Finding the right color combination is one of the most important yet difficult task of creating a design. Graphic designs like logos, illustrations, or even web and app designs can embody a new sense of being when you use the right shades.
Essentially, colors can give your design a life and an identity. Its shades can affect and influence the way you feel, and even the way you act. Take the example of Superman’s symbol, one of the most iconic entries in any list of popular superhero logos.
The character was portrayed as a quintessential all-American guy who bought peace to the people. His actions combined with the red-and-blue color scheme made him the perfect embodiment of the peacekeeping identity the US wanted to portray at the time.
Let’s take a look at how you can choose the right shades to elevate your design’s impact.
Color psychology is a part of color theory, and deals with how different colors and their combinations affect the perception of their users. It also deals with how different shades can be used to influence the way we feel and act.
Oftentimes, amateur designers and newcomers tend to ignore this important aspect. However, many successful and professional graphic design services that have worked with a top-notch branding team know that the right color palette can make or break your design.
Suppose the example of the bright red and yellow color scheme used by McDonald’s. According to researchers, the color red tends to bring out certain elements of their viewer’s personality. The color is often associated with passion, desire, and hunger. Essentially, it helps keep their consumers hungry.
The bright yellow is meant to evoke feelings of happiness, calm, and joy. When we combine the two, it makes the perfect symphony of perceptions favorable to a fast food business. That is why many fast food places tend to use shades of red in their designs, like Wendy’s, Pizza Hut, Burger King, Sonic, KFC and many more.
Similarly, businesses and designers who factor in the psychology of individual shades, tend to create graphics that are better suited to their viewers and consumers. Bright and colorful brand colors are great for businesses who target a young and fun crowd. However, a more subdued color palette is necessary when going for the more serious corporate vibes.
A similar concept is necessary to create the perfect color combinations not only for other types of logos, but also for various graphics and other design projects.
Now let’s come to the various styles of color combinations that a designer or an illustrator might use to create a color palette for their art. While a designer has a number of color schemes at their disposal, we are going to discuss the three most famous of these options.
Each of these combination of shades and hues adds a value to your design. And that is why choosing the style of the color scheme is necessary before we get on to selecting the perfect shades for our design project.
Generally speaking, these combinations often rely on the placement of the various shades and hues on a color wheel, and the names of these combination types are based on the pattern that is used to select the perfect hues for use.
Let’s take a detailed look and understand what each of these styles of color schemes bring to the table in terms of value.
The name of this type of color combination says it all. This technique relies on selecting hues of colors from the complementary sides of the color wheel – that is from opposing ends. Now, the two colors you choose may vary in tint strength as well as other aspects, and it is up to the designer to select the best shades that contrast each other without clashing.
This style of color combinations provides the most amount of contrast among any of the other techniques. That is because you get to choose from all the shades from the central point of the circle, all the way to the apex of the color wheel. And that too on both opposing ends.
Therefore, many designers are often wary of using this technique when deciding on a color scheme. The best way to use it, however, is to choose one of the complementary shades as primary, and use the other as accent to enhance the design.
The complementary color combinations are often used in graphs, infographics, and the like where a high contrast color scheme is needed to emphasize the important points or key takeaways from your project.
This is another popular color combination style. In this technique, the designer chooses one color as their primary from the color wheel. Next, you choose the two colors on either side of the primary shade, thus making a three-color combo.
However, if you still feel as if your design needs more variety on terms of color, then, you can choose one more color from the outside edge of the secondary colors. Now you have a five-shade color palette, instead of just three hues to bring your art to life.
Unlike complementary color combinations, this style generally does not create a high contrast color palette. That is why it is used where a softer and warmer color scheme is needed. For example, if you want your design to be colored in warm spring hues, or a cool and fresh winter shades, then this is the type of color mixing you require.
The general tone of analogous shade palettes is generally slow transitioning overall. That means that reds are paired with yellows and oranges, rather than blue or purple.
Finally, the triadic color combination gives us the best of both worlds. It gives us the freedom to use high contrasting colors, while allowing us to use more than two shades in our design palette. So if you are creating an illustration or piece of art that could use a high-contrast shade selection, but requires three or more shades, then this is the option for you.
