Colour Scheme

This post takes me back to the days when I designed websites as well as presentations, infographics, banners, charts, etc. I started this post almost 5 years ago and decided to finish it based on a post I read recently and a tendency to reflect a lot on my own practices.

It’s been a few years now since I’ve been involved in work whereby I’ve had the influence or control over colour schemes for either imagery, branding, etc, but when I did I always took two things into account – aesthetics and accessibility:

  • Aesthetics. How pleasing and cohesive the colours look together. Colours should complement each other well, creating a palette that is visually appealing and fits the desired tone and style.
  • Accessibility. How usable the colours are for all users, including those with visual impairments. An accessible palette will have enough contrast between colours, avoid relying solely on colour to convey meaning and use colours that can be perceived by people with various types of colour blindness.

For me, the various colour charts that are freely available were really important in choosing appropriate matching and contrasting colours, being careful to take both the above factors into consideration.

The one tool I still have bookmarked, and use, is this – Color Wheel.

Why this one? Well, try it out and you’ll see. It’s very simple … you select the main colour you want to use, and there are six options depending on what kind of scheme you want to build. These are:

  • Complementary: Uses two opposite colours on the colour wheel.
  • Monochromatic: Uses three different values of the same colour.
  • Analogous: Uses three adjacent colours on the colour wheel.
  • Split complements: Uses a colour and the two adjacent tertiary colours of its complement.
  • Triadic: Uses three evenly spaced colours on the colour wheel.
  • Tetradic: Uses two complementary pairs of colours

This colour wheel, and the colour schemes I’ve found through its use, have been the foundation of presentations, infographics, and images I’ve used or produced throughout my +17 years in learning and technology.

How would you use it? How have you used colour and what effect did your choices make on the final product?

Photo by Katya Ross on Unsplash