Why Simple Colors Are So Important

Colors are the first aspect of any College design course. Why is this? It seems so simple, a four year old can identify colors…so what’s it matter? The key to any quality design in any media whether print, web, or even television ads is a great use of colors. A fantastic design with a terrible use of colors, is now a terrible design. Some of the other “simplistic” elements of design that get overlooked are layout, type, and balance. When all of these work together you’ve got complimenting elements that bring out the best in one another.


The 3 main color schemes are monochromatic, analogous, and complimentary. Monochromatic is just as it sounds – one color. It uses many different shades of that one color, and can be an extremely effective form of color scheme is used correctly. It’s actually counterintuitive to a lot of designs today which are so colorful, and so busy. A clean simplistic monochromatic design can make an even stronger impression. Just ask Apple. An analogous color scheme is using colors that are next to each other on the color wheel. This seems very simplistic in its roots again, but if you stray too far on the color wheel the results can be hideous.


An example of a monochromatic image
An example of an analogous image

The last color scheme is complementary. To truly appreciate complimentary you’ll have to view a color wheel. Complementary colors are on complete opposites of the color wheel. It would surprise most if they viewed a color wheel and saw the combinations, and how they work. Christmas for example – green and red, the Florida Gators – orange and blue, and the list goes on and on. Complementary colors elicit strong reactions because the colors tend to jump off of each other and are strong and bold. That’s the cliff-notes version of color schemes, but just from this short summary you can see the power and importance of something as “simple” colors