The Best Color Meanings Book I've Found
- My Design Secret Revealed -

Do you want to know one of the ways I research color meanings and choose color schemes for my clients' designs? Okay, I'm going to do it... I'm ready to reveal one of my design secrets.

As I've mentioned before, picking colors is not a simple task. It involves knowing the meanings of color, the psychology behind it, and industry usage. But if you just want to pick colors without getting "a degree of some sort in color psychology or color theory" I have found a book for you.

I'm mainly speaking to small business owners who come from various industries that want to learn more about color meanings in order to design for themselves. But I feel this book is also helpful for professional designers and graphic design students who want to delve into color theory.

Over the years, I've been using the book Color - Messages & Meanings: A PANTONE Color Resource to help me choose the right hue and color scheme. And you know what... I think it's the best book on color theory basics out there - in my opinion of course.

I can't fully express how helpful this book has been to me. But maybe this will help get the point across... I've used this book sooo much that the book's binding is literally coming apart!!


This book really delves into color meanings and color schemes without overloading you with too much information. And the information that it provides is presented in an easy to read and visually appealing way.

The author of this book is Leatrice Eiseman. She's executive director of the Pantone Color Institute and a well known color guru. (By the way, if you have never heard of Pantone they are basically the top company - in my opinion - that is the authority when it comes to color. Any designer who knows their stuff has heard about Pantone. You may have heard about them too and never realized it. If you've ever seen an announcement about what the Color of the Year is... Yep that's them, Pantone. They are the ones who make that announcement every year.)

The beginning of the book contains detailed sections (about 5 pages each) on the basic colors red, orange, green, yellow, brown, blue, purple, neutrals, black and white. Each color section even discusses different shades of each color and what they mean - that's because each hue contains variations that have meanings of their own, although they are in the same family of color.

For example, the book discusses the connotations of orange in general, as well as the connotations of peach, coral, tangerine, ginger, etc... I really like this feature because not all resources that I've come across discuss the different shades like this.

Towards the end of the book, is a section called "Creating Moods with Color Combinations". It shows several groupings of color schemes based on categories such as Cosmetica, Woodlands, Sentimental, Zesty, Provocative, Integrity... the list goes on. You can just about find a color scheme that evokes the emotion or feeling you want to portray. And along with those color schemes are photo examples of packaging, logos, and products.

So if you are a business owner, this book will help you select a color scheme easily by referencing one of the categories.

  • For example, the spa industry in particular may refer to the categories Seagrass, Restful, or Invigorating.
  • Bakery or cupcake businesses could refer to Eye Candy or some of the Unique 1-3 categories.
  • Industries and professions that tend to use classic and traditional colors like lawyers, doctors, and financial institutions would find the categories Integrity, Contemplation, and Complexity useful.

If you are a design professional, this book will also prove to be a useful tool when you select a color scheme based on the feeling the client wants to evoke.

Are you interested in buying a copy of this book? Do as I did and buy it on Amazon. For a little less than $35, this is quite a good investment that I have NEVER regretted!



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