The Right Understanding of Dominant and Recessive Colours

How you use dominant and recessive colours in infographics or in any graphic designs or images for that matter can influence the effect on how an image is perceived by its viewers. Some colors are quite complex as it can take the hue of another colour. The choice of colours for web or graphic designing is an important consideration in order to produce the right impression and message that you want to communicate to your viewers. And the proper use of dominant and recessive colours will highly influence the desired results from your conceptual designs.

Colour matters in your design

Colours are primarily important tools for a graphic artist. It is difficult to create an ideal image that can communicate well to the viewers without using the appropriate colours. The basic application of colours is sometimes subjective as it depends upon what kind of mood or effect you want to create from your artwork. But the proper use of colours can help you maximize the desired outcome from your graphic designs and the proper use of the dominant and recessive colours really matters. It is an important aspect of designing to harmonize colours in order to create not only beautiful designs but effective in communicating a message to its viewers too.

The visual experience of the viewers of your artwork matters the most because it is a step of engaging them to draw their interest to your image designs. The improper use of dominant and recessive colours can result to a design that is bland enough to be useful in attracting viewers. It defeats the purpose of creating a graphic design which goal is to engage and communicate a message to the viewers. Thus, the proper understanding on how to use both the dominant and recessive colours and harmonize them in your graphic art is crucial.

The concept and value of dominant colours

The dominant colours are so-called because of its dominating characteristics. Any dominant colour will be able to hold its hue and make it standout despite of the other colours around it. Even if one mixes a dominant colour with others it can manage itself to come through to become more recognizable and visible to the viewer.

Dominant colours can manage to push through the design, making them a powerful colour to use when you want to emphasize something on your artwork. The primary colours like red, blue and yellow are powerful enough to use when you want to convey a strong message for your image whether in a background or foreground. The hues of dominant colours are innately dominating thus you should not use it if your goal is to use it in a subtle design that you want to sit on the background of your image because it will still manage to come through and make it strongly visible to the eye.

If your concept of an image is to make it stand out from the rest of the images in the overall design, you can further emphasize the dominant colour of your choice by using it without shading or adding tints. Furthermore, you can also strengthen the presence of the dominant colour by contrasting it with other colours like white that will likely magnify the colour. If the dominant colour you are using come too strong in your design, you can tone it down by using recessive colours that can pick up some of its colour to tone down its shade. For instance, you can tone down the dominance of the colour blue in your image by adding gray in the background in order to neutralize the dominance of the colour blue in the image.

The concept and value of recessive colours

Recessive colours complement the dominant ones by toning down the background in order to further emphasize the hues of the dominant colours. They easily fade in the background thus providing a recessive or minimal effect in an image. With the recessive colours, you can maintain emphasis to make the dominant colour the central focus in the image. In effect, recessive colours are used in order to produce a mute effect in the background to support the dominating effect of an image that uses the dominant colours. Graphic designers use recessive colours as a background that can complement the dominant one such as in the image below. Red is the dominant colour used here with its hues further emphasized by the recessive colours of light green, white, lavender and black. However, note how the dominant colour appears using the following dominant and recessive colour combinations below that produces a different effect and feel. For instance, red looks more brilliant when combined with a black background while it looks dull and plain in a white background.

Improving the visual experience of your viewer

An understanding about the proper use of dominant and recessive colours plays a crucial role in graphic designing. The dominant colours are very useful when you want to convey a strong message to your viewers. Regardless of the background color that you use, it will come through and manage to bring the message across to your viewer. Recessive colours on the other hand can be used in two ways. The first is to tone down the dominance of the primary colour that you use in your design and the second is to provide a neutral palette that will emphasize a dominant colour in the background. Bringing out the balancing effect of dominant colours and recessive ones will provide a harmonized colour effects to your images. Being able to define the message that you want to emphasize to communicate to your reader will help you identify which part of your graphic design to use the dominant colours. Creating harmony in your visual images will produce a more effective and pleasant visual experience to your viewers. With dominant colours, you can easily emphasize the message that you want to communicate directly by making it stand out and well emphasized in your infographics.

The guest post is from Stacy Carter. You can find here at

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