superficiality in manners or appearance and you usually let
people know about it (or wish that you had). You may also see lavender
as insipid or aging.
People who prefer this most neutral of all shades are carefully neutral
about life. You like to protect yourself from the hectic world, wrapping
yourself with the security blanket of a noncommittal color. You prefer
a secure, safe, balanced existence, and so unlike the reds in life, you
never crave real excitement, just contentment. It is important for you
to maintain the status quo.
often made compromises in your lifestyles. You are practical and calm
and do not like to attract attention. You are willing to work hard (the
grey flannel suit) and to be of service. You are the middle-of-the-road
type, cool, conservative, composed and reliable.
To dislike grey is to dislike neutrality. You would rather be right or
wrong, but never indifferent. Routine bores you. You look for a richer,
fuller life. This may lead you to get into one involvement, hobby, or
interest after another in the pursuit of happiness. Grey may mean eerie
ghosts, ashes, cobwebs, and the dust of a haunted house, or other scary
This color also speaks of neutrality, but combines the character and dependability
of grey with the warmth of beige. You like classic looks and are careful
about allowing too much excitement into your life. You're practical, fair,
well-balanced, and would make a good arbitrator.
If taupe doesn't appeal to you, it may be because it is so balanced and
classic. You'd rather make a more definite statement, whether with color
or otherwise. You're probably not known for your subtlety.
This is rarely chosen as a favorite color because it is actually the negation
of color. The person who chooses black may have a number of conflicting
attitudes. You may be conventional, conservative and serious, or you may
like to think of yourself as rather worldly or sophisticated, a cut above
everyone else, or very dignified.
You may also
want to have an air of mystery, or, as in the language of the proverbial
black negligee, be very sexy. Wit, cleverness, personal security and prestige
are very important to you.
Since black is the negation of color, it may be a total negative to you.
It is the eternal mystery, the bottomless pit, the black hole, the Halloween
witch and her black cat. It may represent death and mourning to you. Things
that go bump in the night are black. Were you frightened by the dark in
your childhood? That experience could be buried in the darkest recesses
of your mind and may still haunt you when you look at anything black.
Black may simply be too heavy or depressing for you to handle at this
point in your life.
You are uncomfortable
with the super-sophisticated and feel insecure in their company. You like
real people and are not dazzled by dignitaries.
White is cleanliness and purity, and those who prefer white are neat and
immaculate in their clothing and homes. You are inclined to be a cautious
buyer and shrewd trader, but critical and fussy. If you got a spot on
your tie or scarf in a restaurant, you would summon a glass of water immediately
to clean it off. White also signifies a self-sufficient person and, occasionally,
innocence. It is a recall of youth and simplicity.
Since white represents cleanliness and purity, to dislike white does
not exactly mean that you are a messy person, but it does mean that you
have never been obsessed with order. You are not very fussy. Things that
are a little off-center are much more interesting to you than those that
are perfectly in line. A little dust on the shelves or on yourself doesn't
throw you into a spasm of cleaning. You are not very uptight and are easy
to be with. You may see white as sterile and connect it with nurses' uniforms,
doctors, and worst of all (for many people) dentists.