Color in graphic design. Terms and definitions.

Color in graphic design. Terms and definitions.

Color is one of the principal qualities on which configuration is based. In the hands of an expert, he can turn into a useful asset. It influences numerous variables that assume a huge job in visual discernment. Color hugely affects our awareness, it changes our frame of mind to any subject in truly seconds, and furthermore causes individuals to respond to it and even take certain activities.

From the start, the regulation of color may not appear to be so hard to ace, yet on the off chance that you dive into the subtleties, it turns out to be evident that numerous nuances must be considered.

In this article, we have assembled all the essential terms of color hypothesis in an advantageous glossary that will support realistic and UI creators better see how color functions.

Before going further, it is important to understand the essence of color. In Webster’s dictionary, it is defined as the luminous phenomenon (for example, red, brown, pink, or gray) or a phenomenon of visual perception that allows a person to distinguish objects that are otherwise seemingly identical. Simply put, color is a sign of the object, which occurs due to the light emitted or reflected by this object. The color can be visually “check”, assessing its properties (hue, saturation, chromaticity, and brightness). For a full understanding of the color values, let’s examine its characteristics.


The main properties of color are hue, brightness, chromaticity, and saturation.


The term “tone” is often confused with “color”, so you’ll have to elaborate on these definitions in more detail. First, you need to understand that “color” is a generalized term used by people to refer to all the colors, tones and tonalities. On the other hand, the tone is exactly what we mean by asking “what color is this thing?”. Overall, the tone is a set of twelve clear and bright colors shown on the color wheel.

The tone is a base material that can be changed in three different ways: to conceal, to shade and tint. Depending on the technology used, the tone turns into a tint, shade or tone.

To distinguish them easily. A tint is created by mixing any colors with white, while a shade is a mixing any colors with black. The tone is a more subtle process since it requires the addition of either black or white, and so the result will look more natural than with tones and hues.


As already mentioned, the flowers have certain characteristics by which they can learn. Luminance is the property that specifies how bright/dark the color is. This characteristic is determined by the degree of whiteness. The more white added to tone, the higher its brightness.


Chrome, or chromaticity, shows the purity of tone. This characteristic is evaluated based on the presence of white, gray or black in color. Twelve basic tones, described below, have the highest degree of chromaticity, as it does not contain any additional elements. Color with high chrome is bright and vivid.


This characteristic has much in common with brightness and chrome, so sometimes may be confused. It is very important to understand the difference. Unlike the two previous properties, saturation does not imply a confusion of tones with other colors. Saturation is how the color looks in different light conditions, how bright or pale the color appears in daylight or low light. This property is also called the intensity of the color.



If you have ever attended classes in painting, you saw a circle consisting of different colors. It’s called the color wheel and helps to understand how colors are interrelated and how they are best combined. The color wheel consists of primary, secondary and tertiary colors, which are also known as tones.

The color wheel was invented by Isaac Newton in 1666, and at first, looked like a diagram. Since then it has undergone many transformations, but still remains the main tool for working with the compatibility of colors. According to the idea of the color, the circle should work to make it easier to properly mix colors.



The type color is divided into primary, secondary and tertiary; and on a cold, warm and neutral.



They are three pigment colors that cannot be created by mixing other colors. They — the basis of all color systems. Primary colors vary depending on the type of color system. The basis of the subtractive CMYK color model is cyan, magenta and yellow colors, additive RGB color model to form red, green and blue. A historical color model RYB artists include red, yellow and blue.



These colors appear when using the mixing of two primaries. Since each system has its own primary colors, secondary colors also vary. The following is a schematic explanation of what secondary colors can be formed in each of the models.



The result of mixing primary and secondary work tertiary colors, which usually have composite names, e.g. the red-purple or yellow-orange.



All the above colors can also be divided into three types: cold, warm and neutral.

Cool colors are blue-green part of the color wheel. They are called cold because they create a feeling of coolness. Warm colors are opposite from Association with heat. Yellow, orange and red tones, referring to the warm colors. And last but not least: neutral colors are not part of the color wheel. Among them are grey, brown and beige.



There are several color models: RGB, RYB, CMY, CMYK.



The primary colors of the RGB model are red, blue and green. This model is the basis for all colors used on the screen. The combination of the primary colors of this model in equal proportions results in the secondary colors — cyan, magenta and yellow, however, you must remember: the more light you add, the brighter and lighter the color becomes. The results obtained after mixing plus colors, often a surprise to people accustomed to the subtractive color model paints, dyes, inks, and other tangible objects.



RYB (R — red, Y — yellow, B — blue) is another color model that is often used in art education, particularly painting. It served as the basis for modern scientific color theory, in which it was found that blue, purple and yellow tri-color is the best combination for mixing. Thus appeared the color model CMY.



The CMY model was modified with the advent of photomechanical printing. It became a key component of the black ink, and the model was renamed to CMYK (C — cyan, M — purple, Y — yellow, K — black). Without this additional pigment closest to the shade of black would be a dirty brown. At the moment, this color model is most often used in printing.



In the design of color, balance is of great importance, as the impression on the site or app users is formed from the first sight, and the colors have this strong influence. Designers identified the main and most effective color palette or color harmony.


It is based on one color and its various hues and shades. A monochrome palette is always a win-win situation, as here, we will have to try, to fail and to do everything tasteless.


To create analog palettes use colors that are located next to each other on the color wheel. This kind of color palette is used where there is no need to contrast including the background of the web pages or banners.



A complementary palette is a mixture of colors that are opposite each other on the color wheel. This diagram opposite the same and monochrome, as its purpose is to create contrast. For example, any interface, it would be difficult not to see the orange button on a blue background.



This palette works like the previous one but uses more colors. For example, if you select blue you still need to add two adjacent hues to opposite colors, i.e., yellow and orange. Here the contrast is not as sharp compared to the complementary scheme, but you can use more colors.



When the design requires more colors, you can resort to the triadic scheme. It is based on three separate colors equally spaced from each other. To maintain balance in the scheme, it is recommended to use one color as the dominant, and the other two as an accent.


The quaternary color scheme is intended for use by experienced designers, as it is most difficult to achieve balance in it. She uses the four colors from the circle that make up complementary pairs. If you connect the dots on the selected colors, they form a rectangle. In this scheme, it is quite difficult to achieve harmony, but if everything is done correctly, the results will be amazing.

I would like to end with a prosaic quote from Ru Paul: “The whole point is to live life and be – use all the colors from a box of pencils.” Learn to use colors effectively both in life and in work, and you will like the results.

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