How To: Choose a Postcard Color Scheme
Scheming up a quality color scheme is key to great postcards!

Design Master

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It’s no secret that color plays a powerful role in making or breaking any design, and postcards are no exception.

Selecting the right color scheme for your design could be the difference between an attractive design that grabs the attention of your audience or just another piece of junk mail that heads straight to the trash.

If you want to select the right colors for your next postcard, this short guide has a few great tips you will want to take advantage of.

Besides being pleasing to the eye, color’s main function is communication. To achieve effective communication, you need to define your message and focus on your identity and goals.

TIP: Not all colors are equally suited for all kinds of content and businesses. Corporate businesses often choose sober and neutral hues, like blue and gray. Many retailers attract potential buyers with exciting bright colors, while businesses that want to emphasize their preoccupation with environmental problems have a preference for earthy tones and green.

These are just examples and rules are meant to be broken. You can adapt the most diverse colors to your postcard once you have a strong concept for it.

Step 1 - Know your goals

Chelsea Arruda

The postcard must not only reflect your business but also your audience. Think about your ideal recipients: Who are they? What is their gender, age, taste and average lifestyle?

TIP: A young audience has very different taste from a mature one. Likewise men and women can find appealing different colors. You need to know a little bit about your recipients’ demographics to get closer to them.

Step 2 - Know your recipients

Hillary Thomas

If you want to create a cohesive scheme, you can use images or illustrations as a reference.

Creating a color scheme based on images that convey a message or mood is one of the easiest ways to ensure the colors will be as you want throughout the postcard.

TIP: Use the color picker in your image editor to select four to six main hues from the image of your choice. With these, make a palette to use in your postcard.

Step 3 - Use image references

Emelie Halston

People love to get postcards because they make it easy to get into the mood of a special season and occasion.

Vibrant yellows, oranges and blues immediately evoke the energy and joy of sunny summer, while the red, green and white combo is the very essence of Christmas.

TIP: Adapting or reinventing classic and traditional color palettes can help you create a visually-effective postcard.

4 - Follow the mood of the season

Olga Vasik

If the above are still not enough, you can take a shortcut and use a color scheme that someone else created. Find an example that suits your goals, audience and season, and replicate what they did in your design.

TIP: In addition to our great selection of postcard inspiration articles, a few other sites we would recommend are: ColourLovers, deviantART and Design Seeds.

Step 5 - Find inspirational examples

Serena Sundai

A postcard is a powerful communication tool, but to make it really work, you need to have a strong grasp of your goals and be open to meet the expectations of your recipients. Fortunately you have many references and tools available to help you compile the best color scheme for your purpose.

Keep trying our different schemes and colors, changing and comparing, until you find the look that feels right for you!

About the Author
Kristi Maddox is a master of graphic design, on-site design and ordering, and is the go-to for template and design tool usage.
Kristi and the team order print jobs from every major printer to test quality, value, customer service, and more. See their reviews here:


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