The concept behind it is simple. Just like in complementary color scheme, the colors for the triadic scheme are taken from equidistant points on the color scheme. However, unlike the former, the latter choses a minimum of three colors.
One of the three needs to be selected as the primary color of the color palette, while you can choose one to two different shades from the other two points. There is a catch, however. The colors chosen have a tendency to overpower each other, considering that they are taken from equidistant points of the color wheel.
The best to avoid that, is to use the primary shade you have chosen as you like, but use the other two sparingly. However, if you feel that using the secondary shades is necessary in your design, then you can choose softer tints of the chosen colors. That will help you use them as accents better, such as in the various logo fonts used in the design.
This color scheme is best used when a high contrast is necessary, such as in pie-charts and infographics etc. It will help you make each item distinct without clashing.
While at first glance, many might associate this color palette as feminine, that is far from its only use. The dark yet still bright pink is the perfect accompaniment for the darker raisin is the perfect embodiment of lush indulgence and youthfulness.
Although we don’t deny that it is a color scheme often used to represent the feminine, that is not its only use. Many salons, health studios, and even jewelry logos use it, as well as cafes and stores that represent decadence, such as ice cream and frozen yoghurt shops, patisseries’ etcetera.
Yellow and black are a high contrast color duo that has been used for ages. That is because while these two provide a striking difference that make designs pop, the visual clash they provide is easy on the eyes, making for a more comfortable viewing experience.
Historically, the color scheme has been used for industrial uses, and you will often see industrial and construction logos sporting a yellow-black color palette, such as the Caterpillar company. As they are often used as a warning or hazard, they are also usually accompanied by blocky masculine fonts.
The various shades of pink are often associated with youth, luxury and decadence, or femininity. And adding the different shades together often enhances the effect. Browns however, are often used to embody a relation with the Earth and nature, sustainability, and simplicity.
However, when you combine the pinks with the browns, you discover something unique, something awesome. The first thing you notice is the brown brings out and emphasizes the pink. Moreover, the brown shade itself is elevated in impact by the contrast provided by the pink. Overall, it is a good design palette.
Blue is well rusted color. It often represents, calm, cool, and serenity. It is a good color if you want your design to develop a sense of trustworthiness. And that is what makes the various shades of blue so perfect for brand logos and other branding designs.
For this color palette, the shade of blue chosen provides a trusty backdrop, and the light and bright tones added by the inclusion of the pink-purplish hue of raspberry is quite literally the cherry on top. When used as an accent, it perfectly emphasizes the design and gives it the perfect depth.
Both violet and turquoise are dark and cool shades of color. That makes many think that combining the two into a color palette might not be the best idea, as that will tend to make the resulting graphics seem dull and boring due to a very minor visual contrast.
However, that is far from the truth. When used correctly, the darker violet tends to bring out and enhance the lighter turquoise, making it glow. Conversely, the turquoise emphasizes the darker violet, making it stand out instead of melding into the background.
The various shades of blue and green work great together, aesthetically. Look around at nature. Blue skies over lush green forests in varying shades of the color, bracketed by a body of water a darker and deeper shade of blue. Just imagining this is relaxing.
When used right, the colors can emphasize and build on each other, thus making it one of the best color palettes to use when cool and vibrant tones need to be combined. A few shades of green and blue can even seem fluorescent when used together, due to the sharp contrast they provide.
Yellow is a bright color that tends to draw attention immediately. It exudes a youthful and exuberant vibe full of life. And when set against the authoritative and confident dark blue, the combination is one to know about. The resultant graphics are quite adept at gaining the trust of their viewers and consumers.
Many famous logos use this color combination, such as Sonic and IKEA. The calming and trustworthy mix of colors is the perfect choice to create logos, as it helps brands gain the trust of their customers for a lasting relationship.
While many consider these two as shades of the color blue, there visual contrast is one that is rarely found within such closely linked hues. And moreover, the two ways to use them together create quite different results, which can even be considered opposing reactions.
When using the color teal over a navy backdrop, the result is one of cool and calm comfort for the senses. However, if the shades are flipped, the result is an astounding eye-popper. The navy over teal combo results in catchy graphics that are guaranteed to attract viewers.
