Colordance Design


Shape and Form




ColorDance Design

Color Communicates Emotional Meaning

Imagine a mighty oak tree with white leaves. White is the color of purity, airiness, and silence. This pale color is inconsistent with the identity of a strong oak tree. Instead of dark green foliage—the color of nature, prestige, and security—white leaves appear odd and out of place. The unusual color creates a confusing visual impression. One wonders if there is something wrong with the tree? Yet, depending on the project, this color incongruity be effective, such as a campaign to bring attention to global warming.

Everyone knows a primary color scheme for a children's playground means it is a destination for children to have fun. Earth tones of green and brown don't communicate the same playful mood. Yet, brown and green repeat nature's palette and often blend with the background scenery. These colors also reflect an emotional tone of safety, stability, trust, endurance, which appeals to parents and adults.

Color conveys emotional and symbolic meaning which can be used to reinforce your marketing message.

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A brilliant red leaf lying on the ground catches your attention. You pick it up, savoring its brilliance. This is no surprise. As a rich warm color red demands attention and action. It advertises autumn's presence with its breathtaking transformation from green to red . Within days, the once green woods display a brilliant spectrum. We observe a seasonal miracle unfold and remember Camu's words, "Autumn becomes a second spring when every leaf is a flower."

In the design world, color is the most powerful tool. It communicates an immediate mood and tone and delivers a psychological impact faster than the seconds it takes to read one word. The effective use of color assists consumers to perceive a congruent, clear impression of a business identity and marketing message.

You can refer to color harmony books which teach the science of color based on the color wheel and color research. They help identify the emotional meaning colors express. These books present categorized color schemes which capture a specific tone, mood or style.

Color can be understood as categories of warm or cool, and bright or pale. Warm colors contain red and yellow. They energize and stimulate you. Cool colors are blue and green hues which relax and soothe. Bright colors are any pigments that contain no grey or black and flag your attention. Pale colors are pastel hues that are soft and gentle in their tone.

Colors can also vary in terms of their tint or shade. A color tint is any hue with varying amounts of white added. A color shade is one color with less or more amounts of grey or black added. Referring to the color wheel, the more common color categories are:

Monochromatic: One color and the addition of one or more of its tints and shades, such as dark green, olive, and lime green.

Analogous: Three colors (and their tints or shades,) adjacent to each other on the color wheel such as pink, rose, and orange.

Complementary: Exact opposite colors on the color wheel. Purple will look more purple next to its complement of yellow, while yellow will look more yellow next to purple. Thus complementary colors strengthen each other.

Grey scale: Uses only black, white, and various increments of grey with no color.

Neutral: A color that has been quieted by it's complement or black.

Primary: Pure pigments of red, blue, or green.


You see glistening light shining at daybreak upon a river. It contrasts with the emerging shadows upon the same water at dusk. The once irredescent blue water is now murky dark grey.

The degree of light or darkness you notice in the river relates to its value. Thus, every color can have different values, similar to grey tones.


You touch texture everyday. You observe its varied qualities—rough to smooth, sharp to soft, and bumpy to flat. You see a drawing of an acorn. It appears polished and smooth given the artist's fine pencil lines and shading. An actual photograph of the acorn appears the same. Both describe its texture.

Creative use of texture further extends and communicates your business's identity. Its clever use connects your marketing message with your target audience and the culture in which it thrives. Organic design styles often borrow brown paper, corrugated cardboard, and plant textures. Youth oriented products adopt jean fabric texture to reach a teen audience.

Paper adds texture and tone to your advertising print collateral —whether whimsical, elegant, friendly, environmental, or professional. It is a welcome ingredient to your authentic identity. It helps you to stand out in the forest.

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