Communicating with Color

Color pointers from Leatrice Eiseman's Guide to Communicating with Color:

  • When two variations of the same color, one light and one dark, are printed next to each other, the lighter shade will seem lighter, and the darker shade will appear to be darker.

  • Large color areas influence smaller color masses. If a small square of medium gray is surrounded by a larger area in black, the gray square will appear brighter than the same square surrounded by white.

  • The human mind connects red with excitement and high energy.

  • A flat rectangular shape can be made to look convex or concave by moving color from gradations of light to dark and back again.

  • The eye perceives warm colors before cool colors. Warm colors seem to advance, and cool colors to recede.

  • Orange is seen as the hottest of all colors.

  • The best background for color-matching purposes is a neutral gray.

  • Yellow is identified with imagination and enlightenment.

  • People are up to 78% more likely to remember a word or phrase printed in color, as opposed to material printed in black.

  • Brown is often used in cost-conscious periods because people associate it with down-to-earth durability.

  • Color and other visual elements activate the right side of the brain, while printed words activate the left side. People show high recall, recognition, and attention when both sides are stimulated.

  • Blue colors inspire confidence because people see them as reliable, trustworthy, dependable, and committed – “true blue.”

  • Though they may weigh exactly the same, pastel shades are seen as lighter in weight than dark colors.

  • People older than age 65 evidence “the Ginger-ale effect” – a yellowing of the lens of the eye that make it difficult for older people to discern differences in cool colors.

  • Repeating a color too many times can distract or dilute reader attention.

  • Outlining a color in black or a darker shade will lend clarity and richness to the enclosed color.

  • Outlining a color area in white or other light colors tends to cause the color area to spread to adjacent colors and diminishes the strength of the enclosed color.

  • In recent years, attitudes toward black have changed more than feelings about any other color, with positive associations outweighing negatives.

  • Colors used out of a familiar context command attention.

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