In Living Color

Take a few minutes to take a look at the links below. Afterwards, locate an example of a professional poster design on Communication Arts website ( that uses color really well.Identify the type of color scheme (for example analogous) that the designer chose and explain/defend the color choices that the designer made. Make sure that you consider the audience, message, and tone of the poster that you choose. As always, make sure that your post is at least 200 words long.

Beginning Color – Color Theory

The Effect of Color – PBS Offbook

  1. Alex says:
    Jason seller used a lot of shade to make the poster and, used red to focus on the ribbons. Jason did use analogous colors for the shaded area, mostly the entire page, and for the ribbons he used tertiary colors. Towards us, this photo would show something political, it is in the presidents office and uses lots of politicians especially Barrack Obama our old president and even a lady who went against Barrack Obama in 2008, it is also in an old western theme as they are all dressed up like they own duel guns and have lots of ammo. The message is unclear but it is explained that it is used for a Cracked magazine.

    Jason does say that when he makes the cover for the Cracked magazine that he creates a bunch of crappy looking covers and looks at each one to find one that will speak to him. Something that was cool is that Jason went from a failure to a successor, Jason thought he was a complete failure, Jason’s dad was an illustrator and really good at art which made him feel embarrassed.
    At first Jason experimented with water colors before he got big and made him better.

  2. Caitlyn says:

    I think a professional poster on the Communication Arts website that uses color very well would be “They Got me, Jim”, by James Flames. I enjoy the color on the poster because the colors are very different from each other, making the image compelling and interesting. The color scheme the artist chose is complimentary, only the blue color has a very light tint to it. The cross and the key are both shades of red, but in contrast to the very bright red and blue, they seemingly look black to me. The image is a poster for the band “…And You Will Know Us By The Trail of Dead”, and I believe the imagery fits well with the band’s name. The skeleton portrays the destruction or death of a person, the blue highlight perhaps portraying the release of the person’s soul. I believe the main reason why the poster was created this way was to grab someone’s attention, as it did with me. Though I don’t understand the references to the key that is seemingly thrown by the hand of the skeleton or the shadow-like cross on the ground, it is still fairly intriguing to me. The detail of the skeleton is also intriguing. I like how the artist made the ribcage flimsy to perhaps extend the thought of a soul being released.

  3. Hanna Harmon says:

    The image that I chose is by Josh Ellingson, and is using the complimentary color scheme. The image is of a squid that is submerged in water, and the colors contrast very well. The poster was made for the “Laughing Squid” in San Fransisco, which seems to be for Underground art, Culture, and Technology (if the words on the poster have anything to do with it). This seems to be aimed towards an audience of young-adults and perhaps teens, and I believe it does this quite well. The colors caught my eye right away, and the imagery kept me looking at it. Ellingson used the colors blue and orange, and many variations of those colors. The choice in color definitely assisted in how the design works as a whole and may not have worked as well if he had not used the complimentary color scheme. The message is quite clear, and concise throughout the entire piece and this is entirely due to the color scheme that John chose. The tone itself is very playful and exciting, and definitely is meant to make any viewer feel some type of joy when they see it. John Ellingson’s piece works very well in terms of color scheme, and the use of complimentary colors definitely helped make the poster what it was.

    Link to Image:

  4. Andrea Matthews says:

    This poster uses a monochromatic color scheme. The main color used in this poster is red. This color is used with a variety of shades and tints to make the colors appear as if they were made by ink or possibly even some watercolor in parts if the image. The colors in this image are bold, intense, and rather intimidating. The color choice inspires thoughts of war, energy, danger, and strength. These thoughts and feelings may be caused by the fact that these particular shades of red closely resemble the color of human blood. The poster also uses the color gray. This color is used to add details to the overall image and offer some contrast to the reds on the poster. The gray colors are rather muted so that they can add to the imagery on the poster without drawing attention away from the images illustrated in red which are the main focus points on the poster. The designer used reds to illustrate the more important parts of the image and call attention to them and used grays to illustrate the less important information and imagery on the poster. The message and purpose of this poster is not the most clear or obvious but the message of the poster most likely has something to do with war based on the text that says, “Building better bombs” and the lady who is giving a salute, and some of the imagery in the background. The intended audience is most likely younger adults because the imagery and color choice is unlikely to appeal to children or the elderly. Children typically enjoy playful and bright colors such as primary or neon colors and they tend to prefer cute or cartoonish images. The elderly tend to prefer duller or more subdued colors and also tend to prefer imagery that is cleaner and more orderly. By using the process of elimination, one can assume that this poster is meant for younger adults.

    Poster link:

  5. Samuel O. says:

    The poster that stood out to me the most was a book cover designed for the reissue of “Birdwing” which is the story of a boy who has a wing for one of his arms and must seek out to find what his purpose is.

