By Ashley Borecky
Color affects people more than you might think. Perfectly paired color combos can perk up your sales and create lively displays. With just a basic understanding of color theory and a little background of color psychology, you’ll be on your way to a better looking store.
Most people know that there are warm colors and cool colors. But what some people forget is that there are more pairing options than just sticking to a simple warm palette or cool palette. Let’s start with the basics.
You have three primary colors – Red, Yellow, and Blue. These colors cannot be made by combining any other colors. They are your foundation. All secondary colors are made using a combination of these three primary colors. Your secondary colors are Purple, Orange, and Green. To expand your color palette even more you have tertiary colors. You get a tertiary by mixing one secondary and one primary color creating colors like Teal, Coral, Chartereuse. Don’t forget your wonderful neutrals – White, Black, Gray, and Brown. Black is technically the absence of color and white is the combination of all colors. But for the sake of material objects you get gray by combining white and black and brown is made by combining all of the primary colors.
Now when combining all said colors there is a method. There are color schemes that make combining colors a breeze. You have compliments, Analogous, triadic, split-compliment, tetradic, and square. Scary names but beautiful color combinations. If you’re not great with remembering colors, go ahead and pick yourself up a color wheel, or even print one online.
Complimentary Colors are the colors opposite each other on the color wheel, for example orange and blue. They provide high contrast and really demand attention. While this combo really makes the colors pop, use it in small doses. You want your displays to get customers attention but not scare them away with a painful to look at color combo. The split compliment color scheme is also very vibrant but less of an attack on your eye. You take one color and choose the two colors on either side of the first colors compliment. So for example you take green and use purple and orange as support. Another vibrant color combination is the triadic color scheme. If you were to put an imaginary triangle on your color wheel, the points of the triangle would be the colors you would use. For example, purple, orange, and green. This combination can be very powerful so try to choose one color to dominate and use the other two as accents.
Something a lot softer on the eye is the analogous color scheme. These are any three colors right next to each other on the color wheel. What you end up with is a beautiful range of reds, oranges, and yellows for example. These are your basic color combinations.
The last two color schemes are what I consider to be more sophisticated – The tetradic and square color scheme. The tetradic draws an invisible rectangle over your color wheel using the colors at its points. For example red, orange, blue, and green. The square is used in the same way using an invisible square for combinations like red, blue-violet, yellow-orange, and green.
No matter what combination you decide to use keep in mind that they work best when one color becomes the star and the other colors support or accent the dominant color. Don’t be afraid to use different shades and hues of colors as well. Trial and error is the best way to see what feels best in your store with your products.
Once you’ve got your combinations memorized and you have a good idea of the color wheel, you need to think about what you’re saying with the colors you choose. There is a psychology of color and it’s amazing how colors mean different things. Check out this link to find out what colors mean and how they can benefit store displays!
Now if all of this is confusing, I have a great resource for you. http://colorschemedesigner.com/
Color Scheme Designer is a great tool. You click on which scheme you want, you pick a dominant color and it instantly comes up with various supporting color options for you.
So when you are putting together your displays that aren’t holiday focused, take a deeper look into how you’re arranging the color of your products or even your store as a whole. Color can be that extra boost that your store needs to make this year a success!