Tips For Using Color In Design

Utilizing color can be tricky in design when dealing with different clients. Color should be used carefully and thoughtfully, and should complement the content. Unless within a photograph, color should be used minimally, so the design doesn’t become too busy. There are some general parameters that make utilizing color a little easier.

Here are 3 tips I keep in mind when using color in design:


1. Black and white come first

White is the backbone of a design – it creates the canvas and allows breathing room (negative space) between content. Black is the base of your content in terms of text and basic design elements. When you’re beginning a design and are unsure of a color scheme, you always start in black and white to create the skeleton of your work. So naturally, these are the two colors that will end up being most prevalent in most designs.



2. Use minimal pops of color

After you have designed in black and white, decide which accent colors you are going to use (generally one or two). Make sure the color chosen makes sense with the theme of the design and complements any photography being used. For example, if you are using an image that has purples and blues in it, use your Photoshop eyedropper tool to pick out a shade within the photograph to use. Use your pops of color mainly for headlines and places where you want the viewer’s eyes to be drawn to first.



3. Stay on brand (and season) with color

Does your brand have a style guide? If so, make sure you stick to the brand colors that have been defined. If your brand does not have a style guide or defined colors, use your judgement to stay within your brand’s general parameters. For example, if you are a sports brand and your logo consists of red and blue, it wouldn’t make much sense to use a pale rose color in your design, would it? Always stay on brand.


When it comes to color, also make sure you are staying in season as well. Summer calls for brighter, more vibrant colors, fall with darker, warm colors, and the holidays with reds, greens, blues, and metallics. Following this rule is also easier because your merchandise will most likely differ with the seasons as well.


With these 3 tips, your color selection process will hopefully be a little easier. If you need any help with design services, contact us at