Color Between the Lines

By Tricia Piña, Art Director

As a designer I have a really hard time answering the question “What is your favorite color?” In fact my answer usually ends up being a complete dissertation about my day, the weather, the mood I am in, my plans for the night and how all of that wrapped up together will give you my favorite color of that particular moment. Right now, my favorite color is a bright, happy yellow (with a touch of magenta in it) but that may be because I am excited to spend a long ‘girls’ weekend with my mother and sister.

Now when picking the colors for your business, be it for the logo, the branding, the marketing, or the walls, it is really important to think beyond the basics of what colors you are naturally drawn to and examine the meaning of the colors you are picking. Take time to feel the mood that they invoke and the story they will tell about your business.

Red is certainly an attention-getter and I have had many clients who pick it simply because “it stands out.” However it does come with some history attached. In nature, red is blood and fire so the association is energy, passion, danger and intensity. It is also a natural food color and is used to advertise restaurants and food products.

Orange is the friendly red. It sounds silly but there is some truth in it. While maintaining the intense energy of red, it also combines with it the light happy energy of yellow. I often use orange as an ‘eye catcher’ for an advertisement when red would seem harsh.

Yellow is pure energy as shown by the sun in nature. When placed on a white or colored background you have happiness and warmth. However, when placed on a black background you will instantly have a warning sign. Use caution with yellow as it is often hard to read on a light background.

Green is everywhere in nature and represents growth, hope, safety, and endurance. It today’s social climate, the color is used for anything related to being environmentally friendly. Money and wealth are also commonly thought of with a darker green. I have found that green can be very flexible simply by changing the hue or tone of the color.

Blue has been shown to be a very calming color and is associated with stability, tranquility, and trust. The color of the sky and sea, it is a natural fit for any businesses relating to air, water, cleanliness and purity. It also seems to be the default color of any male for whom I have created a logo.

Purple seems to have gotten a lot of attention of late and I receive more and more requests, especially from businesses trying to attract females, to use purple in their designs. Historically it is the color of royalty and magic. It has come to be associated with power and wealth, all with a feminine twist.

When starting the design process, I would fully encourage you to take the time to go to your local hardware store and spend some time in the paint chips. It is a great place to get a full array of colors and the ability to hold different ones together to see how they react together. Take the ones that immediately draw your eye and think about their meanings and what that says about you and your business.