Certain brands have associations with certain colours and this is due to semiotics.

However, in different cultures colour means different things. For example, In Western Culture the colour red means love and royal whereas in Eastern Cultures it stands for luck and fortune. Bearing this in mind, you have to do your research when creating a logo, especially if it’s going to be used internationally. You have to consider association worldwide as otherwise you could land yourself in hot water.

ROY GBIV is an acronym for the colours comprise the making of a rainbow: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo and violet.

Hue, saturation and lightness are the three musketeers of colour.

Hue is the colour itself, or the tone.

Saturation is the intensity of the colour. 100% saturation means there is no addition of grey and the colour is completely pure whereas 0% saturation appears very grey. The closer to 100% saturation the colour is, it’s appearance will be purer and brighter.

Lightness is how much white or black are in the colour mix. Adding white makes the colour lighter by creating tints whereas adding black makes the colour darker, creating shades.

CMYK is a subtractive colour model. Before anything you start with white and then print CMYK in order on top of one another. The print order will look like this; white > cyan > magenta > yellow > key. Black, or key, is the last to be printed as it is the heaviest colour and is also difficult to print over.

RGB is used for projection and is an additive colour model. An absence of light results in black, or darkness. Projection of 100% RGB results in white and, in turn, the more colour you project the lighter your colours will seem.

The Colour Wheel: 

Primary colours are red, blue and yellow.

Secondary colours are the hues you create when mixing primary colours.

Tertiary colours are combinations of primary and secondary colours.

Monochromatic colours are colours that are associated by close proximity on the colour wheel.

Screen Shot 2017-01-10 at 11.26.40.png

Clashing colours have no relationship on the colour wheel.

Complimentary colours are on opposing sides of the colour wheel with the same saturation.

Screen Shot 2017-01-10 at 11.30.22.png

Split complimentary colours, or triad,  are 3 colours that look harmonious when placed together, but can also colours you wouldn’t necessarily place together.

Screen Shot 2017-01-10 at 11.28.23.png

Neutral colours are tones from the same colour.


Interaction of colour

Neil wanted to see how what we associated with colour. He chose 8 particular colours and gave us 5 minutes to jot down any words we associated with said colours.


Feminine. Baby. Wednesday. Valentines day. Lust. Make up. Spring. Easter. In the Victorian era, pink and purple were expensive colours and in the house hold the youngest boy was the one who wore it. This changed in the war where colour became gender neutral, then it reversed and pink was a female colour. Again in the 70’s colour was neutral, but now pink is still called a ‘feminine’ colour.


Love. Anger. Rage. Patriotic. Health. Luck. Scottish. Blood. Pain. Labour. Communist. Left. Working class. Failure. L plates. Creative colour as it is known for help worldwide.


Naval. Royal. Patriotic. Cultural. Intelligence. Winter. Education. Conservative. Wealthy colour as the dye used to be expensive and only the rich tend to wear it; blue blood.


Shrek. Health. Nature. Sick. Wealth. Money. Luck. Irish. Eco-friendly.


Van Gogh. Happiness. Sun. Summer. Minions. Idea. Easter. Motherly. Colour. Spring. Daffodils. Lib Dem. Harshest colour to look at.


Age. Wealth. Industrial. Expensive. Mechanical. Tech. Futuristic. Professional.


Depressing. Final colour. The unknown. Funeral. Punk. Depth. Little Black Dress. screen-shot-2017-01-10-at-11-40-53

(White) Purity. Wedding. Insanity. Cleanliness. Heaven. Smooth. Power. Dove. Fashionable. In Eastern Cultures people wear white to funerals. If you have a lot of money you tend to drive white cars as a social sticker.

What did I learn from this session? Colour is subjective. Meaning changes along with society and those meanings are a social construct. You should always check the history of a colour, especially when it comes to branding as you don’t want to offend anybody nor give the wrong meaning, accidentally or purposefully.


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