As one of the five key elements of visual merchandising, color can be one of the most influential. Color can pull together an entire display and even help to make certain sections pop. In order to fully understand how to incorporate color into your display, you’ll first need to understand the basics of color theory.
Basic Color Theory
Certain color theories and the color wheel can help to create a good structure for color combinations. Within the 12-part color wheel, there are varying definitions of colors:
Primary Colors: Red, yellow and blue
Primary colors are colors than cannot be formed by mixing any other combination of colors. Every other color in the color wheel come from these three hues.
Secondary Colors: Green, orange and purple
These are the colors formed by mixing the primary colors.
Tertiary Colors: Yellow-orange, red-orange, red-purple, blue-purple, blue-green and yellow-green
These are the colors formed by mixing a primary and a secondary color.
When working with multiple colors, it’s important that there is a sense of harmony between them. The concept of color harmony ensures that whatever you create is pleasing to the eye. If your color scheme isn’t harmonious, it can have the opposite affect on the consumer and cause them to shy away from your display. There’s a delicate balance, as you don’t want your color scheme to be under-stimulating and you also don’t want it to be over-stimulating. Here are some basic formulas for creating harmony across the color wheel:
Analogous Color Scheme
Analogous colors are any three colors which are side by side on a 12 part color wheel, such as yellow-green, yellow, and yellow-orange. Usually one of the three colors predominates.
Complementary Color Scheme
Complementary colors are any two colors which are directly opposite each other, such as red and green and red-purple and yellow-green.
Color Scheme Seen in Nature
Nature provides a perfect departure point for color harmony. In the illustration above, red yellow and green create a harmonious design, regardless of whether this combination fits into a technical formula for color harmony.
Now that you understand how certain colors work together, you should understand how certain colors affect moods and feelings which in turn can affect buying behavior. Color can be one of the most persuasive elements of merchandising. Research suggests that 85% of consumers say color is a primary reason why they buy a particular product.
The following infographic helps to break down the different color perceptions: