Research: Use of Colour

3 Easy Ways to Pick Great Color Schemes For Your Infographics

#1 Most common mistake with colors: Adding too many colors Solution: Use more shades instead.

Color schemes influence comprehension

[This is part of the Infographic Design Series. Check out the other posts!]Is this bruise on my arm bluish black or blackish blue, if an orange is orange in color what color is a carrot? There is a large spectrum (pun intended) of uncertainty and subjectivity when it comes to using colors for art and design. This post seeks to provide some order to that chaos and some structure to guide you in picking colors and creating color schemes for your work.

Subjective as it may be, we can agree that colors affect our moods, perceptions and adds context to our content. There’s also tons of psychological research to back this claim. Hence, selecting the right color scheme will potentially enhance the effectiveness of the message that you want to get across. Remember though, like all things beautiful there’s a thin line between having an array of colors that would be a sight for sore eyes and using too many colours that would actually give someone sore eyes. As you go along we’ll help you  with some neat tips and tricks and best practices to achieve the former rather than the latter.

Here are a few things you need to keep in mind before we move on to the nitty gritty details.

  1. Stick to 2 main colors, and do not use more than 4 colours. A little goes a long way.
  2. Pick only 1 or 2 main colors (clear and bold), while the rest should be complementary colors (subtle and warm).
  3. When you’re tempted to add more colors,don’t give in- use more shades instead.
  4. Provide ample white space for the eyes to stay relaxed.

 

1. Follow your company branding

If you are creating work-related material, one of the best and safest ways to choose a color scheme is to follow the color of the company’s brand guidelines. For some, this may not even be a matter of choice! Use it as the primary color to hunt for complementing colors to match.

Choose color scheme by logo

Image credits: Left: redpepper | Right: Coca – Cola Infographic by Nelly Soegianto on Behance

The examples above use colors of their company branding guidelines as the main color.

  • Oreo Blue, the brand color complemented by the product color makes a clean and clear infographic.
  • An infographic themed with Coca-cola Red as the leading color in different shades with complementing colors.

Selecting complementing colors

For this, you will need an easy-to-use generator. There are many online tools you can use to generate theme colors. I personally prefer Coolors. It is a free, quick and easy color scheme generator—you just need to lock-in your company color and leave the rest to Coolors to match for you. You can also go for your own preferred tool.

Selecting shades

If you are unsure which scheme to choose, you can work with shades. You can try ColorSchemer Online. Play with the “Lighten Scheme” and “Darken Scheme” and pick a few codes in different shades and jot it down.

Color schemes by company logo

Choosing colors this way works best when used for branding infographics. Using your company color will furtherstrengthen your brand awareness.

 

2. Let your content decide

You can also use the subject to determine the best color to use for your infographic. For instance, if your infographic is about coffee you can use shades of coffee and its complimenting colors. Or you can select colors based on the objects in the infographic and make it more meaningful, like the following. The color scheme used based on the objects of the infographic makes the information very easy to consume.

Color scheme by content
Image credit: Webdesign.org For this method, you can grab any preset color schemes off the Net. There are many available color sets online, for instance,

For this method, you can grab any preset color schemes off the Net. There are many available color sets online, for instance, Adobe Color CC (previously known as Adobe Kuler). It is an online color generator tool that comes with user preset themes. I pick this tool because they have a good amount of color sets providing me with ample choices. Once again, you can always pick from your own preferred site.

Color scheme by content

Colors instantly highlight the context and facilitate visual perception. So, selecting color scheme to match your content is like giving more context to your content.

 

3. Draw inspiration from the natural world

One other way to select color schemes is to just draw inspiration from what is natural e.g. the colors of the seasons (or trees, sea, sky etc) because simply, you can’t go wrong with nature. Here’s a list of colors by seasons to help you get inspired. You can pick one or two main colors then use Coolors to help you with the rest. Or you can play around with the shades and tints. Remember, do not exceed four colors. If you want to use more colors, play with the shades.

Autumn
Color Scheme by season - Autumn
Winter
Color Scheme by season - Winter
Spring
Color Scheme by season - Spring
Summer
Color Scheme by season - Summer
You don’t have to limit yourself with mere four seasons. There are colors of the holidays and festive seasons for you to choose from too. Here are more colors of the seasons to get you inspired.
Color Scheme by holidays and festive season

Color scheme by seasons

This method works best when used for infographics for seasonal marketing purpose or season themed subject. Holidays and festive seasons are always associated with colors and mood. By applying the colors that are usually associated with these seasons, the message is easier to comprehend, making your work more effective.

How to apply colors in Piktochart?

Now, with your color codes, you can apply the colors on your background, text, icons and shapes in Piktochart accordingly. To apply the background color, you will select Background on the panel on the left as shown below.
Color scheme - Pikto background color picker
For objects like text, icons, and shapes, you will select the object and pick a color from the color picker on the toolbar as indicated below. You can also apply the Hex code you have chosen previously.
Color scheme - Pikto object color picker

4. Too much fuss? Try Pikto Templates.

If you prefer not to mess with colors, you can always use our handy preset templates. The colors are carefully picked and match by our team of designers just for you. You will notice that they follow our best practice in terms of 2-4 main colors, using shades/hues and using a lot of white space. The following are examples of Piktochart templates ready for use.
Color scheme - Pikto templates preset colors

Key takeaways.

 

Pick color schemes for your infographic using these 3 easy ways:

  1. Follow the color(s) of your company logo: for branding infographics
  2. Let your content decide the colors: for content marketing infographics
  3. Go with the colors of the four seasons or festive seasons: for seasonal marketing infographics

I have learnt much from the above information in regards to the use of colour in infographics which is crucial for me to creating one that people want to actually read. Initially, I was thinking about using a rainbow of bright colours for the wheel segment of my image however, from what I have learnt I came to the understanding that it is much more me to stick to just three different key colours and also tone down the brightness of them. Also because of what the above information states about visual balance in images, this has influenced me to ensure that the rest of the image is composed from shades alone as to not make the image too ‘busy’ or garish. This will most likely include a dull grey background, white in between the colours to help separate them a little and similar shades used for all other aspects of the infographic.

References:

See Mei Chow. (2015). 3 Easy Ways to Pick Great Color Schemes For Your Infographics. Piktochart. Retrieved from: http://piktochart.com/pick-great-color-schemes-your-infographics/

 

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