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  • Nick Kreticos

Colors. Can you really mess-up?

Yes, the answer is yes. You can.


As a designer, one question I get asked repeatedly is how do I choose colors. This can be the trickiest part of designing, as it truly makes or breaks whatever it is you are creating. I generally stick to a few rules, which result in perfectly color balanced designs.


1)Colors in general;

If you are unfamiliar with colors, a great rule of thumb is to study a color wheel. We all perceive colors differently, which means that you may think the colors you choose look great together, but others may disagree. By staying within the combinations of a color wheel, it's hard to mess up. If you are designing for yourself, feel free to use whatever colors you think look nice together.




2) Seasonal Colors;

If you are designing seasonal pieces, or staging for a certain time of year, using seasonally based colors is a great idea. Pastels= Spring, Reds & Pinks = Summer, Orange & Yellow = Autumn, Icy Blue & White = Winter , etc.

By going with classic combos, you immediately resonate with a large amount of potential buyers. Feel free to add a couple designs using unusual colors for the season, but always stick with the basics for the majority of your designs. You truly cannot go wrong!






3) Year-Round Colors.

Ever think about why it's easier to sell a home by having neutral colors? By doing the same with Year- Round Designs it appeals to a larger audience, and will look nice in most homes! Neutral colors are a great way of providing year-round color, without being too bold or too seasonal. If you have seen my tutorial videos, you will notice I often encourage starting off the design with a "Year- Round" base and foliage, and then ACCENTING with seasonal touches. If you are creating a year-round design, try using plain colors, such as beige, browns, greens, whites, creams, etc.


PRO TIP!- If you design seasonal pieces, have several bases constructed at the beginning of the year using neutral colors, and then when it comes time for seasonal designs, begin adding according pieces. Saves you time during the busy season!


4) Pantone's Color of the Year.

It's always a good idea to be unique in the industry, any way to stand out from the crowd is always a great idea. HOWEVER, you can be unique by using what is currently popular and adding your own personal touch.


For example, each year I look at Pantone's Color of the Year. This is a color that you will see pop up year round in all sorts of supplies. I try to create seasonal, year-round, and holiday specific designs using this color as they tend to be popular. This color may not work for every season in this specific shade, but by using different shades of Ultra Violet you can match it to whatever piece you are designing.( Ex. Using darker shades for fall) Pantone's Color of the Year is Ultra Violet for 2018. Try adding touches of Ultra Violet into your designs this year.



Okay... here is where I derail from the tracks and talk about what works for me. Keep in mind this is my OWN opinion and may not necessarily work for you or your business.

What I have found to work best, is to stick to 2-3 colors for whatever I am designing. If I am using an extremely bold color, I will showcase that, and then accent with a toned down matching color. By limiting myself to a couple colors, I am able to create a design that isn't overwhelming. By adding too many colors, I feel as though designs get lost in the burst of colors.


What I have also found to work great for me is to look at colors from a different source of lighting ( Inside, Outside, Warm/cool light bulbs, etc.) You would be surprised at what a difference it truly makes. I always try to coordinate my color choices around my photography. If it photographs well against my titanium white surface and under my studio lighting, then it works great for a design. I find this to be critically important when dealing with online sales, if specific colors look washed out or dull under my lighting, then they wouldn't make for great online designs.


Another thing that works for me is to limit the amount of ultra white I use in my designs ( ESPECIALLY FLORALS). When designing pieces without a white focal piece/ribbon/sign, I will use ivory or an off-white. Bright white in designs can be distracting, and can be the first thing that draws your eye in. For example, if I want to lighten a design with some filler flowers, I will use off-white flowers. I achieve the look I'm going for, without distracting away from everything else.


Always remember to include as many different designs with different color combos to your customers as possible. The more choices, the more potential buyers!



In the next blog post I will be talking about how I choose ribbon patterns, and match them together! Stay tuned!


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