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Color Theory Quick Reference Poster

It’s always good to be able to articulate design choices to your clients; why you put something where, why you chose the color scheme you did, etc. This knowledge is one of the biggest differences between a designer and a non-designer. But there is a lot to remember when it comes to the realm of graphic design – so much so that it’s pretty much impossible to remember everything from all the theories of graphic design, to web design best practices to Photoshop keyboard shortcuts.

With that in mind, I decided it would be useful for me to have all of the basics of color theory contained in one place – specifically, a cool infographic-esque poster. This way, I can quickly reference things that may have slipped to the back of my mind since design school. The end result is this: The Color Theory Quick Reference Poster for Designers.

*Edit: we now have an Elements of Design Quick Reference Poster as well as a Principles of Design Quick Reference poster too!*

The idea is that this graphic can be either printed out or used as a desktop wallpaper. During meetings, phone calls, or any other sort of client interaction, you can reference this poster if you need to – either for your own benefit, or to point something out to your client.

The graphic contains info on:

  • the basic color wheel
  • passive vs. active colors
  • cool vs. warm colors
  • subtractive vs. additive color
  • color types
  • color relationships
  • meanings attached to colors
  • basic terms pertaining to color

Hopefully this will be as useful to you as I’m hoping it will be to me. Here are the various files for download – please share, but don’t pass off as your own! Note: if you’re having issues getting the PDF, right-click and choose “Save Link As”.

If you like this, you might like our Elements of Design Quick Reference Poster too! Enjoy!

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