Color Theory, Part 2

Color Theory, Part 2

If you are interested in creating 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

Color Theory, Part 2

Red tends to be a bold, standout color. It works with a lot of other colors. It is also helpful 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

Pink is a softer version of red, often associated 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

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.

Copper

Closely related copper is probably associated with pennies or cookware more than anything else, but it is also associated with bronze (about 90% of bronze is copper), and so it can be linked 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.