See Mei Chow

Head of Design | Piktochart

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Here’s the number one most common mistake that budding designers tend to make: Adding too many colors.

The simple solution is to use more shades instead. Let’s have a look at how to do that.

We’ve created a beautiful PDF with 5 real life examples of how to pick a color scheme for your infographic, just for you.

All you need to do is sign up for our email newsletter. Click the link below and enter your email address, and we’ll send it to you for free. Enjoy!

Color schemes influence comprehension

Is this bruise on my arm bluish black or blackish blue? If an orange is orange in color, what color is a carrot?

There is a large spectrum (pun intended) of uncertainty and subjectivity when it comes to using colors for art and design. This post seeks to provide some order to that chaos and some structure to guide you in picking colors and creating color schemes for your work.

Subjective as it may be, we can agree that colors affect our moods, perceptions, and adds context to our content. There’s tons of psychological research to back this claim. Hence, selecting the right color scheme will potentially enhance the effectiveness of the message that you want to get across.

[irp posts=”12828″ name=”The Key To Clean and Uncluttered Infographic Design: Managing Whitespace”]

Remember, though, that like all things beautiful there’s a thin line between having an array of colors that would be a sight for sore eyes, and using too many colors that would actually give someone sore eyes. As you go along we’ll provide you with some neat tips and tricks and best practices to achieve the former rather than the latter.

Here are a few general rules you need to keep in mind before we move on to the nitty gritty details:

  1. Stick to 2 main colors, and do not use more than 4 colors. A little goes a long way.
  2. Pick only 1 or 2 main colors (clear and bold), while the rest should be complementary colors (subtle and warm).
  3. When you’re tempted to add more colors,don’t give in- use more shades instead.
  4. Provide ample white space for the eyes to stay relaxed.

Now that we’ve established that, here are three ways to pick the perfect color scheme for your infographic.

1. Follow your company branding

If you are creating work-related material, one of the best and safest ways to choose a color scheme is to follow the color of the company’s brand guidelines. For some, this may not even be a matter of choice!

Use it as the primary color to hunt for complementing colors to match.

Choose color scheme by logo

The examples above use the colors of their company branding guidelines as the main color.

  • Oreo Blue, the brand color complemented by the product color makes a clean and clear infographic.
  • An infographic themed with Coca-cola Red as the leading color in different shades with complementing colors.

Selecting complementing colors

For this, you will need an easy-to-use generator. There are many online tools you can use to generate theme colors. I personally prefer Coolors. It is a free, quick and easy color scheme generator—you just need to lock-in your company color and leave the rest to Coolors to match for you. You can also go for your own preferred tool.

Selecting shades

If you are unsure which scheme to choose, you can work with shades. You can try ColorSchemer Online. Play with the “Lighten Scheme” and “Darken Scheme” and pick a few codes in different shades and jot it down.

Color schemes by company logo

Choosing colors this way works best when used for branding infographics. Using your company color will further strengthen your brand awareness.

2. Let your content decide

You can also use the subject to determine the best color to use for your infographic. For instance, if your infographic is about coffee you can use shades of coffee and its complimenting colors.

Or you can select colors based on the objects in the infographic and make it more meaningful, like the following. The color scheme used based on the objects of the infographic makes the information very easy to consume.

Color scheme by content

For this method, you can grab any preset color schemes off the Net. There are many available color sets online, for instance, Adobe Color CC (previously known as Adobe Kuler). It is an online color generator tool that comes with user preset themes. I pick this tool because they have a good amount of color sets providing me with ample choices. Once again, you can always pick from your own preferred site.

Colors instantly highlight the context and facilitate visual perception. So, selecting color scheme to match your content is like giving more context to your content.

3. Draw inspiration from the natural world

One other way to select color schemes is to just draw inspiration from what is natural e.g. the colors of the seasons (or trees, sea, sky etc) because simply, you can’t go wrong with nature.

Here’s a list of colors by seasons to help you get inspired. You can pick one or two main colors then use Coolors to help you with the rest. Or you can play around with the shades and tints. Remember, do not exceed four colors. If you want to use more colors, play with the shades.

Color Scheme by season - Autumn
Color Scheme by season - Winter
Color Scheme by season - Spring
Color Scheme by season - Summer
You don’t have to limit yourself with mere four seasons. There are colors of the holidays and festive seasons for you to choose from too.

Here are more colors of the seasons to get you inspired.
Color Scheme by holidays and festive season

This method works best when used for infographics for seasonal marketing purpose or season themed subject. Holidays and festive seasons are always associated with colors and mood.

By applying the colors that are usually associated with these seasons, the message is easier to comprehend, making your work more effective.

How to apply colors in Piktochart?

Now, with your color codes, you can apply the colors on your background, text, icons and shapes in Piktochart accordingly. To apply the background color, you will select Background on the panel on the left as shown below.
Color scheme - Pikto background color picker
For objects like text, icons, and shapes, you will select the object and pick a color from the color picker on the toolbar as indicated below. You can also apply the Hex code you have chosen previously.
Color scheme - Pikto object color picker

Beyond the color picker tool, every single template in Piktochart also comes with a set of four color schemes that you can easily apply to your infographics, presentations, and printables. These are built-in color schemes created by our design team, but you’ll also have the option to create up to four of your own.

Ready to get crafty? Just hit the “Create New Color Scheme” button and you’ll be able to sub in new colors and create your own. You can either use our color picker to select your favorite shade, or get more specific with hex codes.

4. Bonus: Too much fuss? Try Pikto Templates

If you prefer not to mess with colors, you can always use our handy preset templates. The colors are carefully picked and match by our team of designers just for you.

You will notice that they follow our best practice in terms of 2-4 main colors, using shades/hues and using a lot of white space. The following are examples of Piktochart templates ready for use.
Color scheme - Pikto templates preset colors

Key takeaways

Pick color schemes for your infographic using these three easy ways:

  1. Follow the color(s) of your company logo: for branding infographics
  2. Let your content decide the colors: for content marketing infographics
  3. Go with the colors of the four seasons or festive seasons: for seasonal marketing infographics

What’s next

Now that you know the theory, it’s time to see it in action. And we have just the thing for you.

We’ve created a beautiful PDF with 5 real life examples of how to pick a color scheme for your infographic, just for you.

All you need to do is sign up for our email newsletter. Click the link below and enter your email address, and we’ll send it to you for free. Enjoy!

Get your Free Copy of “5 Real Life Examples of How to Pick a Color Scheme For Your Infographic”

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Color Schemes PDF

This is part of our series on infographic design. Check out the other posts here!

Images via redpepper, Nelly Soegianto, and