No matter what project you are working on it is very important for every designer to understand color. Using the right colors in your design can make it stand out among the rest, but using the wrong colors can ruin it. Color has the ability to evoke reactions in people, so understanding it is beneficial before you start designing. Your graphic design team has put together a few of the basics to give you a better understanding of color.

The color wheel

Most people have seen a color wheel at some point in their life, but not everyone really understands it. “The color wheel is a visual representation that shows us how colors are related” says Graphic Design Orange County company Urban Geko.  The color wheel is based on the below color groups:

Primary colors

Red, yellow, and blue. These are colors cannot be created by mixing other colors.

Secondary colors

Green, orange, and purple. These colors are results of mixing two primary colors together.

Tertiary colors

Yellow-orange, red-orange, red-purple, blue-purple, blue-green, and yellow-green. These colors are results of mixing a primary color with a secondary color.

Complementary colors

These are the colors that are located opposite each other.

Analogous Colors

These are the colors that are located next to each other.

Now that you are familiar with the color wheel, there are a few other terms that you should know that effect color.


The difference between two colors. The amount of contrast you want will depend on what you are working on. When you are working with text, you typically want a high contrast like black on white.


The amount or percentages color used. The more you increase the saturation the more vibrant it is. When you decrease the saturation the weaker the color looks.


The value can refers to how light or dark the color is. The less black you use the lighter its value.


Two of the most common types of color are RGB and CMYK. These are very important to understand, because the type of project you are working on will determine if you use RGB or CMYK.

RGB: The three inks used are Red, Green, And Blue. This color method is based upon light. You want to make sure you are using RGB if you are designing for computers or television.

CMYK: The four inks used are cyan, magenta, yellow, and black. This color method is based upon pigments. Anytime you are working on a project that will be printed, you want to make sure you color mode is set to CMYK. Keep in mind that every printer varies, so the colors you use on screen may look different once they are printed.

Contact our graphic design Orange County team today to help you design your next best marketing piece. We offer a wide range of services including brochures, flyers, postcards, manuals, ads, posters, tradeshow booths and more…

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