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2 Color World Lead Image
By: MARK BOLEK
Design
Feb 18, 2015

A 2-Color World

When full-color becomes camouflageEarth

We live in a full-color world. From our flat screens to our mobile devices; from magazines to junk mail—they all use the full allotted spectrum of color. All this color media mirrors what we see in the real world… all day, every day. We know full color too well, it's safe and comfortable. When we see full-color ads, promotions, and messages, they can fade or blend into the background. In full color promotional items can become unintentionally camouflaged. 

2-color design can clairify, unify and focus a messageThe Image Shoppe: A 2-Color World image

Good color design should unify and clarify the message in a creative and memorable manner. Properly executed, good colors can transport the viewer away from the hum-drum of everyday and into a visual world that is unique. On this premise, one can build a case for designing in 2-color instead of full color. One only needs to do a cursory search to find many well-designed posters, websites, mobile apps, business cards, brochures, and invitations that use just two colors.

You may think that two color is too restraining, but in design restraint can be a very good thing. Each and every color has its own opposite, complementary colors—when two proper colors are used together they don’t fight for attention, but they rather juxtapose each other in a pleasing manner. Good colors can unify the message subtly, making the design feel more like a cohesive unit.  

2-color balance

The Image Shoppe: A 2-Color World image1

Think of it this way: All good books have a protagonist and an opposing antagonist. Each has his role and needs the other to balance out a good story. If the author tries to usher too many characters, the story becomes muddled and confusing—the true storyline can become lost to the reader. So it is with visual design, if there is too much color competing for attention the audience can lose interest quickly.

  • 2-color designs visually get to the point and lead the eye through the message hierarchy quickly and efficiently.
  • 2-color design can reinforce a brand’s colors and give a sense of a solid corporate culture.
  • 2-color design can just be plain fun for your audience to view.

You may be looking to start up a new promotional campaign and you have a rainbow of ideas but no solid visual solutions. Try just using a couple, they may be your perfect match.

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