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Using Color in your Documents

Using Color in your Documents

Just how colorful should your professional business documents or proposals be? How much color is too much color? Are you using color to effectively highlight key points are are you splashing color everywhere in hopes of making a poorly worded document seem more interesting or valuable? In the world of business documents color should be used as an emphasis tool and not as a flashy glittery show piece. Each color and section you use color in should have a specific goal and if using that splash of color is not helping reiterate that goal you should think twice about using it.

Color Branding

We covered branding here before but lets talk a bit about color branding. Color branding are the hues, tints, tones and shades (yes those are 4 different things) that your branding guidelines dictate you should use.  Here’s a quick summary of the differences between them http://www.craftsy.com/blog/2013/05/hues-tints-tones-and-shades/ Now these branded colors should be the backdrop to your business documents, they should tell the reader this is an “Xait” document for instance. Here is a snippet from Kiss Metrics that gives good insight into what different colors mean to the average person.

What different colors mean to the average person

Using highlight colors or call out colors may and probably should differ from your traditional brand guidelines as they will be used to make a point and drive the eyes to certain areas of the page.

Color Meaning

There has been quite a lot of research on colors and their meanings or more specifically how we interpret what those colors portray to us and a quck google search will give you hours of reading that we won’t completely dive into here. You also may want to take a quick look at the international meanings of colors as they will vary greatly across the globe. The color white is the most obvious discrepancy as in western culture the color white is seen as a symbol of purity, innocence, marriage and even angelic while in many eastern cultures white represents sorrow, death and misfortune. http://www.empower-yourself-with-color-psychology.com/cultural-color.html So when creating your documents be sure to think about your audience and how those colors will paint a picture to the reader.

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