Everybody loves pastel colors and today we’re going to talk about it. There is a reason for the obsession with these soothing eye-candy palettes that are once again trendy in their full power.
It’s their light-weighted way to communicate the soft emotions of optimism, joy, and peace that we all need, so in today’s article, we’ll indulge in some really amazing and satisfying pastel color palettes.
We’ll start with some brief theory of how pastel colors impact the audience, then we’ll dive through the different uses of those soothing combinations in web and graphic design, photography, branding, packaging, and digital art. We’ll also include over 40 different pastel palette examples and ideas for inspiration.
Want to find more color combinations? Read our article Inspirational Color Combinations in 2022.
1. What Are Pastel Colors?
In short, pastels are pale colors with higher value and lower saturation in the HSV color model. Pale tints of primary and secondary colors. They are often described as soothing, washed-out, milky, and soft because of their weak chromatic content. Some of the most commonly used pastel colors are peach, lavender, mint, baby blue, pink, and lavender.
Pastel colors can be easily created by adding luminance to any pure color. Just like with pure colors, pastels interact the same when it comes to creating color harmonies: complementary, analogous, and monochromatic. For example, the same as green is complementary to red, mint will go perfectly with the pale pink.
Such palettes are often used for home decoration, photography, fashion, graphic design, and packaging. Let’s see why.
2. How Pastel Colors Impact Your Audience?
Pastel palettes might be soft and subtle but they can make a powerful impact on your designs. Their dual personality brings the unique ability to soothe the viewer while still manage to maintain vibrancy and brightness. You might notice that just looking through pastel color palettes has somewhat of a therapeutical and calming effect on your mind.
These soothing color combinations can simultaneously calm and also boost the viewer’s mood due to the serene setting they create. This way your designs can impact your audience by creating a warm, energetic, and enthusiastic mood without exhaustion.
Pastels easily remind you of spring and summer, sweets and babies, and bring joy and optimism. Many brands that target the female audience choose such color palettes for their identity in order to channel feminity. In addition, some pastel combination with metallics also creates a feeling of luxury.
3. Tips For Your Pastel Palettes
Before we proceed with the huge collection of pastel interaction examples and ideas, let’s look through some tips that could try out when you decide to include pastel colors in your palettes.
- The powerful impact of pastels comes when you use them collectively. Just one single pastel tone alone might lose some of the impact of your palette due to its desaturation. Try to fully commit to pastels and the results will reward your bravery.
- To convey a more classy and luxurious mood to your designs, you could enhance your pastels with delicate warm metallics.
- An especially effective way to add edge and contrast to your designs is to combine your pastels with black or dark navy.
- If you go for a retro vibe, you could bring back the 50s in your designs through pairs of complementary combinations. For a palette with four colors, for example, pale pink and coral would look extremely versatile with baby blue and dark teal.
- For designs that aim to be soothing but don’t require the sweet cheerfulness of classic pastels, a little bit of muted pastel palettes with grey undertones are actually neutral and more formal.
4. Different Uses For Pastel Palettes in Design
With all this in mind, let’s explore the use of pastel colors in different fields of design from branding and web design to packaging and digital art. The soft colors look inviting, warm, joyful, and delicious. This is exactly why pastels gained so much popularity lately and we see them everywhere. It brings a great balance to our lives in a contrast to the stressful and chaotic geopolitical climate. These palettes convey that serenity and attract audiences with their grounded and bright nature, so we’ll have a look at many examples and see this effect in action.
4.1. Pastels in Infographics
Infographics are an excellent tool for boosting your online presence and identity, telling a story, or presenting yourself when you apply for a position. In all, the best thing about infographics is that can fit a lot of data in a well- structured simplified, and easy to digest way. With that being said, visuals are everything when it comes to creating infographics.
In order to make your heavy data readable and easy to scan, and to put emphasis on the most important elements that you wish your audience to see, you should definitely know how to combine colors and create accents and contrast. With pastel colors, you not only achieve this, but also make your infographics look lighter and easy on the eye without losing the contrast or the elements you need to be identifiable at first sight.
4.2. Pastel Palettes in Web Design
Most websites share one thing in common: they are clean, light-weight as a feather, and have a lot of negative space. Although sharing such similarities, they are very diverse in their creative way to combine colors. Since today we focus on pastel colors only, we’ve included some amazing examples of web designs that use such palettes.
4.3. Pastel Colors in Digital Art
When it comes to digital art, pastel palettes bring a part of the 80s retro-futuristic feeling in a new more modern, and sophisticated way. The neons are replaced with softer tones and the visuals look more delicate. In the following examples, you’ll notice how well pastels work with art, especially 3D art and flat design.
4.4. Pastel Colors in Packaging
When it comes to packaging, the best use for pastel colors is in the fashion, cosmetics, baby clothing, and food industries. In fashion and cosmetics, pastels look luxurious and high-end; for baby clothing, they feel tender and soft, while for food packaging they bring extra sweetness and deliciousness.
4.5. Pastel Colors in Graphic Design
Just like in web design, graphic design also benefits from pastel colors and their soothing and warming effect. The use of these color combinations is versatile, as they always add luxury to the softness.
4.6. Pastel Colors in Photography
Photographers use pastel colors to add more surrealism and modernity. These combinations complement the beautiful compositions with powerful yet airy and light colors. Photographies with dominating pastel colors are ideal for fashion magazines, futuristic compositions and product photography, especially in the clothing and food industries.
5. Pastel Palette Examples
We’ve arrived at the best part of today’s journey in the world of pastel colors. Let’s enjoy some examples of pastel palettes that aim to inspire you and convince you further of why these soothing colors are so amazing and why everyone loves them so much.
5.1. Pastel Palettes with Pink
Baby pink, rose, punch, blush, flamingo, lemonade. Pastel shades of pink are feminine, lively, adorable, and delicious. Palettes with pastel pink invoke tenderness, joy, love, and extreme cases of the munchies for something sweet.
5.2. Pastel Palettes with Violet
Violet is the color of spring. This is why most shades have the names of flowers and fruits: violet, lilac, lavender, orchid, floral, mulberry or plum. Combined with baby blues or mint greens, violet communicates youth and sensuality.
5.3. Pastel Palettes with Blue
The color of the ocean and sky communicates serenity, inspiration, and calmness. In its pastel shades, it adds a sense of security, curbs appetite, and stimulates productivity.
5.4. Pastel Palettes with Green and Teal
Teal is the perfect balance of the stability of blue and the optimism of green. It brings elegance and balance to the pallete and it’s often used in logos, web design, and interior design. It looks great with coral, pastel purple, and brown.
5.5. Pastel Palettes with Peach and Brown
Peach brings a high degree of positivism and rejuvenation. It has great stimulating benefits and when combined with other similar pale yellow and pinkish tones or brown, it significantly improves the mood and increases happiness. Depending on the intensity of the colors, it can fill your designs with positive energy and romance.
5.6. Pastel Palettes with Crimson
This color creates the feel or urgeny and stimulates the body. In more washed-out and soothing shades, however, that intensity loses a little bit of its pressure and creates more welcoming and easy-on-the-eye visuals. This goes especially when crimson is combined with peach, pinks, pastel blues, and greyish green.
5.7. Pastel Palettes with Yellow
What we know about yellow is that in more vibrant tones provokes urgency, creates anxiety and discomfort that draws impulsive buyers and window shoppers. In warmer tones and combined with pastels, softer browns and even greys, yellow calms down its anxiety and still keeps its optimism and cheerfulness.
5.8. Mixed Pastel Palettes
In this section, we will see pastel color combinations in their full potential with mixed palettes that have both warmer and colder tones and create perfect colorful harmony.
In conclusion, what we can say about pastel colors, is that they are beautiful, versatile, and can be great mood boosters. Although pastels were recently viewed as old- fashioned, their obvious benefits and contemporary vibe has brought them back on top as a trend.
So what do you think about the obsession with pastel colors and their huge presence in branding? Would you use these soothing palettes in your design?
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