The lively and eye-catching orange provides the perfect contrast to the dark black. This gives it an aura of mystery and intrigue. While on lighter backgrounds, the color orange tends to fade or meld into the backdrop. However, against the powerful black shade, the color stands out like a beacon.
This color scheme works well where the graphics promise a sense of adventure, mystery, and an adrenaline rush. That makes it perfect for nightclubs, extreme sports and the like, basically places designed to pump up your heart rate.
This color combination of peach and maroon is rarely seen, yet it goes together quite wonderfully. The mix of these shades is quite soothing to the viewer, making it perfect for graphics designed to put their viewers at ease.
While it is rare, in no way does it mean that is a less effective or boring color scheme. If you are creating graphics for the fashion industry, a home-makeover or interior decorator setup, or even a health spa, this color scheme could work wonders for your logos and other types of graphic designs.
Another color combination like the navy and teal, which belong to the same color family, sapphire blue and light blue gray work great together. Both of these shades are used to embody a sense of calm and serenity.
The visual contrast this color palette provides is quite striking yet subtle. That makes it one of the best color combinations on our list, if your design is meant to be inviting yet mature. The deep sapphire blue exudes calm and serenity, and the blue gray embodies a flighty elegance within it.
Another combination of blues; the powder blue and Chetwode blue are a curious bunch. Both of these are lighter, more pastel shades of the color, yet they still provide ample visual contrast. The combination brings to mind the calm and serenity of nature – the still pools of clear blue waters in locations untouched by humanity and their harmful ways.
This color palette however, works well only when we use the darker shade over the lighter backdrop. Designs tend to stand out better when used this way, and exude a certain sense of peace and relaxation. That makes it perfect for uses such as spa logos, as well as graphics for similar businesses.
The Desert Sand Beige is a unique shade in our collection, and looks more pink than beige. Similarly, Emperor Gray is a dark shade of the color, with a slight tint of lilac in it. With names like these, you would have thought that they might not, but their unique characteristics make them perfectly suited for each other.
Designers tend to avoid the different shades of brown, especially when creating logos. However, that is mostly because using it well requires a lot of skill. And when used well, with suitable colors, the effect is one of understated elegance, that speaks highly of the sophistication this color palette contains.
Working on a similar concept as the blue color combinations discussed above, the Indigo and Lavender color palette is quite eye-catching, making any design look premium and elegant. Often considered a loud color that tends to makes it mark over other shades, Indigo has long been associated with royalty, especially in eastern cultures.
However, when used to provide a backdrop for the softer and more sophisticated lavender, it tends to soften its garish look to look more refined and sophisticated. On the other hand, the darker background also tends to emphasize and elevate the impact of the softer lavender.
This is a uniquely heartwarming color palette, one of the few best ones on this list of color combinations. The sundown pink is a deeper shade of pink, which teeters on the edge of being considered dark pink. This makes it quite impactful, when used right.
Burgundy is always an elegant addition to a design. and when combined with the sundown pink, it makes for a very strong palette. The pink is charming, yet somewhat subdued. Burgundy on the other hand, is quite intense. And the sundown pink makes it softer and more elegant.
This combination of shades might sound garish or too loud to many. However, in reality these two complement each other perfectly. Visually, the shades are quite different, with the light blue being quite bright and airy. The Crimson pink on the other hand, is deep and dark, and brings a sense of lush decadence to the duo.
Individually, both of these hues make it easy to stand out quite noticeably. When combined, you would think that the effect would be multiplied. However, that is not the case. When used together, both these shades tend to temper these effect slightly, just enough to make the design inviting and friendly.
The perfect contrast between the bright sunny tones and the darker cool shadows. The combination of gold, charcoal, and gray is quite a well-known and used color palette. The lighter and brighter gold elicits feelings of happiness, energy, and life. The darker gray and charcoal acts as accents to emphasize the contrast between them and the cheery gold.
Moreover, the use of two different dark shades add a layer of depth to the overall effect of the color palette. The gradient they present give your designs a soft touch of shadows, which enhances the overall effect to give those graphics a mature look.
