Worst Color Combinations
Graphic Design

Graphic Design Friday: 5 forbidden color combinations

Today’s “Graphic Design Friday” video is about color. PrintPlace.com‘s graphic designer, Chambley, has five color combinations you should avoid at all costs. She points out that there may be some exceptions, especially when it comes to holiday designs, but says they should still be handled carefully. For help using these traditional colors and more in your next web or print design (without hurting your eyesight) Chambley also gives a resource where you can find tips on good color combinations.

Watch the video, or if you shouldn’t be caught watching videos at work, read the transcription that follows.

What color combination do you think should never be allowed? Let us know in the comments below.

Video Transcription

Hey, this is Chambley again from PrintPlace.com, and I’m here to talk to you today about five color combinations you should never use.

First up is yellow on green. These colors are highly used in advertisements trying to grab someone’s attention.  Yes, very vibrant colors like yellow and green do stand out to the eye when held up against other color schemes, but once they have grabbed the viewer’s attention, these obnoxious neon colors tend to be highly unreadable. These colors, yellow and green, are too close in hue to be placed beside or on top of each other.

Second up is green on red. The favorite color scheme of the holidays, teachers, and the cereal box isle at the grocery store. Red on green works great for those homemade Christmas tree ornaments you plan on making this season, but not anything print or web related. Red on green text, or green on red text is just plain hard to read. The clashing of the colors causes the viewer’s eye to react negatively to what it sees. If you look closely, you can see that when placed side by side, red and green cause each other to almost “vibrate” in contrast, tiring the reader’s eye.

Third, we have purple on green, the infamous color scheme of Barney. When purple text is placed on a green background, it has a lot of the same effect on the eye as the color combination of red and green. While it might be shocking enough to catch the viewer’s attention, it fails in the readability department. I don’t recommend ever using the color combo for any print or web related graphics. You want to entice a viewer, make their eyes feel comfortable enough to continue reading further, make them trust what you are offering or saying in your ad.

Number four is red on black, a popular combo for vampire movies, or if you are wanting to go the gothic route. Red text on a black background is almost completely unreadable. Black is just too bold of a color for any other text color to compete with. To be honest, you should avoid all colored text on black backgrounds. Even white can be hard for a viewer’s eye to read sometimes.

Last but not least is blue on red. A shout out to the patriotic colors. While it’s okay for red and blue to take part in the American flag, it’s not okay for them to take part in print or web text. These two colors can majorly vibrate, causing readability to decrease. If you want to keep those patriotic colors in your print design, make sure that white is your main color, and accent it with red and blue. This will give the reader’s eye “breathing room” when reading your offer or info.

Stay away from those color combos and you should be alright.

For good color combinations ideas and inspiration, check out the blog Design-Seeds.com.  It has tons of beautiful palettes to get your creativity flowing.

Don’t forget to subscribe and stay-tuned here for more tips and tricks from PrintPlace.com.

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