Playing with Color in Custom Apparel
Research has shown how different colors elicit different kinds of emotional responses in humans. For example, red, which is a vibrant color associated with intense feelings of love or anger, triggers a very different emotional response than green, which echoes back to trees, plants, and vegetation found in nature.
Color is a tricky thing, though. Variations in brightness and saturation change how we feel as much as the color itself, and every color is riddled with cultural meaning and connotations. It’s no wonder color plays such a pivotal role in the design process.
Strong color palettes are the foundation of well-designed custom apparel, yet developing them can be a murky terrain to navigate. For businesses, taking the time to consider the role of color in their brand and product is worthwhile. The color stories in custom apparel have the power to convert sales, enhance branding, and reinvigorate tired aesthetics. How? Every set of colors impacts the way we think, feel, and make choices — and sometimes it’s that split-second emotional response that makes a product irresistible.
Changing Color Stories with a Standard Hue
Colors are all relational, though, and their emotional responses depend on the colors around them. From a design standpoint, understanding color theory and cultural associations are one of the central components of developing apparel designs. Choosing a standard base tone to compose different color stories is a fantastic way to get a sense of the changing emotional responses and aesthetics of various color palettes.
Pantone, a company known for its a color matching system, releases trending colors for each season and year. Classic Blue was the color of 2020. It is a prime color to use in demonstrating the power and versatility of color stories, chiefly because blue is perhaps the most universally loved across cultures, countries, and generations. As you’ll see in the list below, Classic Blue takes on a new life, depending on the colors around it.
- Bright Red and Classic Blue
Bright red increases the volume and pop of this first Classic Blue color palette. This color story lends itself to color blocking techniques and retro Americana summer vibes. Bold color palettes create edgier or more playful pieces.
2. Cool Gray and Classic Blue
These two cool colors have a calming, more minimalist effect when used in conjunction with one another. Cool Gray has the opposite impact as Bright Red and significantly tones Classic Blue down. This color palette feels much more Scandinavian and lends itself to understated, more relaxed designs.
3. Bridal Blush and Classic Blue
Designing Classic Blue with a color like Bridal Blush makes a traditionally masculine tone softer and more feminine. It retains a certain warmth lost in the Classic Blue and Cool Gray color palette without the Bright Red’s vibrancy or intensity.
4. Brown Sugar and Classic Blue
Pairing Classic Blue with Pantone’s Brown Sugar creates an earthier, more organic feel. While the same blue tone can feel loud and electric when designed with Bright Red, it feels reminiscent of night skies or placid, calm waters next to Brown Sugar. For brands trying to capitalize on a connection to nature, this would be the right iteration of Classic Blue to integrate into the design process.
These are just four examples where Classic Blue reads thoroughly differently in color stories. There are endless other directions to go in, though. Classic Blue transforms into a fun, modern aesthetic when paired with a vibrant, sunny yellow, but becomes almost nautical when paired with a white neutral tone.
Not only can this exercise serve as a fantastic tool in developing an initial design, but it can also be a lifesaver when it comes to releasing new editions of specific products or breathing new life into old designs. Choosing a standard tone based on a company logo or branding can be an excellent method of weaving continuity into your custom apparel and branded merchandise.
Designing with Thunderwear
We don’t expect our clients to be color connoisseurs — that’s our job. We’re color theory enthusiasts, typography experts, and fashion designers. Our Thunderwear team considers every single facet of custom apparel design and tailors it to your brand. The color selection process pays careful attention to your company’s needs, aesthetics, pain points, and goals to capitalize on every opportunity in the custom and branded merchandise industry.
If you’d like to get started on the design process, we’re here to help. Please shoot us an email anytime.