What is Colour Harmony?
Colour Harmony is the arrangement of colours that engage the eye to create a pleasing and balanced visual experience. You need Colour Harmony for your palette to be effective. To achieve it you need the correct formulas, so let's go over three basic formulas that you can use while creating your palette.
Colour Harmony formulas
Analogous – Based on two or more colours that sit side-by-side on the colour wheel. These colours match well together and create a comfortable palette. Ensure enough contrast between the shades of your palette.
Insurance Jack uses a few different blue colours that mingle nicely together. There is a clear hierarchy and the mood is calm. They even took the palette a step further and made sure their imagery contained blue, which enhances the palette even more. Notice how the colours provide a nice contrast so information is always legible.
Monochromatic – This harmony focuses on using varying tints, tones and shades of the same colour family. It’s typically the easiest and safest to use. You can very rarely go wrong when implementing this colour scheme.
Netlife Research makes great use of green shades to create a bold, fresh and high contrast colour palette. I like to think Monochromatic is like doubling down on a specific colour. Netlife went all in on green and the results are stunning.
Complementary – To be complementary means you have two or more colors opposite of each other on the colour wheel. This colour scheme is the middle ground between monochromatic and analogous. It gives you more visual variety and isn’t as hard to implement.
Magnium’s use of complementary colours is unique and eye-catching. The cool temperature of blue is contrasted by the warmth of the yellow and orange to create a well-balanced colour palette that feels fresh and welcoming.
Which colours represent what personality?
Colours in general have common personality expectations attached to them. Companies are able to align themselves with colours because they represent certain personality traits that match those of the company.
Colours around the world
Did you know that in Belgium blue is a colour used for baby girls while pink is used for baby boys? While in the USA it’s the opposite. Knowing which colours mean what in different parts of the world can be very useful so you don't offend or target the wrong audience. If you are designing in or for different countries please take a look at this handy colour chart showing what colours mean in different areas of the world.
Legibility in colour palettes
Sometimes colours that look fantastic and read well at large sizes disappear and become illegible at small sizes. Make sure to test your palette on different size shapes and text to double check it’ll work at all sizes. The last thing you want is to choose an amazing looking palette which fails at different sizes.
What tool can I use to find colour harmony?
There are quite a few colour picker tools out there and you’ll find a list at the bottom of this article. Having said that, there is one that sticks out as a go to tool for me: Adobe Color CC.
You can simply pick your desired colour harmony formula (or what Adobe calls Colour Rule) and play around with the colour wheel until you get to your desired palette. Super simple to pick up and super quick! Take it for a spin!
Colour is crucial to your branding. It’s one of the first things people notice when they look at your product so having a pleasing palette will help entice them to spend a little more time with you. Take it one step at a time and bear in mind the personality you’re trying to portray through your branding