Colour Combinations every designer should Know

Choosing the right colors for your design projects is a pretty big deal, in this post, we want to take a closer look at some of our favourite color combinations and explain the psychology behind them along with some tutorials to help you understand color theory!

Green & Pink

RGB 29,152,106 & RGB 245, 190, 219 | Source Image : 1 & 2

Green and Pink work very well together, Green represents peace and harmony, whilst pink represents femininity and love! This is popular color combination for botanical, spring season and female inspired illustrations! 

Tip:  Read color inspiration blogs

If you get stuck on choosing colours then use platforms such as ColorMatters ColorHunt, DesignSeed and Picular. These sites provide free beautiful colour combinations that you can use in your artwork!

Blue & Pink

Blue and Pink create a strong contrast and work well together! Dark Blue is powerful and represents wisdom and confidence and can be found in nature such as the sea and sky so creates a calm and peaceful mood.  
Pink colour also creates a calming effects and is used for feminine designs and for young girls art.

RGB 0,62,123 & RGB 245, 190, 219 | SOURCE IMAGE : 1 & 2

Navy Blue & Orange

Orange color is associated with sunshine and happiness and usually used in corporate logos to represent confidence and success. Add a pop of orange on dull dark colors and it will immediately make your artwork stand out!

RGB: 21,48, 75 & RGB: 239, 103, 63 | SOURCE IMAGE : 1 & 2

Tip:  Study the color wheel 

Study the color wheel and get familiar with the structure. Experiment with mixing colours to really understand how they work. 

Yellow & Orange

Orange color represents confidence and success! Add a pop of orange on dull dark colours and it will immediately make your artwork stand out! These colours are used in artwork for Autumn season.

RGB: 244,172, 64 & RGB: 234, 89, 42 | SOURCE IMAGE : 1 & 2

Blue & Red

Both primary colors that work & complement each other so well! Red and Blue are vivid so avoid using too many additional colors when these two are combined!

RGB: 254, 55, 48 & RGB: 46, 98, 182 | SOURCE IMAGE : 1 & 2

Tip:  Understand cultural difference

Use colors that are culturally appropriate. For instance in Western cultures white colour represents pure and innocence whereas in some South Asian cultures it is the colour of death. 

We love this book on understanding colour meanings around the world!

Check out this post on Color psychology and how colour tricks used by top companies!

Red is a fascinating color and in this video below, I’m going to explain what makes it so culturally important and show you examples of great designs and illustrations using red as the primary colour.

Blue & Yellow

Dark Blue represents night and calm and Yellow represents fun and positivity! Both colors are opposite to each other on the color wheel so this contrast works really well to create a vibrant colour scheme!

RGB: 50, 42, 89 & RGB: 241, 191, 1 | SOURCE IMAGE : 1 & 2

Pale Pink & Mustard

Pink and yellow in pale tones are great for kids art and also to show femininity. These color tones work well so create soft, feminine artwork!

RGB: 226, 175, 154 & RGB: 231, 191, 67 | SOURCE IMAGE : 1 & 2

Bright Pink & Yellow

Bright pink is a stimulating color. It’s full of energy and works well with bright lime yellow! These bright colours are great for children and homeware patterns.

RGB: 248, 117, 123 & RGB: 216, 111, 68 | SOURCE IMAGE : 1 & 2

Tip:  White is a color

When you are first starting out your design career, you may be tempted to fill in ever space with a color which can make your design look cluttered and unprofessional. Instead use White color as part of the layout, it will add negative space to your design and create a much calmer mood!

Bright Pink & Green

Bright pink and green creates a fresh, vibrant spring feel and great for nature and female orientated illustrations!

RGB: 253, 128, 136 & RGB: 72, 166, 152 | SOURCE IMAGE : 1 & 2

Red & Gold

Red and gold are a great combo for Christmas festive designs. It is luxurious and classy and can be found
in luxuries products.

RGB: 200, 2, 27 & RGB: 197, 136, 30 | SOURCE IMAGE : 1 & 2

Tip:  Experiment with Hue saturation

Hue in design means color and the brightness of color is refereed to as saturation. Always play around with the saturation values as it can easily transform your layout. Increasing saturation will make your design brighter and more vivid. Decreasing it will be make it more dull and grey.

Lilac & Blue

Mixing bright tones with soft hues always creates sophisticated contrast! These colors are colors of nature so always great to create a calm and happy mood.

                                       RGB: 191, 194, 237 & RGB: 36, 61, 206 | SOURCE IMAGE : 1 & 2

Purples on Purple

Mixing dark and light purples as gradients creates striking vivid effect.

RGB: 31, 37, 89 & RGB: 173, 109, 170 | SOURCE IMAGE : 1 & 2

Green & Red

Red represents love and green peace. A popular combination for the the festive season!

RGB: 252, 68, 18 & RGB: 24, 56, 41 | SOURCE IMAGE : 1 & 2

Tip:  Apply bright colors

You don’t have to add all the colors from the rainbow but people do gravitate towards bright colors. Clients always want something that will make their design-stand out, the best way to do this is not to be afraid to add a touch of bright colours.

Green on Green

Green on green is perfect combination for nature and symbolises hope and growth.

RGB: 130, 177, 161 & RGB: 30, 46, 45 | SOURCE IMAGE : 2

Purple & Blue

Both colors found in nature, these Pastel colors are great for creating soothing, calming and feminine atmosphere.

RGB: 209, 184, 214 & RGB: 130, 181, 185 | SOURCE IMAGE : 1 & 2

I hope you enjoyed reading this post, we would love to know your favourite color combinations or any colours you tend to gravitate too?

If you want to improve your understanding on color theory then why not watch our free tutorials on Triadic Colors, Complementary Colors, Analogous Colors, Transitional Color and learn how to capture colours using the Adobe Capture app!

To understand more on design theory and stay inspired you may want to take a look at our
365 days of creativity playlist!

About the author 

Shumi Perhiniak

Shumi is a self-taught graphic designer, in 2012 she took one-year sabbatical career break, where she devoted her time studying Photoshop, InDesign and Illustrator. In just after 6 months she started freelancing and within a year become a Certified Photoshop Expert. Over the years she worked both in-house and in agency roles as a retoucher, artworker and moved on from junior to senior design roles.

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