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Using colour in design: 10 rules that should never be broken

When it comes to designing your print advertising campaign, your company logo or even your brochure, there’s no need to stick to plain old black and white alone. If you want your print projects to stand out you’ll need to embrace colour. You can use colour to help draw attention to your print and to help represent your brand, maintain continuity and to encourage your audience to feel certain emotions. Choose the right colours and your audience will learn to recognise your brand and you’ll have more control over how they feel when they see your print. Choose the wrong colours, however, and potential customers could be put off your brand completely. In order to achieve the right results, you’ll need to abide by these ten rules of colour in print design…


#1: Avoid patterns behind text

Patterns can be a great way to attract attention to your print, but placing your text directly on top of a patterned background will only make it harder for your audience to read the text. Highlighting the text before placing on top of a patterned background will help it to stand out.


#2: Don’t use the same colours as your competitors

If your competitors are known for using certain colours then you should avoid using the same ones in your design. The last thing you want is to be mistaken for another brand or to confuse your audience about who you really are.


#3: Be careful when clashing colours

There’s nothing wrong with clashing colours to create a vivid, eye-catching campaign, but you must be careful which colours you choose. It can be extremely difficult to read red text on a green background, for example, so always remember to test your colour combinations first.


#4: Consider your brand colours

You should always consider your brand guidelines when designing your print projects to ensure that the colours you use do not clash with your brand colours, or represent something that your brand would rather not be associated with.


#5: Use richer colours for prominence

If you want certain words or images to stand out you should always consider using richer colours or placing them on top of slightly translucent or dull colours to ensure they are not missed. This way, your audience’s attention will be drawn directly to the important areas.


#6: Consider culture

It’s always worth considering the nationality and culture of your target market during the design stage. Certain colours have different connotations to cultures around the world, so bear these in mind.


#7: Know the meaning of your colours

Many colours come with connotations attached. For example, green is often linked to the environment and blue is considered a corporate colour, so you should always look into the meaning of the colours you want to use before choosing them. See #6 when creating campaigns around the globe.


#8: Don’t overdo it

It can be tempting to use a number of different colours and fonts in order to make each sentence or image stand out, but doing so is likely to look messy on the page and can cause people to turn away from your print, rather than take an interest.


#9: Don’t be afraid of white

White is not considered a colour, but that doesn’t mean it cannot help the colour you do have on your page to stand out. Some of the most effective campaigns employ white backgrounds with small splashes of vivid colour.


#10: Always trial your colours

Before you make any commitment to your colours, it’s always worth testing them on others. Colours that appeal to you might not work for others, so make sure you gauge the reaction of a sample audience before going to print.

If you’re keen to experiment with colours in your upcoming print campaign but would like the help of a team of clever print management experts, why not get in touch with a member of our team today?

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