COLOR & NATURE: Discover the Power of Color
Updated: Jul 29
Ever had those days when you were stuck on determining what the right color or color combination to use for a particular project is? Whether that project was for fashion design, interior design, printed pieces, logos or signage. It probably happens more than we care to admit and when I find myself stuck, I go back to the basics, my time in elementary school.
Back in a time that the most stressful thing to worry about was how long will my fresh new box of 8 colors of Crayola Crayons last before they're broken or lost. From the day my mom purchased our school supplies, one being the crayons, I couldn’t wait for school to start so I could begin creating a new masterpiece with my new box of 8. Yes, just 8 simple colors. Oh the stresses in the world of the youth. I had no idea at that time how those simple 8 colors affected emotions and the stories they would tell without ever writing one single word. Colors are powerful. They can make us feel happy, excited, optimistic, calm, strong, elegant, bold, friendly, spontaneous and many other emotions. Knowing what these colors represent to us is only the beginning in creating harmonious, cohesive designs. As designers, we all know the fundamentals of color psychology. The difference between warm and cool colors, what colors bring energy and happiness, calm and soothing and colors for serious topics. So how do we get past the basics when we find ourselves stuck and need that extra boost of inspiration? Take a step outside, look around at your surroundings or think of the environments that you have experienced in the past.
Finding that Inspiration
For example, imagine sitting on a beach in the Caribbean on a bright, sunny day. What do you see and feel? Do you smell the salt air and hear the crashing of the waves on the beach?
The chirping of the seagulls above? Do you see a brilliant blue sky, bright yellow sun, beautiful aqua and turquoise water and pure white beach? What is your emotion? A feeling of calmness, restfulness, serenity, and simplicity? And why, because blue has the emotion of relaxation, security and trust. Yellow makes you feel happy and optimistic. Aqua and turquoise have green undertones which makes you feel refreshed and relaxed. White signifies purity and simplicity. This is the perfect color combination if the message is to convey trust, peace and balance.
Let’s look at the opposite color of the spectrum, the season of fall. Envision yourself hiking in the woods or camping by a lake. What do you see and feel? You smell the crispness in the air and wood burning in the fire pit, squirrels clamoring for nuts to store for the winter, the crunch of the leaves as you walk on them. What do you see? Rich, vibrant, deep yellow, orange and red leaves. Brown trees, less green grass. What is your emotion? A sense of warmth, coziness, earthiness and even excitement. And why, deep yellows and orange give an emotion of energy, optimism, inviting and friendly. Red is one of the most powerful colors in the spectrum and is the warmest of the colors. It embraces passion, love and energy. Browns give you a sense of being grounded or connected to the earth. It can create warmth as well as being dependable and friendly too. This color combination expresses warmth, stability and passion. What happens when the cool colors from the beach and the warm colors from the woods are combined? You get SPRING. In this scenario, the cool colors are softened with adding white, and warm colors are enhanced by adding gray. Just by changing the hues of these opposite colors, they now coexist in harmony and not in competition of each other. Now ponder that you are strolling through the garden. What do you see and feel? You’re surrounded by a field of blooming flowers and trees, green grasses, the buzzing of bees searching for nectar in early April. What is your emotion? Is it rebirth, energy, excitement, freshness, happiness and nature? Again, why? Green, as mentioned in the beach scenario, reflects the emotion of relaxation, freshness, and illustrates new beginnings. Bright colors like yellows, oranges, reds but on the richer, brighter side gives the emotions of passion, energy, vitality, hope and cheerfulness. The violet colors evoke creativity, soothing and calmness. This color combination conveys creativity, balance, freshness, and hope.
The Master of Color
So when you’re stuck with finding just the right colors for your design project and providing a powerful message, dust off the box of old crayons, step outside and take a look at nature and see it for all of the beauty it has to offer. For nature is the true masters of color harmony! My Passion for Color & Design For me, colors express my emotions and thoughts so much more than spoken or written words and is a vital tool in my creativity. So, if you are still finding difficulty in pairing colors, please contact me for a free consultation and an example sheet for inspiration, email@example.com. Creating in color, Lisa