Activity 1: Choosing Colours

How do designers pick colours, which just seem to work?

This is a hard question to answer, as different people will do it in different ways. Some people look to nature for inspiration e.g. the colours in a piece of shell, opal even leaves. Others use science and photo metrics while another person may just experiment.

The reality is however if we need to reproduce a colour repeatedly e.g. logo, branding etc then the scientific approach is the best.

Designers who just pick colours that work do not do so by chance. These people have a deep understanding of colour, its nuances, its hues and shades, even how it is reflected off varying surfaces. Nothing beats experience and a good eye for colour.

Read the following pages -
Describe what the colour theory is and describe the differences between the following colour harmony schemes –

Colour Theory is a set of principles used to create harmonious colour combinations. Colour relationships can be visually represented with a colour wheel — the colour spectrum wrapped onto a circle.

     •    Monochromatic - The monochromatic colour scheme uses variations in lightness and saturation of a single color. This scheme looks clean and elegant. Monochromatic colours go well together, producing a soothing effect. The monochromatic scheme is very easy on the eyes, especially with blue or green hues.
     •    Complementary - The complementary colour scheme consists of two colours that are opposite each other on the color wheel. This scheme looks best when you place a warm colour against a cool colour, for example, red versus green-blue. This scheme is intrinsically high-contrast.
     •    Analogous - The analogous colour scheme uses colours that are adjacent to each other on the colour wheel. One color is used as a dominant colour while others are used to enrich the scheme. The analogous scheme is similar to the monochromatic, but offers more nuances.
     •    Triadic - The triadic colour scheme uses three colours equally spaced around the colour wheel. This scheme is popular among artists because it offers strong visual contrast while retaining harmony and colour richness. The triadic scheme is not as contrasting as the complementary scheme, but it looks more balanced and harmonious.
Look at the examples available at

Choose your favorite colour combination and answer the following questions.
Which colour scheme does it belong to?

I actually chose Split Complementary Colour Schemes: Red Accents as my preferred scheme from the examples shown.
What are your reasons for choosing this combination?

     •    My reason for making this choice was that it did not overcomplicate things with too many colours.
     •    By having only one contrast colour it also reduces the risk of clashes when content containing a variety of colours is added to the sites content.
     •    The background does not draw attention away from the main content

Choosing Colours | Font families | Creating Color Palettes Using The Color Wheel | Creating Colour Palettes Using Images |
Color Blindness Simulation | Font Colours | Research into Color | Culture & Color