This color palette is often considered masculine, due to the dark tan and black shades combined with a deep turquoise. However, its proper usage dictates whether this color combination works well for you. When you use the tan and black on a turquoise background, the colors tend to blend together, with the design having no impact whatsoever.
However, over a tan background, a deep turquoise design stands out well. And when it is emphasized by the dark black, the resultant effect is where each line of the design stands out in a way that draws the eyes.
This is another interesting color palette where the deep and lush shades are offset by the lighter and more delicate shades. The overall effect is meant to give a softer, more feminine vibe, which screams of trust and reliability.
The rich tint of mauve, combined with the soft powder blue is a provides a strong contrast subtly, without being too harsh on the eyes. And the addition of the bright and energetic sapphire adds another layer of contrast and emphasis to the design that uses the color palette.
Any color combinations that uses blue as its primary color benefits greatly from the trustworthy vibes it embodies. That is also the case with this color palette. The blue shade acts as the perfect backdrop for the design, which greatly uplifts the darker maroon.
The maroon stands out in a cool and subtle manner, which is further enhanced by the darker shade of the blue color gradient, namely indigo. This deeper color might not be so great when used with just blue in the design. However, the addition of maroon into the palette lets it shine.
Orange is one of those shades which is rarely used in designs, especially branding materials. However, it is also a color that stands out quite easily. The connotations of the color with citrus automatically makes us equate the color with vibrancy and energy.
Now what do you pair with such an invigorating color? light peach adds a lighter and more youthful accent to the designs that use this color palette. and when combined with deep pine green, it adds a sense of cool and comfort to the color combination.
The perfect color palette for beachy and aquatic designs, this combination uses a mix of softer pastel shades. The entire vibe of the palette is one of calm and relaxation. The light blue sea foam is the perfect color to convey the feelings of a bright morning sun at the beach, but that is not all.
When it is combined with salmon, the contrast that results become quite distinct despite both being bright colors. Yet as the chosen shades are pastel, the overall effect is still soft. Finally, navy is added to mix to provide much needed darker contrast. It also adds a feeling of trust, something all shades of blue add to their various color combinations.
Another palette with sharp and vibrant contrast, the combination of rouge, green, and magenta is one truly wonderful. The combination of the sharp green and lush magenta gives the design a sense of elegance and luxury.
The addition of rouge, which might seem like a garish choice to many, ends up enhancing the overall effect of the design. the already bold and energetic vibes of the color palette are elevated by the darker rouge, providing the much needed darker tones to the hues.
Just like the various color combinations of blue we have discussed throughout the topic, this color combination is made up of three different shades of brown. The theme that is portrayed by this color palette is vintage and classic, and embody a serious vibe.
However, while this seemingly monotonous color combination might seem serious, the earthly tones in it also give a sense of warmth that welcomes the viewer towards your design. That is why these shades are often used to brand and market liquors like brandy and whiskey among others.
Another three shade combination of the same color, this palette of tints is designed to convey a sense of refreshing nature. Often used for branding all-natural or environmentally sustainable products, the colors are also used to represent drinks made from mint and limes, such as Sprite by the Coca-Cola industry.
By combining yellow-green to the darker olive and forest green, the overall result is one of excitement, and youth combined with the seemingly contrasting vibe of relaxation. While it may seem somewhat boring compared to the other interesting color combinations on our list, this is one of the most popular palette in use today.
Bold, modern, loud. These are all words that can be used to describe this color combination. The mixture of bright and eye-popping shades is one that no one will be able to ignore, no matter how hard they try. But how does this bright palette avoid overwhelming its viewers?
By using the darker fuchsia as the backdrop, the bright yellow and lush magenta are used as emphasis to enhance the visual impact of your designs. However, if you choose a lighter background like yellow and use the darker shades as emphasis, the result would be quite garish and unappealing.
Mustard, a darker tone of yellow, when combined with the pastel sage and forest green, is the perfect example of an earthy tone color palette. Each color represents an article from nature, such as leaves, trees, and other shrubbery.
