Basic Color

green is the color of nature itself

“Color adds tremendous meaning to communication as it vitalizes the visual message, delivering an instantaneous impression.”

—Leatrice Eiseman, Pantone Guide to Communicating with Color

Green is the color of nature itself. It is nurturing and secure. Deep greens are lush and prestigious. Light green is minty and refreshing.

Red is the color of fire and blood. Humans are programmed to respond with energy and excitement. Red is passionate, dynamic, provocative, and daring. It is hard to ignore. When red is darkened to burgundy, it conveys richness, luxury, and elegance. When lightened to pink, it becomes romantic, innocent, soft, and sweet. Pink is a healthy, optimistic color.

Yellow radiates warmth, enlightenment, and happiness as it commands attention. Dark yellows have an earthy or spicy quality, and pale yellows are creamy and delicious looking.

Blue is the color of the sky, and has unlimited depth and constancy. It is seen as dependable, trustworthy, confident, and calm. Dark navy blue is the most authoritative and credible of colors. Pale blue is crisp, clean, and cool.

Brilliant orange can make your mouth water with its tangy sweetness. It is hot, playful, and alive. Orange has a youthful energy. Darken orange and you get rust—warm, earthy, and natural. Lighten orange and you get peach—tasty, appealing, and flattering to most skin tones.

Purple mixes the excitement of red and the tranquility of blue, making it a complex color that takes on different meanings depending on its environment. Bright purple is glorious and bold. Dark purple is regal and majestic. Lavender is fragrant and delicate. All shades of purple have a mysterious or spiritual quality that can add mystery and unpredictability wherever they are used.

Neutrals include gray, beige, ivory, and taupe. They are solid, enduring, timeless, and classic. Neutrals are not associated with any time period and do not go out of date. They are safe and inoffensive, but can be perceived as dull. Neutrals can be warmed up or cooled down, darkened or lightened, or paired with other colors for differing effects.

Black has power, weight, and strength. It is associated with the darkness of night, but too much black becomes ominous and gloomy. Used judiciously it is dramatic, sophisticated, and upscale.

Pure and simple describes white. The absence of color makes it clean and bright. Large expanses of white can be stark and uninviting. Off-whites are more approachable. White is often the blank canvas that other colors embellish.

In marketing, color makes an emotional impact before any word is spoken or read. Take advantage of the tremendous communication power of color. To learn more, read Advanced Color.

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