Color Theory, Part 2By Janet
February 17, 2018
Color Theory, Part 2
Color Theory, Part 2 – If you want to create your own covers, or if you are a part of selecting your cover in your published work, you need to understand color theory.
The basics of color theory, part 2
Color theory is the associations and impressions we get when confronted with a certain color or set of colors. Color matters.
Red and its family of colors
Red tends to be a bold, standout color. It works with a lot of other colors. It can also help if you’ve got a mainly black, white, or gray image for your cover. Red lettering can work with that background. However, if the value (brightness) of the red is the same as the gray behind it, you may find it feels like the color is vibrating.
Red means stop or anger or ripeness. It can also feel like excitement or danger, as it can remind us of everything from sports cars to raspberries to stop signs. The Twilight book covers in particular rely on red accents to great effect.
Pink comes across as a softer version of red. We often associate it with health and ballerinas, but also baby blankets and Barbie dolls. Its current association with femininity is fairly recent; until about the Second World War, it was considered more of a masculine color.
Orange is more likely to be associated with hunters or the harvest or prisons, but it can also be associated with traffic safety. It can remind us of sunshine and, of course, oranges, but also the toxin, Agent Orange.
Closely related copper associates best with pennies or cookware more than anything else. However, we also associate it with bronze (about 90% of bronze consists of copper), and so we may link to the idea of third place medals.
Choose a color from the red family for your cover or for its accents, and expect some strong associations but also a cover that can really stand out.