How To Use Colors In Graphic Design For Impact?

Colors have special meaning and significance in the human psyche. Since we as humans are able to see nearly all colors of the visible spectrum, it has provided artists and designers a myriad array of choices to create their best art. Human brains have evolved to think visually, with shapes and colors forming the bulk of cognitive processes. As a result, we have used colors to signify meaning to emotions and emotional states. This emotional attachment to colors provides by best graphic designers with myriad ways by which they can interact with not only the cognitive parts of the human mind but the emotional aspects of it as well.

Graphic design color psychology

The Colors And Their Associations

While almost all humans can perceive most of the colors, each human perceives colors differently, and the color association is deeply cultural in nature. Therefore, the depiction of color in a design is nothing short of an exercise to describe human emotions, both at an individual level as well as a ‘collective unconscious' level. let's know the details about color in design definition.

01. Warm Colors

Warm colors include shades of red and yellow and their variations. Warm colors, as the name suggests, imbibe feelings of warmth, passion, and energy.

Red: Red is a primary color, which imbibes passion. It is also the color of danger. Red is primarily used to denote feelings related to love, affection, and passion. In modern design, red is used as a means of expressing happiness. In various Asian cultures, red is the color of prosperity and happiness. In the Indian subcontinent, it is used as a sign of marriage, love and healthy relationships. According to color psychologists, RED is a color used to provoke and take actions. It is a versatile color which can be used in a variety of ways; bright red is used to denote energy while darker shades can be used to describe elegance.

Yellow: Yellow is a secondary color, created when red is mixed with blue. Yellow denotes energy and enthusiasm. Yellow is a bright color and is best used in contrast with a darker color to make it stand out. Yellow also has a historical significance, with women wearing yellow ribbons during wartime waiting for their men to return home; thus symbolizing hope.
Due to the high visibility of yellow, it is also used in hazard signages and school buses across the world.

Orange: Orange is a bright and cheerful color, often used to denote natural freshness and exuberance. Orange is a shade of red and is used to denote positivity and natural vibe.

Psychology behind colors

02. Cool Colors

Cool color meaning in design as the name suggests is used to denote calmness and peace. The most important cool colors are blue, green and purple.

Blue: Blue is a primary color, and is the human eye perceives the maximum shades and variants of this colors. As a result, there are many more blue shades than those of other colors. Blue can be used in various ways: light blues to denote calmness and relaxation, brighter blues to denote refreshment and darker blues are used to denote strength and balance.

Green: Green is also a primary color, and is the most common color in our natural surroundings due to the presence of plants. Green is a soothing color and is used to denote an aura of peace and tranquillity. It is also used as a color of growth and renewal. In modern times, due to the green color of dollar bills, it is also used in conjunction with similar imagery to invoke signs of wealth. Green, is a subtle color, is used as the color for safety and security.

Purple: Purple is a secondary color created by mixing blue and red. It is a color of power and prosperity and is associated with the historical use of color by royalty in their sashes and their crowning regalia.

03. Neutral Colors

Neutral colors are shades that are used as a contrasting color to the warm and cool hues. The primary neutral colors are white and black, though they can be tinged with other colors to produce lighter or darker shades.

Black: Black is the most prominent neutral color. In western society, it is the color of death and mourning; and is often used as a color to signify mystique and elegance.

White: White is the polar opposite of black in the color palette, and is mostly used to denote purity, cleanliness, and innocence. In war, the white flag signifies surrender. In some Asian cultures; white, as opposed to black, is the color of mourning.

Grey: Grey is a mixture of both white and black, and it is the most neutral color of the lot. Grey rarely evokes emotions and is therefore used in common use in typography and background colors for text.

Brown: Brown is a natural color, created by mixing darker shades of red and green. Brown symbolizes nature, sustainability, and reliability. However, over-use of the color makes the entire design aesthetic dull and unappealing.


While color theory for designers and color psychology might seem to be highly overlapping in nature; for a designer, the knowledge for the use of colors makes it worthwhile to imbibe emotional value in their design. Finally, I think now you know, why is color important in graphic design.

Have you any idea about color for graphic designers or want to make the right design with the right color choice or want to download color theory for graphic designers pdf file. Simply, Talk to us on Sprak Design.

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Hermit ChawlaHermit Chawla
Hermit Chawla

Hermit Chawla is a Marketing Manager at Sprak Design.

Hermit Chawla is a Marketing Manager at Sprak Design. He would love to share thoughts on Best Graphic Designers, Lifestyle Design, Branding Firm, Exhibition design etc..

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