BreBru's Art Room

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  Color Symbolism
Color is more than a combination of red, green, and blue or cyan, magenta, yellow, and black. It is non-verbal communication.

Colors have symbolism and meanings that go beyond ink. As you design brochures, logos, and Web sites, it is helpful to keep in mind how the eye and the mind perceive certain colors.

Sometimes colors create a physical reaction (red has been shown to raise blood pressure) and at other times it is a cultural reaction (in the U.S. white is for weddings, in some Eastern cultures, white is the color for mourning and funerals). Colors follow trends as well. Avocado, a shade of green, is synomous with the 60s and 70s in the minds of some consumers.

On the next few pages we'll explore the symbolism of different colors.

Cool Colors (calming): Blue, Green (& White)
Warm Colors (exciting): Red, Yellow, Orange (& Black)
Mixed Cool/Warm Colors: Purple
Neutral Colors (good for backgrounds): Brown, Tan, Beige, Gray, Silver, Black, White

The relationship of adjacent, complementary, and clashing colors is more fully explained here. Below is a brief synopis.


• Adjacent or harmonizing colors appear next to each other on the color wheel.
harmonizing (adjacent) colors often work well together but if too close in value they can appear washed out or not have enough contrast

• Complementary colors are separated by another color on the color wheel.
complementary colors printed side by side can cause visual vibration making them a less then desirable combination

• Clashing colors are directly opposite each other on the color wheel
colors that clash are not always a bad combination if used carefully