Quite a rugged and calming color palette, it works great for natural and herbal products, such as hand and face creams, soaps, and other cosmetic products. Moreover, it can also be used as the color theme to brand an environmentally sustainable company.
This color palette uses a two-toned brown color combination, which is used to portray an earthy vibe. The shades chosen are pastel, and the resultant image is one of soft naturalism. And when used over an elegant slate backdrop, the effect is transcendent.
The color theme is often used to market products which are considered manly luxuries. Custom shaving boxes, men’s cosmetics, and even to package expensive liquors such as Gin and Vermouth. Overall, the intended effect is one of masculine luxury.
Unlike the many other color combinations that pair lighter shades with dark, this color palette uses a triad of three light shades. The overall vibe of the designs that use this combo is one of delicate softness and femininity, which is enhanced by the addition of the light pink in pastel shade.
The combination of the natural greens and the sea foam blue is one that brings bubbling brooks running between the trees in the woods. Essentially, it gives us an image of serenity and calm. By adding light pink to the color combo, the effect is enhanced to now include femininity and homeliness to the mix.
A seemingly dull set of color combination, this color palette is an example of subtle elegance. Using very unique shades of the three primary colors, the designs that use this color palette find that it adds to their image, making it more luxurious.
Over a scarlet backdrop, the light olive and light teal combo makes the perfect accents to any design, especially that want to portray a low visual profile without sacrificing their appeal. The end result is one of mystery and decadence.
This is one of the few truly professional color themes, perfect for corporate businesses. This combination of browns makes for one truly beautiful color palette, portraying qualities such trust, earthiness, and a connection with nature.
The muted pastel shades give a soft vibe, which is perfect in a corporate setup to ensure a vibe of no-nonsense attitude, professionalism, and maturity. Moreover, the subtle soft tones of the color theme are perfect to portray a caring and welcoming effect.
Generally, logo designers prefer to use a maximum of three shades within their designs, in order to avoid making it too overwhelming for the viewer to comprehend. However, if you know that you can use four-tone color combinations to enhance your design’s impact, then take a look at some of the most popular palettes made up of four attractive hues.
This is a color combination derived using the triadic method. In this color palette, we have a set of four floral shades in slightly muted tones. The shades chosen are those used in classic settings that bring to mind vintage revival.
The deep red is offset by the darker jade and violet, which makes the color seem even more muted. However, the addition of sea foam is a welcome addition. It adds a sense of brightness to the design, making it easy on the eyes.
This color combination is one that is used in all color based printing today. By combining these four shades in a variety of ways, you can make up any color you might want to use in your design. Take a look into the color printer you have at home. See the cartridge? That contains vials for these four colors.
This set of bright and dynamic colors are quite powerful in their own rights as well. Take any of them, for example. Yellow is bright and full of life. Magenta is lush and decadent. Cyan is light, airy, and promises trust. And black is the backbone that binds all these colors together.
This color palette is a mix of bright and muted tones. One of the most popular color combinations in east Asian and subcontinental cultures, the mix of magenta, goldenrod, turquoise, and brick red is an interesting one.
Mostly used with the goldenrod as the base color, the magenta and brick red might seem likely to clash. That is why turquoise is used, to provide a buffer between the two, and add a brighter tone to the overall design. this eclectic mix makes it perfect for celebratory designs.
Another palette which offsets a dark shade with a mix of bright and light colors, the mix of navy almond alone is a good color combination. However, it still misses a bright component. And that is what is provided by the addition of mango yellow and reddish orange.
These bright and energetic shades are the perfect combination to elevate the austere navy blue, and the neutral almond. This gives your designs a mix of vibes. Trustworthiness from the use of the navy, the minimalism characterized by the almond, fiery passion and energy via the reddish-orange, and a youthful energy and cheerfulness through mango yellow.
It is one of the color combinations that expertly matches and mixes neutral and dark backgrounds in a way that still keeps the design interesting. The mixture of ochre, light gray and burnt sienna portray an earthy vide, that is characterized by sustainability and masculinity.
However, when we add the backdrop of elegant and dark navy to the mix, the entire color palette is elevated to new heights. Now the most prominent vibe portrayed by your designs is one of elegance and luxury, opting for muted and regal shades of the color spectrum.
