The 3 basic ways of achieving color harmony in design

Color is probably the most essential element in graphic design as it’s potentially the first thing that your audience will notice. It’s therefore important to get the colors right and through them, you get to express non-verbal cues such as the mood and tone of your message, as well as other feelings that you intend to elicit from your audience.

As a designer, it’s therefore very important for you to master the art of ensuring that the colors you choose to use in your design are in perfect harmony. This will ensure that your audience has a good visual experience as their eyes are the first point of contact with your design.

Let’s take a look at the 3 basic ways of achieving color harmony in your design.

#1 Grouping similar colors together

Every designer must be familiar with the color wheel and have a pretty good idea where the different colors they use fall on this wheel. Similar colors are placed close to each other on the color wheel as an indication that they can be used together to provide the right contrast, elicit or strengthen a certain emotional response, and also ensure there is proper transition between different sections of your design. Colors don’t just mix randomly. There must be some form of order which will be dictated by the grouping the colors fall under.

#2 Taking the monochromatic approach

In some instances in graphic design, less is more. This means that the best way to bring out your design is using as little color varieties as possible. This is when you can consider the monochromatic approach which simply involves using different shades and tones of a single color in your design. Many designers actually see this as a safer option as at it helps prevent some of the mistakes many of them make while trying to achieve color harmony. To simplify this a bit, as an example you may opt to use different shades of green in your design to achieve color harmony.

#3 The complementary approach

The complementary approach is another common method that designers use, and this will mostly be applied by experienced designers as well as those who enjoy thinking outside the box and taking a bit of risks in their design work. This method involves using colors that are literally opposites to achieve color harmony. It will involve blending a warm color with a cool color, or a bright color with a dull color. The trick is to ensure that the two or more colors perfectly blend in order to bring out your desired feel.

As designers, it’s important to know that taking risks in design is good, but it has to be done within the confines of the basic rules. The rules of color harmony must always be taken into consideration. All in all, you must be bold and willing to experiment. After all, whoever came up with these rules must have done plenty of trial and error therefore, who are you not to.

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