Rules of Color in Print Design

By Kaye Marks Published 05/12/2009 | Advertising
Color can make or break an advertisement, whether in a newspaper ad, postcard, or other form of printed marketing tools. However, too much color tends to overwhelm your message, while too little will not be able to capture enough attention.

Choosing the wrong color scheme can hide or disrupt the flow of your message and style. Another thing that must be remembered is that a certain color on a computer screen may appear differently than if it is printed on a commercial printer.

You can avoid these common color flaws by following the rules below.

The Right Amount
Many designs have two or four color schemes. Smaller layouts such as for business card or postcard printing need to use only two colors while larger designs such as brochures can allow for four colors. Make sure to use white space so as not to overdo your color scheme. In addition, you have to organize the shades. For instance, use a white background, black fonts, a red header box background, and a blue tips box background.

The Right Shade
having to choose between two or four colors and deciding what color combination to use can be quite challenging. The perfect combination of colors should help you to guide your readers to the most important aspects of your layout first. Among all the other colors, black and red capture the most attention, effortlessly. On the other hand, blue and yellow are more subtle colors. Each of these colors may produce different results when combined with other shades.

Play around with the palette of your project until the most important information stands out the most. Additionally, keep in mind that your message and style needs to be coordinated with the right colors. Use the following right colors - orange for fun, green for growth, and yellow for happiness. Make sure that you take consideration of these things. Remember that every color has a meaning in psychological terms. Know what kind of impact each color brings to the people. Know which color would draw more attention according to your target market's point of view.

The Right Appearance
The default color scheme on a computer is RGB because these colors (red, green, and blue) are the primary colours of light. Since a computer screen operates with light, colors appear more vivid on the monitor with RGB. The problem occurs in the printing the transfer of it from computer screen to paper, which is why color printing companies tend to use CMYK rather than RGB scheme. Cyan, magenta, and yellow (with black thrown in for a darker black) are the primary colors of ink; therefore, printed images appear more vivid and smooth. Your design program should have the option to choose colors from the CMYK scheme. Just remember that your proof printed on paper will appear differently than on the screen.

So with these tips in mind, you can get to work and create that perfect print out and use color to make your print design stand out from the rest and capture the most attention from your target markets.

Learn about the developments in color printing, postcard printing and print design industries.

Kaye Z. Marks is an avid writer and follower of the developments in online printing and color printing industry.