    The cover shows the main character of the book with his wing curling upwards around his face and his right hand extended to the left spear in hand against a bright orange background.

    I believe this design is very successful and shows a lot of emotion through minimalist elements. The way the character is drawn and posed is a reference to paintings from the Greek and Roman cultures to tell the viewer that this book is obviously fantasy.

    I feel very strongly about the color choices in this poster as well. The artist uses a monochromatic color scheme for the most part. The way the browns and black-ish tones are used with texture resembles paint strokes on pottery or stone to look like it was displayed on a wall. The background gives off lots of energy and movement to resemble huge flames. The orange is of course not one color, it is a mixture of orange where some negative space was and orange-red where the character’s parts were. The light tones of the tan are very visible to see with them being cool neutral colors and the background being a highly saturated warm hue. Overall this is a great design and leaves me interested with the contents of the book itself.

  6. Justin says:

    The artist I chose was Greg Bennett. His poster uses complimentary colors red and blue to make the image pop. As well as throwing in black in order to provide contrast from the focal point of the image. The poster consists of an illustration of the angel of death in black and in front of the rest. Then the word in red behind that and stacked on top of itself is Katrina as in the hurricane. The background color of all of this is a light neon blue to make the red stand out even behind the black illustration. Greg then goes on to list the stats of the Katrina catastrophe as it happened to spread awareness and draw people to help the cause. The way he uses color is astounding in this poster it shows urgency and yet its calm he knew what he was doing and how to create an image to help. Not only does it capture the idea of good color use it drew awareness to a tragedy and likely saved a lot of people in the process. I chose this poster because its easy to find on the site and for good reason its a great example.

  7. Brandon says:

    I feel this is a poster that uses color very well and is very successful at portraying its message. A complementary color scheme throughout the entire design with the exception of black. The use of the different shades and tints to create water droplets and water stains on the poster make this very interesting to look at. It gives a powerful message with the contrast of the red on the cyan. The portrayal of death in the center of the poster with the contrast on it gives the poster an almost sinister feeling when looking at it. The body of death starts very thin then gets wider the higher it goes. This could very much resemble the feel of a tornado or a hurricane since the word Katrina is in the background and going over death which is the name of a tornado or hurricane that had happened in 2005. How the words and the background flow over death makes it better since it makes the viewer want to explore the background and the words more. Not too much black was used on death so that it was not overpowering the poster since it was in the middle of the poster.

    Overall, the poster portrays a strong message with the use of the contrasting colors making this a successful design.

  8. jordyn snapp says:

    the designer i choose is Owen Gent. the design looks like a museum with 8 people in the picture. what made me more interest is the color shape, i wonder what the reason for the color shapes. so I think he uses two different complementary. (orange and blue) & (green and red). it has alots shading and tint but not a lot of it. Also he use few tertiary color. ( green, light orange, dark blue ). he use white and black to help match his color shading and tints. the color white looks like dirty white to me and it kinda have alot negtive space. i would’ve add alittle more people in the white space to make it more balance.the shape of the color works out very well with shading. i notice he use pattern to make it look like it paint or feels like it was drawn on the paper. One thing i wonder is the line touching between the shape and the people. i think it might a person looking at the color shape but both have the same color what the line is pointing at the shape. just how it made me more interest in that kinds of artwork.

  9. On the Commercial Arts website, there is a designer named Cornelia Li. In her design, there is a meaning that goes with it. It makes you think about what is happening in the image she created. The color scheme that she uses involves the colors of dark blue, dark red, and has colors like orange and white to create a sunset. The mood and/or vibe I am getting from this design is a dark and mysterious. The colors set a lonely and a depressing vibe to me when I see this design. The way the lady is carrying the child out of the house through the wall of the house helps bring the sad and tragic mood to it. The colors help with that because if Cornelia would have put bright colors like pink, red, yellow, or even a lot of white; it would make it seem the whole point of the design is that it is happy place and brings good vibes to the audience. That would throw the whole thing off if there was a depressed woman with a baby in a colorful house then the audience would be wondering why would she be upset and leaving a fine home. Color matters when making a design, painting, drawing, anything. It sets a mood to the creation. You have to make sure that the color will fit with what you are trying to present to your audience.

  10. Jonathan Hillard says:

    Janine Rewell did a great job designing a wrap for a coffee tin using the colors blue and red with different shades and tints. The design has a lot going on in it and she does a really good job bringing it all together with the colors she chose. The blue gives off a cold vibe and makes it look like the scene is in the dark and cold, then the red comes in and gives it the best amount of warmth for it to work. There is also some white in there which to me kind of suggests snow in a way, but overall it’s just the right amount of snow and works great with the red and the blue surrounding it. Even though there is only three colors in this design (Red, Blue, and White) she does a great job making them all work and seem like its not too much color in one picture and it doesn’t get confusing. I think the colors work great for the audience, I also think it would work best in the winter and would get them to want to drink their coffee. It does a good job giving off a cold mood and the red them makes them feel warm and cozy, representing the coffee. Personally I believe she did an amazing job on the design.

