May 26, 2021

Visual Storytelling

Communicate with colors

If you were a color,… what color would you be? A color reveals much more than you think.
That’s why the use of color in your drawings will strongly determine how your message will be perceived.
When your audience looks at your drawing, the first thing they see and feel will be pretty much guided by the colors you are using.
And this is subconsciously happening in the brain, even before they start reading or analyzing your content.

So, I am happy to share 3 tips about the use of color in visual communication that you can start applying today:

  1. Be aware of the cultural and emotional connotations people have with colors.
    If you see Bright Blue and Yellow, what brand pops into your mind?... Ikea, right?
    Or when you see the color Red, what do you think of? Blood? Or rather love and passion?
    Be aware of the deeper meaning of certain colors and how they can be perceived by your audience, especially in relation to their culture, belief, other brands, etc.…
    I think the following (real-life) anecdote illustrates it very well.
    One day, I was working for an organization in Abu Dhabi, and I was using a lot of Red, my favorite color, which - to me - represents ‘Passion’. Until someone came up to me and asked to stop using red. Because for her, it represented violence and power.

      2. Don’t use too many different colors.
        Our brain is always looking for patterns in data.
        Colors can help to find these patterns and see connections.
        When you use many different colors, it’s way more difficult to bring structure and show ‘the thread’ of the story.

      3. Combine warm and cold colors.
        Warm colors (such as orange, yellow, and red) typically draw attention, especially when they are combined with cold colors (blue, violet, green).
        If you use only warm colors, your drawing will come across as garish or flashy.
        If you only use cold colors, it might feel muted.
        Combining warm and cold colors brings a certain balance into your drawing.

Choose colors consciously

Last but not least, we will give you a bit of insight into the most common associations people make with colors, so you can choose the appropriate color to bring across your story:

  • Green: hope, growth, nature
  • Blue: security, trust, calmness
  • Yellow: Happiness, energy, brightness
  • Orange: fun, adventure, action
  • Red: attraction, power, excitement
  • Violet: imagination, luxury, royalty, and in some cultures also grief, hope.
  • Black: power, strength, sophistication, and at the same time anger or sadness
  • White: cleanliness, goodness, innocence. White also brings lightness. A good balance of blank space in your drawing brings focus.



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