One of the elements of design, in page layout and design color can evoke moods and make powerful statements. The designer has an almost endless supply of individual colors from which to choose. However, when it comes time to display colors on screen as in Web design or to print colors on paper (or other surfaces) there are technical limitations to that use of color.
Some of the short definitions of color related to how it is used in desktop publishing and graphic design include:
- a visual sensation created by the reflection of light that is perceived as red, blue, yellow, etc.
"Colors on screen are displayed by mixing varying amounts of red, green, and blue light." What is RGB?
- a specific value and saturation of a hue
"Hue, Saturation, Value or HSV is a color model that describes colors (hue or tint) in terms of their shade (saturation or amount of gray) and their brightness (value or luminance)." What is HSV?
- not black or white (color as opposed to b&w or grayscale)
"An image composed of shades of gray is described as grayscale. Often referred to as black and white, strictly speaking a true black and white image is composed only of black and white while a grayscale image has black, white, and various shades of gray in between black and white." What is Grayscale?
- pigments used in painting
"Pigment is the substance or powder that makes up the color of a paint." About.com Painting: What is a Pigment?
- ink used in printing (4-color / CMYK / cyan|magenta|yellow|black) or spot color printing)
"To reproduce full-color photographic images, typical printing presses (and some inkjet printers) use 4 colors of ink. The four inks are placed on the paper in layers of dots that combine to create the illusion of many more colors." What is CMYK?
Using Color in Design
- Color Meanings
Designers choose colors to convey the right tone, message, and evoke the desired response to the brochure, newsletter, ad, Web site, or other publication. Certain colors have common cultural meanings and may be scientifically shown to illicit specific physical or emotional responses. Explore Individual Color Meanings
Beige | Black | Blue (plus azure | beryl | cerulean | cobalt | corporate blue | indigo | navy | sapphire) | Brown | Gold | Gray | Green (plus chartreuse) | Ivory | Lavender | Orange | Pink (plus fuchsia) | Purple (plus lilac | plum | violet) | Red (plus blood red | crimson | scarlet | vermilion) | Silver | Turquoise | White | Yellow
- Appealing to the Masculine Side with Male Color Preferences
When speaking the language of color, what colors speak to men? Explore the favorite colors of men before choosing colors for print or web projects targeted to males.
- Appealing to the Feminine Side with Female Color Preferences
When speaking the language of color, what colors speak to women? Explore the favorite colors of women and colors traditionally or culturally associated with women. Use these studies to help choose colors for print and Web materials targeting women.
- Color Palettes
Explore traditional, historical, and favorite color combinations.
- Designing With Black Ink
Although some refer to black as the absence of color, in design it is a very important color, the most widely used color. Explore some of the technical aspects of working with black ink.
- Spot Colors Expand Color Options in Desktop Publishing
Discover ways to create more colorful designs by using only one or two actual colors of ink.
- How to Get Good Color Printing
Choosing colors is only part of the design process. To get the colors to print as intended requires knowledge of calibration, printing inks, printing methods, and proper file preparation.
- When to Use Spot Colors or Process Colors or Both
Budget plays a large role in the decision as well as the printing method and the specific design elements used in the layout. Match your project to those in these lists to find the best color printing options.
- 4 Color, 6 Color, and 8 Color Process Printing
While spot color and CMYK printing are the most commonly used color printing processes in graphic design, they aren't the only options.
- Use Imposition to Save Money on Color Printing
Printing in color can be expensive. Here's one way to save money.