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Visual Presentations: Colour

This guide provides students with information and resources to create visual presentations.

Introduction to colour

Colour can: 1. organise a document, 2. aid navigation, 3. create impact, 4. evoke emotion.

Icons made by Freepik from is licensed by CC 3.0 BY

Cultural colour associations

Colours have different meanings in different cultures. Individuals can also have a strong personal connections to colours. It's important to be aware of the range of interpretations and choose colours wisely. 

Universal, cultural, and personal symbols of color from Graphic Design Foundations: Color by Mary Jane Begin

Using colour

Tips on choosing colour:

  • Start with one colour to build a colour palette.
  • Is there a colour connected to a logo, brand or image used?
  • Are you trying to convey a particular emotion or association? 

Colours react and are defined slightly differently in different mediums. You should use these colour codes for the following mediums:

RGB - for screens & devices
HEX - for websites & coding
CMYK - for print

Using the correct code is the best way to ensure your colour appears the way you want it to. 

Found a colour but can't match it? 
Use a tool like ColorPick Eyedropper. It allows you to select colours from webpages/images and instantly find the colour code. O

Build a colour palette:

Image shows a variety of different ways to create a colour palette, including: complementary colours, analogous colours, split complementary colours, triadic colours, tetradic colours and monochromatic colours.

Colour & usability

Colourbindness affects over 8% of the population in Australia.

Vision Eye Institute. (2017). Colour blindness.Retrieved,colour%20blindness%20to%20some%20degree.

Choose colours wisely! Red and green is not a good combination for readability for anyone. For colourblind people, the combination is even worse:

Two examples of what green text on a red background looks like for people who are colourblind. First example is a protanope simulation, the second example is a deuteranope simulation.


You can check the usability of your images and websites by using the below simulators:




Other usability tips:

  • Use colour consistently to create visual hierarchy.
  • Dark text on a light, neutral background is best for readability. 
  • If it’s for something that will be printed, think about how it will translate to B&W print.