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There is one thing that makes a Halloween design stand out from all of the other holiday designs. That is color. Halloween banners almost always have the colors black and orange. That makes sense. Those are the holiday colors. But I have always wondered who picked them out and why? Why do those colors work so well together?
After much thought, I have a theory. I imagine that the color orange comes from the jack-o-lanterns that are a staple of any serious halloween decorator and black obviously represents night, when all of the monsters come out to roam the earth.
But, why do they work so well together?
In this case the answer is the high contrast the colors produce, not to mention all of the symbolism that is associated with the colors. But you get the idea of where we are going with this.
What are contrasting colors?
On a color wheel, contrasting colors are colors that are directly opposite each other. They can also be commonly referred to as complementary colors. When they are used in design, they produce highly visible results, however you should be careful. Some combinations when used on top of each other can some times produce visual vibration. When this happens, the colors will look as though they are vibrating and moving. This is a cool effect when you are creating an optical illusion, however when working with banners and signs, it is something you want to avoid.
Take a look at the two designs above. Both use colors with high contrast, however because there is no separation between the colors, clash and fight for dominance in the design and are hard to look at for an extended amount of time.
We have mentioned before that one of the keys to a highly visible design is high contrast so how can you do that with out hurting your eyes? The key is to find colors that have decent contrast but are not directly opposite each other on the color wheel. That way they will help each other stand out without competing. They will enhance your message and help your design have the most impact. There are as many color combinations as there are colors out there and simple experimentation will allow you to find the best ones for your design.
Next time, we'll talk about the difference between RGB and CMYK. We may also discuss the meanings and symbolism behind some colors.
Till Next time...