Week 1 Discussion – Color Palettes with Meaning

Learning Objectives Covered

  1. Identify basic cultural and emotional associations with specific color scheme usage


DiscOnePic.pngAs designers put together color pallets for a project or campaign, they use tools like Adobe Color where they can organize their color libraries and because it is cloud-based, it will make it a snap to bring chosen pallets into Adobe software’s swatch panels. It is also very easy to keep all of your swatches organized by client, job number or however you want to organize them because you can custom name each of your libraries. Imagine, setting up a color library for a client’s campaign and it doesn’t matter what program you need to use from the Adobe CC suite, those colors will always be at your fingertips to keep your campaign color theme consistent. No guess work or not finding where you wrote them down.

The world is full of inspiring color combinations. Think of the colors of fall, winter, spring or summer. With each new season comes a new palette, created by nature itself. These color combinations instantly bring feelings with them, something that professional graphic designers need to be keenly aware of as they practice their craft in the world. Consider the colors of fall – burnt oranges, rich dark browns, and deep reds. The colors of fall bring with them a feeling of longevity as if something has been present for quite some time. By contrast, the lively colors of spring (bright greens, yellows, and reds) suggest something vibrant and new. The darker fall colors might suggest stability having come with age, while the bright pop of spring colors suggests fresh and young. The nature of the client and project determine which colors to utilize on a project. It is time to learn to set our own color preferences to the side so that the project, not what we like or dislike, creates the palette.

Please watch this terrific video on the psychology of color to get you started on your research. Take notes on which colors suggest which emotions for use in completing your discussion for this week.

What The COLOUR Of Your Logo Says About Your Business (Links to an external site.)What The COLOUR Of Your Logo Says About Your Business

(6:05 min)


For this discussion, imagine that you are helping a client choose colors for a poster. The client is a theater group, and the poster is advertising plays for the upcoming fall season. The first play is a simplified, short version of The Wizard of Oz that will be performed during the day for children 4-12 years old. The second play is a holiday comedy based on How the Grinch Stole Christmas for the entire family. The third play is Dial M for Murder, a classic thriller mystery for adults. The theater director’s daughter loves painting and drawing and has come up with a palette of colors for each play. The theater director is so proud and happy about them and asks you what you think – Do they work? Do any of them need to change? If so, why?


For your post:

  • CHOOSE ONE of the plays/palettes defined above. If you are not familiar with any of the plays, you can do a search for them to find out what they are about.
  • Talk about the emotions suggested by the colors selected and whether or not they are in line with the play they represent.
  • Share at least one resource that helped you define your thoughts and opinions.

Tip: Don’t go for the obvious. Pushing and reaching into people’s emotions require a well thought out color scheme. For example, choosing red and green for the Grinch who stole Christmas, while it does say Christmas, doesn’t instill the mood of the storyline.

For your citation, you might use articles that describe the emotional or psychological effects of colors. You can also find articles from experts that suggest how one goes about creating a cohesive color palette for a project.