Choosing the Right Colours for Your Print Marketing - Part 1: Colour Symbolism
Whether you’re a complete novice to Photoshop, or you’ve already created a few pieces of artwork for your printed marketing materials, it always helps to brush up on your design skills to make the most from your printing investment.
Let’s start by talking about colours. Plenty of design newcomers simply pick out the colours they like the most, without much consideration of what those colours say about their product, service or brand.
By taking note of the cultural associations of each colour, you can create print artwork that does a better job of conveying your message and reaching your intended target market.
Here’s a beginner’s guide to colour symbolism, and how you can use it to create more interesting and engaging print artwork.
White often symbolises purity, tranquility, clarity and perfection; so it’s a smart choice if you’re promoting products which sell themselves on their simplicity, cleanliness, or the calm they can bring to customers’ lives.
If you’re looking to present large fields of text in your print design, a neutral white background will often make the text more appealing and comfortable to read.
Black is more associated with negative themes of death, sorrow and fear; but it can also stand for mystery and intrigue, as well as power, formality and sophistication. If you’re promoting a luxury product or brand, black is the perfect colour.
Grey is less ominous than black, but it’s still fairly gloomy and miserable. Lighter greys can give your design an attractive neutral feel when used in moderation, but an overabundance of grey will likely overpower the artwork and turn readers away.
Bright red is closely associated with danger, anger and violence, but also romance, passion, speed, excitement and energy. Red typically means ‘stop and pay attention’; it appears on traffic lights, stop signs and ‘no’ symbol signs.
If you’re promoting a limited-time offer, red is a good choice for grabbing the reader’s attention and reinforcing the sense of urgency; but it can appear hostile and confrontational unless you use it sparingly.
Dark red gives off a sophisticated and ‘regal’ feel, which can work wonders for advertising luxury products or authoritative, dependable brands. It can also feel warm and comforting, particularly during the Christmas season.
Is a warm yet gentle colour; symbolising happiness, approachability and creativity. It has the vitality of red without the aggression; making it a useful choice if you’re looking to make your print design appeal to younger customers.
Brown / Dark orange
Brown and/or dark orange is the colour of autumn leaves, tree branches and desert dunes. It’s a good choice for making your design appear comforting, spiritual or natural.
Bright yellow is a carefree, positive colour associated with summer and beaches. It’s best to use yellow as an accent colour; designs which rely too much on bright yellows can be overstimulating and garish to the reader.
Bright blue is breezy, relaxing and cool. As the colour most commonly associated with the sky and the ocean, it symbolises depth and potential.
Just like dark red, dark blue is typically associated with royalty. Legal and financial organisations often use dark blue shades in their branding and marketing as a symbol of trust, loyalty and reliability; but too much dark blue can give your design a gloomy and depressing feel.
Bright green is the colour of grass, leaves, fruits and more; hence it’s strongly connected to growth, replenishment, nature and hope. If you’re promoting a product which is eco-friendly or comes with health benefits, bright green is a good choice.
Dark green gives off similar connotations of nature and can be a reassuring colour; but it’s also associated with wealth and prestige. If you’re promoting luxury health products or brands, dark green is ideal.
Pink is quite a popular neutral design choice in modern times, particularly for advertisers looking to appeal to a younger audience.
Lavender / light purple
Lavender / light purple is a neutral colour which is commonly seen as gentle and comforting, in a similar manner to pink. Again, if you’re targeting a younger audience and/or promoting products which offer peace of mind for their customers, light purple is a good choice.
Violet / dark purple
Just like many of the other dark colours on this list, violet / dark purple is closely associated with regality and nobility; yet it often feels more approachable and friendly than dark blue or dark red.
Beware of using too much purple in your artwork design, though - it can come across as gloomy and overpowering in large doses.
Of course, no colour is used in isolation. In Part 2, we’ll be tackling some of the more common colour combinations, and what they can say about your print design.
Need help with your print artwork? As well as offering printing services for a whole range of marketing products, Better Printing’s in-house design team can also provide graphic design services to help you create beautiful, engaging designs. Talk to us about your design requirements today - call our team on 023 8087 8037 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.