Essential tips to optimize color when creating beautiful designs

Choose the right color to optimize your designs

Color holds power. It can impact our moods, emotions, and behaviors. It can also be a source of information.

So it is vital to select colors in a design carefully.

Selecting the right color

Colors reveal your brand’s major values. By seeing your product packaging or your website, for example, your target audiences will automatically know who you are, what you sell, and what you’re about.

There has been countless research conducted on the use of color in brand design and marketing.

Some key highlights include:

  • Brand awareness is increased by up to 80% by effective use of color throughout marketing, packaging and logo design
  • Brand perceptions are created by consumers in the first 90 seconds. Color alone influences between 60% and 90% of these judgments.
  • Purchase consideration is influenced heavily by color. 93% of shoppers focus on visual appearance alone when they consider a purchase.

So it is vital to choose a color to reflect your brand personality. Being careful to understand that each color evokes a different emotion in us.

Layering your design in color

The first step in creating effective design is to identify where and how the final result is displayed.

Both RGB and CMYK are modes for creating color in graphic design. The RGB color mode is best for digital work, while CMYK is used for print products. But you need to understand the mechanisms behind each, as one color space is always better than the other.

What is RGB?

RGB (Red, Green, Blue) is the color space for digital images. Therefore, use the RGB color mode if your design is going to be displayed on any kind of screen. This additive mode of using color mixes a selection of red, green, and blue light onto black to create the perfect pigment. When RGB light is mixed together at equal intensity, they create pure white.

It is important to be aware that the color outputted is device-dependent. Different devices detect or reproduce light differently.

What is CMYK?

CMYK is the color space for printed materials. The CMYK acronym stands for primary colors in the printing process – Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, and Key.

‘Key’ actually means black. It is called Key because it’s the main color used to determine the outcome of the image. The black ink provides depth and shading, whereas the other colors create different colors depending on how they are mixed. For example, cyan and yellow create a green when one is overlaid on the other.

A printing press uses dots of ink to make up the image from these four colors by layering the 4 colors in varying degrees of intensity. This is known as subtractive mixing. All colors start as blank white, and each layer of ink reduces the initial brightness to create the preferred color. When all colors are mixed together, they create pure black.

What is meant by spot colors?

Spot colors are single or solid use of ink used to produce the printed image. The pre-mixed color is printed using a single run versus process colors which are printed by a series of dots of different colors.

There have been several spot colors registered over time to ensure that a brand has exclusive rights over the use of that color. A good example of this is Tiffany blue, which was trade registered in 1998. Another well-known trademarked color is Cadbury purple. After years of legal battles, Cadbury has finally been awarded a courtroom decision that Pantone 2865c is distinctive to recognition of their brand.

Choosing the best file format

It is important to select the right file format to export your file.

  • JPGs are ideal for RGB files because they’re a nice middle-ground between file size and quality, and they’re readable almost anywhere.
  • PSD is the standard source file for RGB documents – although this assumes all team members are working with Adobe Photoshop.
  • PNGs support transparency and are better for graphics that need to be superimposed over others. Consider this file type for interface elements like buttons, icons or banners using RGB.
  • GIFs are a motion image, so if you’re using an animated element, such as a moving logo or a bouncing icon, this file type would be ideal using RGB given their fluid nature.
  • PDFs are ideal for CMYK files, because they are compatible with most programs.
  • AI is the standard source file for CMYK, assuming all team members are working with Adobe Illustrator.
  • EPS is a source file alternative to AI when designing in RGB, because it is compatible with other vector programs.

Ensure it’s pixel perfect

Once the design is ready for review, we suggest getting feedback and approval using an online proofing platform.  If you want to avoid errors in your designs before they go to print, we’ve curated an essential checklist from a team of industry experts and print specialists with years of experience in perfecting print. It is one of the most comprehensive checklists you can find – covers everything from simple content control to advanced technical procedures.

PageProof, offers ease and speed in online proofing for all types of files, as well as a range of unparalleled features to proof technical packaging documents. It is simple to create the perfect packaging proof with features such as color separation plate previews for CMYK files, alignment and measurement of artwork elements, and more. Creating a seamless review and approval process for teams.