Join Jim Krause for an in-depth discussion in this video Simple but powerful ways of using color, part of Color for Design and Art.
- This course talks about coming up with active color schemes that have anywhere from, you know, three to a dozen or more colors in them. Now here, I want to pull back a little bit, and remind us that yes, there are also really powerful, eye-catching and thematically charged ways of using just one color within a layout or an illustration or one color plus black. So let's talk about it, and I'll use a fictional ice cream company's branding to demonstrate some points. It just so happens that my imaginary ice creamery specializes in strawberry sherbet.
So I'll be working with a bright strawberry spot color. PMS 177 to demonstrate how this one color or, you know, this color with or without black, could be used to powerfully promote the company through its business card, its packaging and a promotional poster. For starters, let's work on the company's business card, and since we're going to limit ourselves to just one color of ink while aiming for a powerful and passionate presentation, let's not mess around with how we use our spot color.
Let's get real, and flood this thing with our vibrant strawberry sherbet Pantone ink. Front and back. And we'll reverse the company's logo on text so they appear on white, and also a decorative pattern on the back. There, I'd say that is a lot of visual bang for the buck, considering that this card has been printed on ordinary white stock with just one color of ink. Let's deal with the ice cream container in similar terms. We'll use our PMS 177 and black ink.
One PMS color plus black, it's a really common plan for design projects of all kinds, especially when quantities are high and budgets are low. And again, since I'm aiming for some real visual pizzazz here, I'm not going to mess around with a flavorless white background for this thing. I'm going to go big and bright, and I'll both reverse to white, and add black to bring some real punch and variety to this design. I like this. I think this is a packaging solution that would stand out really well, you know, in even the most crowded convenient store freezer.
Next, let's expand the conversation to include lighter shades of both black and our spot color, and why not? If you were designing a poster, for example, and it was going to be printed using a spot color and black ink, you could always break down your inks into various halftone percentages. Here are four completely different poster designs. Each made using just two colors of ink along with lighter tints of each. Looking at these, it's pretty easy to forget that this is a just two-color job.
And here's our full package of promotional items including the poster that was designed with two colors of ink plus halftone percentages of each color, a packaging design that included only full-strength versions of each color, and a business card that was printed with just one color of ink on white paper. In spite of the simplicity of the color schemes that were used here, none of these designs suffer for lack of visual power, and yes, it does help to have a vibrant color like our strawberry sherbet Pantone color at your disposal, when working with just one color of ink or one color plus black.
But even when you're assigned to use a less extroverted color, just know that being restricted to a single color of ink with or without black, it doesn't have to be seen as a restriction. Just sit down, and work with your color, and see what you can do. You might not only surprise yourself with the solutions that you come up with, you might also impress your client with your creativity and your resourcefulness.
Primarily aimed at designers and illustrators, the course leans heavily toward digital tools such as Photoshop and Illustrator, but concludes with some challenges using real-world media (inks and paints!), so members can get a solid understanding of mixing colors and what tools and combinations work best.
- Navigating the color wheel and color vocabulary
- Why a color's value is so important
- RGB vs. CMYK vs. spot
- Finding the perfect color
- Working with grays and browns
- Building a color palette
- Borrowing hues for palettes
- Establishing color hierarchies
- Fixing color problems
- Altering color in photos and illustrations
- Using texture with color
- Painting for learning and fun