Graphic Design Basics – Color Scheme

One of the graphic design basics is color scheme. Choosing an appropriate color scheme for your web site is one of the first steps in the website design process. If you’ve already got a logo, you’ll typically want to stick to the colors already used for branding purposes. This way your site carries the same color and feel of your logo through out it’s design. If you don’t yet have a logo though, or are looking for a re-branding of your company and product, choosing a color scheme is important.

Color Meanings

Colors provide a lot of information to viewers because they have so much emotion associated with them. For instance – Red gives a feeling of passion and power. Blue gives a feeling of peacefulness and stability. Black gives a feeling of power and elegance. Here’s a more comprehensive list of the associations that we have with colors


Professional, trustworthy, calming  / corporate high-tech, medical, government, legal  e.g. b of a


Strength, power, professionalism, accurate  Financial, corporate, manufacturing, oil minding


Educational, youth oriented, organic, natural, calming, environmental / Science, medicine, ecological, Human Resources


Evocative, exciting, romantic, urgent, hungry, sexy / Advertising, fashion, health care, entertainment, sports, fast food (Time, Arbys)


Feminine, caring relaxing, compassionate / body, mind, soul, female, health, weddings, funeral (Barbie)


Youthful, innocent, dynamic, creative, enthusiastic / Sports childcare, educational, food and beverage (Nickelodeon, home depot)


Clean, simple, fresh / high-tech, medical ( Apple )


Traditional, reliable, nurturing, earthy, safe / Animals, real estate, financial, ecology (Hershey’s, UPS)


Design, create, idea driven, creative, positive / food and drink, child care, marketing (Best buy, Mcdonalds)

There are some great sites out there to give you inspiration for color schemes. My favorite is Adobe Kuler.  If you’re more of a hands on kind of person, try checking out the paint samples section in your local hardware store for inspiration. It’s a great way to see colors in person and you can always bring home the samples.

As you go through the planning process, take the time to think about the basics of graphic design like colors and what they say about you and your business.

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One Response to “Graphic Design Basics – Color Scheme”

  1. jen

    Any suggestions for surfing or beach graphic design colors?

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