Four Gorgeous Color Schemes for Your Next Design

Imagine a world without color.

It’s nearly impossible to visualize. Color lights our days and alters our moods. As the first thing you notice and the last thing you forget, color is a visual cue that engages our eye and connects us with the things we love.

When you want to add zest to your next design, taking a spin on the color wheel can bring inspiration to kickstart a new concept. Here are four ways to combine color in attractive, appealing ways.


Monochromatic color schemes use only one color in varying tints, tones, and shades.


This scheme emphasizes a very specific color family (think blush, rose, fire engine red, and maroon), making it very effective for capturing the psychological impact of one hue. Monochromatic schemes can be dramatic in special settings, such as costuming a stage or making a design seem more spacious.

Monochrome color schemes have a calming effect, exuding a clean, timeless, elegant appearance.


Because of their proximity on the color wheel, neighboring (or analogous) hues please the eye and bring harmony to the mix.

To use analogous colors, choose a primary, secondary, and tertiary combination from the same quarter of the color wheel. Or add flair by reaching just a bit outside of the compact triad and grabbing another adjoining color to bring contrast and intensity.


Complementary colors are hues that lie directly across the color wheel from each other, and these colors complete each other in a visually satisfying way (like a lime green leaf on a ruby red strawberry).


Coupled complementary colors exhibit natural balances, like warm and cool, neutral and dynamic, or calm and bold. When these colors are placed together, they appear more intense, sophisticated, or vibrant.


A scheme of triads uses three equidistant hues on the wheel.

Try primary combos (such as red, blue, and yellow) or secondary tones (orange, green, and purple) to create an arresting focal point in your design. Lighten or gray triad tones to create graceful or unusual combinations like fuchsia, terra cotta, and deep lichen green.




Tetrads utilize four equidistant hues from the color wheel (or two sets of complementary colors) to produce an exceptional result.

In brighter versions, a lively paisley teardrop might take shape. In more subtle variations, a pastel floral quilt or a rich jewel-toned poster can bring motion and depth.

Color Outside the Lines

Color is an absolute powerhouse for print marketing, so don’t rush past the color selection process!

Climb out of your comfort zone and color outside the lines as you play with the possibilities.



The Complete Color Harmony, Pantone Edition: Expert Color Information for Professional Results

by Leatrice Eiseman

The Complete Color Harmony: Pantone Edition is the latest in Rockport Publishers' best-selling Color series. This edition has been completely revised from start to finish, and now features new text by Leatrice Eiseman, executive director of the Pantone Color Institute. And the color "moods" that she writes about in each chapter are based and matched with Pantone colors. The book expands on previous editions for the most comprehensive color reference to date.

This edition includes information on creating special effects, as well as an entirely new section devoted to the psychology of color. Eiseman helps readers determine their best color choices and suggests why some colors may inspire their creativity while others don't. The book includes new color palette sections along with expanded and updated color trends.