Using different shades of the blue-gray spectrum, the color palette creates a mix of teal, turquoise, and gray. But these similar cool tones need something to make it pop, a pick-me-up of sorts. That is where coral adds its magic. The pastel shade provides the perfect contrast to the design.
While a blue-toned color palette is nothing new, and we have seen many innovative variations of that, the fact remains that the addition of the pinkish coral shade adds a splash of welcome difference to the color palette. And when used correctly, provides the perfect desired accents.
This color combination mixes three dark and deep shades with one light tone to offset the color palette. The mix of fuchsia, dark violet and hot pink is an interesting choice, as they are all darker shades that provide very minute contrast.
That is why the sepia tone is needed to add the desired contrast. Used sparingly, it is a great color to add accents to the design, as it matches the color tone achieved by mixing the other three colors, that is a dark pink-purplish hue.
A bright and light color palette, one of the few color combinations that relate to nature and its various aspects. The sage and grape, when mixed with light pink, are the perfect embodiment of an open sky at dusk. When combined with the sky blue, the overall image is one of a tropical paradise at dusk.
The three shades of blue are often used together, especially when a design warrants the use of similar hues. However, these kinds of color palettes often need another color to offset their monotony. That is why this palette uses the light pink to add a certain brightness to its designs.
Finally, the party color palette. This eclectic mix uses a combination of four loud and bright colors. That gives it the perfect vibe, one full of energy and excitement. These four colors are often what many of us in our childhood are most often exposed to, in the forms of toys and parties.
As such, we often associate them with enjoyable vibes, full of friendly cheer and celebration. The red is passionate, the yellow bright and cheerful. Cyan adds a light and free vibe, while purple is all about decadence.
After studying all the color combinations, we discussed above, you can see that all have one thing in common. They all complement each other, and enhance the effect of each shade to be more than it was before. But how can we actually judge if a color palette is good?
A good color combination is one that has all its colors complement and build on each other. Essentially, the impact should be one where the negative aspects of each individual color is tempered, while the positive aspects are enhanced. The resulting color theme would be one that would be considered good.
A bad color combination, on the other hand, is one that has clash with one another, or else add no value to the overall color theme. Remember, each color is added to your combination to serve a specific purpose. If a shade has no specific job, then it is useless, and it makes the color palette useless.
Logos often rely on simpler color palettes, from monochromatic to two or maximum three-tone color schemes. However, some brands prefer to use four or more shades in their design as well, if they think they can pull it off successfully.
The color choices for logos are often those with a softer contrast instead of a sharper one. That helps people remember all details instead of the visual contrast overpowering all other aspects of the design.
There are many color combinations named within Magic: The Gathering board game world. Some of the most popular ones include:
As a designer, you might decide on your color palette by using well-known color palettes to create your designs. However, there is one drawback to that. With the number of shades available today, it would take a long time to come up with a suitable color scheme that works the same across a variety of mediums.
The best option is to use a color combinations generator tool. These types of tools are designed to choose suitable shades of color, depending on factors such as the tone of the design, the numbers of colors you want to use etcetera. By factoring in all the important details needed, these tools can help you create new and innovative color palettes.
Your websites and mobile apps should use the color scheme used in your branding plan. Your website and apps will either use that color scheme, or will come up with complementary shades of color which are the perfect fit for your brand colors, without clashing visually.
When we consider the different types of websites, the primary purpose when creating a design brief is to make sure that the user experience is good. That is why softer colors that match your brand themes are necessary to create your website or app’s color palettes.
Now that you know what is required to create various color combinations for your designs, as well as a veritable list of the popular two-tone, tri-tone and four-tone color schemes, you can now create your own perfect color palette.
Do you require a graphic design agency to create a variety of graphics featuring your brand colors? Logo Poppin can help you develop the perfect items to represent your brand effectively.
Color combinations are sets of contrasting shades and hues that elevate a design’s impact.
Specific shades of colors designed custom can be trademarked, however, although it is very rarely done. That is because the color combination needs to prove that its purpose is identification. Not cosmetic.
No you cannot copyright color combinations.
Some popular color combinations in 2021 include: