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Sometimes fashion ideas are a fail. It can be due to various reasons like lack of market research, pricing, or simply a poor design. Color can play a big role when it comes to fashion hits and misses. Why do color combinations impact the way consumers feel about a certain article of clothing?

One fairly obvious reason is personal taste. Some people feel they don’t look in green or orange. No matter how appealing the design is, it’s unlikely you can change inherent dislikes of certain colors at the individual level. When brainstorming a design that has the capacity for mass or niche appeal, fundamental color palettes should be taken into account for the best chance of success.

A color wheel is a traditional tool used by artists of all kinds but in the digital age, there are many online tools that can take you far beyond complimentary color combinations in your design. Here are a few to explore when building your color palette:




What are color schemes?

Analogous– These are colors that are located next to each other on a color wheel and are most like what we see in nature like the feathers of a bird. Since its common in the natural order of the world, analogous color schemes often invite emotions of calm and tranquility. There is a caveat with analogous and decorated clothing design, since the colors are so harmonious, a designer needs to pay special attention to contrast.

Complimentary- Colors that appear on opposing sides of the color wheel are considered to be complimentary. Use of these colors can result in a very exciting and colorful design.

Triadic– These colors are evenly spread out on the color wheel which can result in plenty of contrast yet still remain harmonious.

Tetradic- This is the combination of two sets of complimentary colors. When creating a complicated design, this palette can be highly useful.

Split-Complimentary- In addition to the core color, two additional complimentary colors are utilized.

Color can invoke emotions and memories like the way a sunset looked while on vacation at the beach. Using themed color palettes that are aligned with the concept of your design can support the whole project. Conversely, take care when using some themes that might put you at risk for being too closely related to a well-known brand (particularly if some of your design elements look likewise familiar.) Think a red and yellow simplistic mountain design and McDonald’s iconic arches and brand colors.

If you’re designing for niche audiences consider niche color palettes, here are some suggestions for just a few:


Of course camouflage colors come to mind when thinking about military appeal but black, white and shades of grey and orange also demonstrate strength.


When designing sorority wear, the world is you oyster. With this group you can maximize trendy colors, images, and apparel products. Think pastel paint splash, galaxy, classic white/black, floral, and watercolor.


Children love primary colors and for this reason creating designs with bright colors and bold images will have wide appeal.


Most well-known causes already have colors defined but you can still have your design stand out by incorporating complimentary secondary and tertiary colors. This example is a suggestion for Breast Cancer Awareness.

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