Creating Colour in your Printing Project

It is ideal to know the basics of colour when creating your print project, especially when you are just starting a new design. There are a variety of approaches, but everyone begins by knowing a little about colour theory. We all know that some colours work well together and some that don’t. Selecting a colour palette that’s too bright may erase the message you want to communicate. Or, going for soft colours may communicate a more effective message to your audience. 

Colour in your printing blog

Choosing a Colour Scheme for your Printing Project: The Colour Wheel

Sir Isaac Newton created the chromatic wheel in 1666. Until now it is being used as a basis for basic colour. It is a perfect tool for choosing a colour model for your printing project. The wheel has 12 colours based on the primary colours. It is created to combine or compliment almost all colours you select. So, you can divide the wheel in various ways to create basic colour palettes. For instance:

  • Primary, secondary and tertiary colours: Primary colours are red, yellow, and blue. Secondary colours are green, orange, and purple. The other colours on the wheel are known as tertiary colours. They are created when primary and secondary colours are combined.
  • Warm/ cold colours: The colour wheel can also be split into warm and cold colours by halving. The warm colours are found between bright purple and green, the cooler colours are found on the opposite side. 
  • Shading: You can improve all the basic colours by adding white, grey, and black which creates a wide array of shades. If you want to develop colour ideas for any project, experimenting would be a great way. 

Techniques For Making Colour Models

After refreshing your knowledge of the basic colour theory, looking at some simple colour schemes is a great way to keep your imagination alive. There are many different variations, but here are some colour schemes that you can use as a reference in choosing a colour scheme for your printing project:

It’s free: These are colours that lie opposite each other on the colour wheel like red and green or blue and yellow. You can use complementary colours to make vibrant and bright patterns. Avoid using these colours together and for text.

Analog: These are colour schemes made by using colours that are side by side on the colour circle. Some examples are purple, red, and orange. This kind of colour scheme is often found in nature and can be very calming, even in printing.

Complementary split: This is a clever take on the complementary color palette. You can do this by using two colors next to one of the complementary colors. For example, instead of using green and red, try green, red, violet, and red-orange.

Printing colours

Establish A Mood when selecting Colour for your Printing

Using a simple colour scheme for your printing project is a great way to create an atmosphere. You can always use colours to your advantage whether you want to create a design that communicates a relaxed message or to stand out. So, here are a few examples:


This colour stimulates positive strength, courage, energy and masculinity, or it can represent negative traits like aggression and confusion. Red is a strong colour that can be seen from afar. Furthermore, it is a colour that inspires and catches the attention of people.


A colour that is very flexible and used to express different kinds of moods such as cold, calm, freshness, intelligence, and logic. Blue is a relaxing colour for the mind, and it is a light colour that is suitable for expressing a message. Lastly, it is a very popular colour in design and printing.


The colour green is one of the most calming colours. It stands for balance, peace, health, and vitality. Green is a very common colour found in nature since it is found at the center of the colour spectrum. It is a very light and balanced color that suits the eyes.


This is a versatile colour that has a mixture of red, orange, and yellow. It gives a variety of emotions and moods such as passion and warmth. Additionally, these colours remind us of food (pumpkin), holidays (Halloween), and seasons (Autumn).

Tools for Colour in Printing

If you are having problems selecting the right colour combination for your printing project, you can try one from the many computer programs or templates found on the internet. These programs are created to make colour scheme selection easier. For example, ColorExplorer and Adobe Color CC make it simpler and it develops your design preferences. While you are designing and printing for your clients, you can also use a program to make excellent colour schemes and templates.

A lot of printers use the CMYK process (cyan, magenta, yellow, black), which allows them to create an almost unlimited number of colours with shades using only these four basic colours. To make sure that the colours you choose for your print project appear correctly, it is a great idea to use a Pantone colour bridge guide.

If you need help learning more about colours or applying them to your print, don’t hesitate to contact Barney’s Printing.