  11. Allie Myers says:

    In Elen Winata’s design for National Geographic Wild, she uses a neutral and analogous color scheme. Her use of warm tones such as tan, yellow, brown and lime green she was able to create an earthy and natural feel. The poster series is supposed to educate people on extinct or endangered animals, so a more neutral pallet works better than one with a lot of bright color. The colors used complement the other colors nicely and provides the right mood for the image. Because the client was National Geographic Wild, the warm, nature inspired color scheme works well. The cartoony imagery suggests that its audience may be younger or young adults, but because of the lack of any outline on the shapes gives it a professional and more modern feeling. The background color overall is a beige or tan like color and I believe that it makes the image seem more serious and it also gives the quality of age, which plays well with the posters being about extinct animals. The brightest color in the image is a light shaded yellow. This color pulls a nice contrast out of the grey in the dodo bird and serves as the accent color that guides the eye through the image and pull everything together as it is used throughout. I believe that the image is successful in what it was trying to convey or promote through its use of color.


  12. Jasmine says:

    After watching the linked videos and going through many of the poster designs on Communication Art’s website, I have chosen Kedgar Volta’s poster design as an example of a product that uses color really well. The message of the of the poster is about a serious matter that is occurring within our day in age, which is pollution. With the poster being about pollution (more specifically, water pollution), it is promoting on helping to keep the bodies of water clean from litter. The color scheme they decided to use for this message is analogous of different blues along with the usage of white. The blues makes the design stronger is because it it so post to be representative of water, and with adding the imagery of a turtle in the water, farther proves that it is meant to be a body of water. Another thing that is to be noticed is that with their tagline of “litter just isn’t natural,” being in white, helps show emphasis on that line, while “help keep the river clean,” is in light blue which is not as noticeable as the white on the darker blue. Lastly, without being very obvious, the designer decide to have everything that is natural, like the water and turtle, is in blue, white everything that is not natural is in white, such as the text about litter and the plastic can holder that is made to be a reference to the turtle’s shell.

    Link to Poster:

  13. Michael says:

    Don Clark used the color on his professional NASA poster very well. I say this because the colors are very outlandish and unexpected. When you think of NASA, you think of red, white, and blue. Don Clark essentially used every color you would not expect. He created multi-colored planets with different colored moons. The way he used the color on the moons, makes it seem like they are all moving at insane speeds. The bright colors make the poster more active and intriguing. The bright colors all stand out over the darker colors of the planets and or moons. In this poster he uses tertiary and secondary colors. This poster fits a younger audience, it will stand out to a younger crowd because the colors are bright and active. The poster also will intrigue people who might possibly want to join NASA, or something in that career line. In some areas where two colors would clash, he would put white, which really stands outs, and draws your attention. He also made the planets from dark to light, he would have a dark green on the inside and a lighter blue on the outside of the planet. The way he made the rockets was very interesting, he gave them rainbow colored windows and made them all a light tan, which really caught my eye.

  14. trystin says:

    The poster that stood out to me the most is what looks like a design of a tree. This poster is titled “So-Cal Fire Project poster” This stood out to me because the poster is not directly showing the res, it has tree qualities and that shows the form of the tree. The tree has flames going outward which look like leaves and the colors chosen give it the autumn or fall feeling and also give it that frame feeling when looking at the picture. At first i just seen autumn and fall as a tree which caught my eye because the color scheme is red,yellow and orange colors and those colors are right next to each other on the color wheel as analogous colors. This gives it the full effect which then you notice they are also flames giving it more meaning and making the viewer think more abut the poster drawing attention to it also giving it a sense of heat from the warm colors chosen. i think if they would have chosen any other colors or color scheme it wouldn’t be nearly as effective.
    poster link:

  15. Jason G. says:

    In the listed link is a poster made by Ryan Floyd Johnson, a professional artist. I believe that this poster uses its color very well. The colors used in this poster are used well because they go and flow together very well. I would consider this color scheme a complementary scheme because its main colors are orange and blue, which sit across one another on the color wheel. Johnson’s skill to give a shade like effect using different shades of the same color is also a valuable asset in making this poster interesting and attention catching. The meaning behind his poster is Kim Jong-Un’s nuclear testing. It sets a happy tone, yet a serious tone. It’s happy because of the bright colors used all over the poster and it’s serious because of the dark shades added, the serious look Kim Jong-Un is giving, and the image/reflection of missiles from the glasses. Ryan did a good job with his color and used it to make his poster successful.

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