Capitalize on Color

Grab-and-go resources for using color in learning design

Capitalize Color

Color is a powerful ally in visual design for learning. When we capitalize on color we signal attention, direct eyes to what’s important and impart a particular mood. But color can be tricky. The wrong palette can disrupt the flow — even suggest incorrect connotations. Brush up on color strategies with these grab-and-go resources.

Dust Off Your Color Wheel

It’s been a long time since many of us were introduced to the color wheel. Sir Isaac Newton is credited with introducing the color wheel in 1666. Since then, scientists and artists have perfected the tool. To brush up on your tints, shades and tones, check out Color Tiger’s Basic Color Schemes tutorial.

Consider Connotations

Color elicits emotion. Colors can impart heavy, energetic, or trustworthy feelings. Color psychology influences the colors we choose for logos, for the clothes we wear, for paint colors we select for different spaces. Color must be a consideration when preparing slide presentations, eLearning screens, and resource downloads.

Cultural Sensitivities

Color connotations vary across cultures. When designing learning for an international audience, it’s important to key into sensitivities to ensure color does not become an obstacle. Writer and designer David McCandless features a stunning¬†infographic of cultural color differences in his book Information is Beautiful. Shutterstock presents a brief look at color symbolism, noting cross cultural implications of color.

Color in Learning

There are several ways to use color in instructional design. I recommend using the color red sparingly; red signals urgency, emergency, or danger within the learning context (think about what color ink your teachers used correcting papers). Red accents can used effectively to grab attention and urge action. Take care that red doesn’t steal the thunder of the rest of the content being presented.

Make friends with color! Utilize your color selections to elevate your learning design.

For more on visual design for learning, download my free eBook, Visual Design Essentials.


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