Helpful Tips to Create Stunning Color Gradients

May 15, 2024

Have you ever wondered what designers actually do to make color gradients more attractive and outstanding? The secrets lie in the techniques. We can’t have a good play with colors unless we have the theories. 

Understanding gradient techniques makes us create pleasant ones. Once we know how, there is no limit to mixing one color with another. Let’s discuss how to work with gradients below.



Use Different Color Brightness Level

Contrast or brightness level is one of essential elements in color gradient. Here are 10 contrast techniques we can learn about.

Dark and Light Contrast

You can use dark to light transitions to get the perfect contrast. Always choose a suitable brightness level for your design. Dark contrast is good for background, shadowing and blind spot; while light contrast is good for light reflection.

Hue Contrast

Hue measurement is available only in some color combinations. You can manage the lightness, darkness, brightness and dimness levels. Also, a good color contrast requires a good position too.

Edge Color Contrast

An edge of an object is prone to change by color gradients. Considering the position, you can make the contrast goes from dark to light. If the object is higher than the background, set the edge to light and add reflection on the background.

Texture Contrast

Another role player in color brightness level setting is texture. Its level is divided from high to low, wide to narrow. In short, light contrast should be in line with light direction concerning the textured objects.

Color Temperature Contrast

Contrast temperature is measured in two types; warm and cool. The higher the temperature, the red goes deep to orange, while the lower temperature goes blue to dark for dramatic effects.

Scale and Size Contrast

Gradients level in color pallets also depends on the object scale and size, because it controls the light directions. Later, color gradients will make necessary adjustments to object size.

Composition Contrast

Never leave this technique unmeasured, because you need to modify the light intensity, compactness and balance. The composition goal requires more attention to keep your design from light suspension.

Object Position Contrast

A general rule in lighting is balancing light direction and object position. The latter regulates the shade position and light reflection. As well as the light-thickness.

Distance and Separation Contrast

Creating color gradient from dark and light color rest on the separation. If there is typography and object in one design, divide the color based on the distance. The further the object is, the more invisible the shadow is.

Typography Contrast

Light typography contrast is measured by the writing style. Either graffiti, 3D written or textured, will have a light contrast. To get the perfect view of it, you need another perspective.


Use Main Derivative Color Gradient

Apart from the techniques above, you can manage your gradient using derivative colors. There are certain ways to get them. To start with, choose any color you want to apply to your design. 

Choose the main color and place it on the available pallet. In a digital application, you can just poke it to a blank screen. After that, reduce the brush opacity to 70{d808542e3a38684a629614128c7511c0d746b2afbcc597c99adfe2fd933a7222} and poke it to the screen to create one.

Repeat the actions continuously to get the color gradient you wished for. Brush opacity could be 70{d808542e3a38684a629614128c7511c0d746b2afbcc597c99adfe2fd933a7222}, 60{d808542e3a38684a629614128c7511c0d746b2afbcc597c99adfe2fd933a7222}, 40{d808542e3a38684a629614128c7511c0d746b2afbcc597c99adfe2fd933a7222} and 20{d808542e3a38684a629614128c7511c0d746b2afbcc597c99adfe2fd933a7222} to get 5 pallets of derivative colors. You can always redo the process to get another.

You can choose any for your main color since it is related to your design and picture needs. If you need dark color, choose one dark color as your main and reduce the opacity. Use the pallets to get the best color.


Primary, Secondary and Tertiary Combination

The color consists of four categories, they are primary, secondary, tertiary and neutral. Each category has different lists of colors. Here is more explanation about them.

Primary Color

It consists of pure and basic colors such as red, yellow and blue. Designers can create more colors by combining those three sources of all colors.

Secondary Color

The combinations of primary colors produce the secondary colors. It is made purple (red + blue), orange (red + yellow), and green (blue + yellow). You can mix those three with others for more colors. 

Tertiary Color

It is a mixture of primary and secondary colors. This category has a lot of color gradients combinations. Later, you can do another mix to create new colors.

Neutral Color

These colors balance other colors and cannot be mixed. It includes grey, brown, black, white and nude. Monochromatic and earth tone are nature-inspired neutral colors.


Use the Closest Color in Pallets

Either way, you can use and choose colors in pallets to make the best gradient. Pre-existed colors can be mixed directly on the pallets. In digital applications, they have filled the pallets color to create gradients easily.

There are two pallets we can make use of, RGB and CMYK. RGB refers to Red, Green and Blue as primary colors. CMYK refers to Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Black. 

RGB color gradient, as a primary choice, is widely used in design applications. Nevertheless, you have to learn their differentiation, too. RGB is more addictive since the color combination creates secondary and tertiary colors.

On the other hand, CMYK mainly uses tertiary colors and primary colors are being added later. Both pallet gradients are prone to a change, simply by moving the color point. However, a challenge comes from within the pallets itself. It tends to offer countless choices which require a smart choice to end it.

Knowing more about gradient techniques is a good investment because color is one of the main design elements. Without colors, our design will only go black and white. Thus, color gradients should be a lesson for everyone concerning promising results in the future.

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