Designer Lingo 101: Color

In my opinion, color is the most fun and exciting part of a design! You might know all the colors of the rainbow, but when it comes to designing for print and for web, there are a few more terms that come in handy to get the exact color you're looking for.


rgb

Red, green, and blue. These are the colors that are used to create all web and digital colors. It's the color profile/setting you'll want to select for any design made with the intention of publishing online, on mobile, or for video.

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cmyk

Cyan, magenta, yellow, and black (K). These are the colors that printers use to create all printable colors. It's the color profile/setting you'll want to select for any design made with the intention of printing.

CMYK.png

hue

Refers to a color on the traditional rainbow spectrum and how we identify it, regardless of its saturation or brightness. For instance, we identify both lavender and plum colors as purple, and both blush and burgundy colors as red.

Hue.png

saturation

The intensity of the color. High saturation colors are bold and vibrant. Low saturation colors are soft and pastel.

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brightness

The light or darkness of a color. 

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Color-contrast

In terms of color, a noticeable difference in lightness/brightness and saturation/darkness between two colors. High color contrast increases readability and accessibility.

Color Contrast.png

Color-tension

Pairing two or more colors with similar saturation levels creates color-tension and makes readability difficult. Using high saturation clashing colors will also create color tension.

Color Tension.png

monochromatic

A palette using only one color or hue, regardless of brightness or saturation.

 


Coming up next week: Designer Lingo 101 - Print