In case you know me at least a bit, you can say right at the moment what I’m addicted to. It’s… color.
Color is everywhere, just take a look. And who is the best color designer? — Nature.
To feel its magic you should simply go out (better out of the city) and start observing grass, flowers, trees, sky — everything that surrounds you. The best color combinations are the ones we see in flowers, tree barks or birds feathers. The best gradients are sunrises and sunsets. Each time they look different, whether there are some clouds or its just a clear sky, whether it’s sunny or rainy weather. And we can see plenty of shades there, the whole variety of color combinations.
Surrounded by vast color palette in the basic equipment of Earth, somehow people don’t usually use the same principles when it comes to the urban environment. Many cities have grey VSCO filters been used over most of the buildings. Why does it happen like this? Is it because of the fear of standing out or there are other pitfalls?
When it comes to UI design quite often we see the same picture. Saying “I’m the real problems solver” designer turns its color palette to the dark side. This way it looks serious and strict. Adding some bright colors?
Following this approach designer should have really strong skills in fonts and composition as one of the main design tools, color, is almost excluded. And certainly, this way you can still solve the tasks and gain the results, in some cases. But let’s take a closer look at the benefits we can gain with the help of the color.
Using color confidently we achieve not only the remarkable and unique view but we also bring emotions. Most of the services want people to use their platforms as much as possible, to have a high conversion rate. In order to gain it, the service strives to have a strong and effective brand, standing out from the competitors. A crucial element in this case is emotion. The brand wants its users to have positive emotions while using it, which leads to trust. Trust brings positive perception of the brand overall. And thus, the brand wins.
So how should designer start using the color in a proper way? I’m pretty sure that every designer, who wants to show that he’s familiar with this secret science called color choosing, will say to you: “You should use Itten Color Wheel.”
Indeed, it’s the basics you should start with studying the science. But it’s the tip of the iceberg. In the wheel we can see only certain pure colors, which quite often look straightforward. In order to get the real benefits out of color, we should search for more sophisticated pure colors, that lie out of the standard 12 colors pack.
Let’s say, we went further and found new colors, not the ones from the wheel. Then, we’re looking for harmony combinations. Guided by the rule, we’re testing complimentary, monochromatic, analogous, triadic and others variations. Now take a look at this image.
The problem is, even though we’ve selected the colors, that are not on the surface, we still didn’t get the ready color combination. Thus, we need to continue our research.
Next step—we’re studying tints, shades and tones — the color variations that are created adding white, black or grey to a pure color. Whether they enrich our design or we should avoid them.
To sum up, a designer starts a long-term trip through the color picking in the graphics editor.
From my personal experience I would like to add that nothing helps you to evolve better in this field than practice (surprise, surprise). Back to the first months I studied and worked in UI design, I had a completely persistent belief that only few designers get this special talent to predict which color combinations are the right ones. And in order to see their result you should check the ready color combinations. In case you want to create your own combination, you step on the unexplored road full of mistakes.
But do you know what is the problem with all those ready-to-go color palettes? They are on the surface, easily reached by thousands of people, which means you won’t get that unique design.
Therefore, whether you’re frighten or not, you still have to step this road.
Try numerous variants and compare them next to each other. Check not only ready apps and UI concepts as the examples but also look through graphic design, art, photography and every detail next to you. In a way, your color perception should be well trained, thereby walking the street you could instantly say whether the poster in front of you has a good color combination or not, whether the building colors look harmonious or need to be repainted.
Nowadays, more and more companies pay attention on the role of design. We can notice “design-driven company” in the description, which, I believe, means that the company is ready for brave and confident solutions. We’re also living in the design thinking era, the expression that we hear from different sources many times. All the current trends might lead to the color revolution both in the digital sphere and the old-fashioned 4D out of the window. Sounds too napoleonish? We’ll see. Meanwhile, I’ll continue to bring more and more colorful, full of energy design solutions that will come alive.