A little while back in another mini series on how to brand your brand we’ve been talking about the ‘psychology of colours‘. Not only do the aesthetics matter but also the feeling or the colour association play a part in the design. When you create a new design, what probably took a while to make, you might as well go the extra mile and choose a custom colour edge paint. You can choose a complementary colour or contrast like I have shown in the previous posts (post 1 & post 2). But when you can’t buy that exact colour in the shop you probably will have to start mixing colours by yourself. Which colours do you need and which options are there? The answers to those questions and much more will be discussed today!
Even though it might be a little repetition, it is good to start at the beginning before we continue. First of all, what is a colour? A colour is fundamentally the visual perception of the brain of a nerve signal generated by the photoreceptors of the retina to a reflected electromagnetic radiation of a certain wavelength and intensity of the visible light ‘spectrum’. Each of these wavelengths has been named and do we know as, red, blue, yellow etc..
The three colours mentioned above are known as the primary colours. Many scientists have written about colours and the colour spectrum. Though Isac Newton was the alleged first to describe the ‘colour wheel’. This wheel shows how those three primary colours mix together and result in the secondary colours, purple, orange and green. Later on, tertiary colours were developed by continuing mixing the colours in different ratios. Goethe described, with the colour wheel in mind, what opposite colours will do psychologically:
“…for the colours diametrically opposed to each other are those that reciprocally evoke each other in the eye.” — Goethe, Theory of Colours
These colours will create an even bigger contrast to each other compared to other colours. With the addition of black and white, both aren’t in the basic colour wheel, it is also possible to create even more colours, with different shades and tints of the original colour.
Basic steps of mixing colours
- Find the right basic colour of the primary and secondary colours: Red, blue, yellow, purple, orange and green.
- Find the right tone in the colour wheel: primary, secondary or even tertiary.
- Create the tone by first mixing the primary colours and next to these secondary colours until you have created the right tone. Mix it with black and/or white to achieve the proper shade or tint.
- Note the colours combination!!! The ratio of the primary colours will eventually determine the final colour. In case you just love that specific colour you should definite make a note of its ratio!
With this information and the primairy colours, black and white, you should be able to create your own colour chart! Just try every combination but make sure you keep your notes. When you are satisfied you can reproduce it anytime you like! Good luck, and a little tip: do make enough for one project! I’ve learned it the hard way and let’s say this way, it is difficult to reproduce the EXACT same colour twice without any ratio written down.