Tips for Effectively using Holiday Colors and Graphics for Design

by Brittany Horton on December 2, 2011

This time of year is always fun for those creative types and designers, and even those who just like to have fun with making their own designs, because we get to get in the holiday mood, turn up the music, and have fun! There are a lot of elements that can be used in holiday designs for cards or invitations, for print or just for online use. We will go over a few of my favorite holiday tips, including holiday fonts, holiday colors, and the best holiday graphics and photographs!

Great Holiday Colors

You can always start with your greens and reds; those are the “obvious” Christmas colors. But, you can have a little more fun, and add more elements to your design if you add some silvers, golds, blues, and even other complimenting colors.

Christmas Colors by Jon Matthew Photography

Christmas Colors by Jon Matthew Photography

Here are some examples of fun holiday photographs from around the web that show you some different colors that can be used successfully for your holiday designs!

This is one of my favorite mixed color holiday images, it has some great pinks, blues, bright greens, red, and gold, and they all look festive together. You can get the colors used here and make your own design, follow instructions in the tip below for how to get the colors from this photo to use in your design.

Christmas Colors 2007 by JonMatthew Photography

Christmas Colors 2007 by Jon Matthew Photography

This one is a great example of blues, golds, silvers, and greens being used together for a festive holiday card or invitation. These samples I am providing are found by doing a search for Christmas in Flickr. I love getting inspiration from different photographers on Flickr; you see things you would not originally expect and it can bring your designs that element you previously did not think of.

The purples, blues, and oranges with the original red and green in this photograph is another great example of other complimentary colors that can be used in your designs for cards or invitations.

Christmas Baubles by Lee Ann L.

Christmas Baubles by Lee Ann L.

Don’t forget your prominent design principles that you want to always keep in mind when picking your colors: KISS–“keep it simple, silly!” You don’t want to use too many colors that distracts from your design. Start with a few colors, and see how it goes. You can even try doing it as a monochromatic color-scheme by just using one color family.

Although these three examples are of ornaments, you can find other great holiday photographs to get inspirations from that don’t just include ornaments.

A good tip for finding colors, if you find a photograph that you absolutely love the colors that are being displayed, visit http://www.degraeve.com/color-palette/, provide a link to the photo, and it will provide you with some of the colors being used.

Holiday Color Examples

Holiday Color Examples

Or if you are using Chrome you can download the eye dropper extension and select the colors you like to get the color information from that particular photograph. I have taken some of the colors from my first photograph example provided by this color picker and put them together in this attached image just to show you the colors together and what they can do.

One thing you will notice is how flat this example is; an effect you can apply to your colors and designs that helps give depth in holiday colors is a gradient effect. You can apply gradients in many of the design programs that you would generally use to create design, cards, or invitations, such as Photoshop, Illustrator, and InDesign.

Perfect Fonts for Perfect Holiday Designs

There are some really fun fonts out there, and a lot are designated for Christmas. I have shown a few of my favorites here, if you like them, just click on the image and it will send you to www.dafont.com where you can download it for free and even donate to the creator if you’re in the giving spirit.

Christmas Lights by GreyWolf Webworks

Christmas Lights by GreyWolf Webworks

Bonnet Font

Bonnet Font

Kingthings Christmas by Kingthings

Kingthings Christmas by Kingthings

Some great holiday fonts that can be used that don’t scream christmas like the examples above, are really good script fonts. The cursive and curls in script is ellegant and beautiful, like the script fonts used in the samples here.

Angelina by Angie Durbin

Angelina by Angie Durbin

Champagne  Font

Champagne Font

Freebooter Script by Apostrophic Labs

Freebooter Script by Apostrophic Labs

English Font

English Font

Chopin Script by Diogene

Chopin Script by Diogene

Holiday Graphics, Icons, and Photographs

Content Solutions 2010 Holiday Card Design

Content Solutions 2010 Holiday Card Design

Another tip I can provide is to go take photographs of your own holiday decorations. Pay attention to the details, get up close to your tree, or to your hanging wreath. You can use any of your festive holiday photos towards a design, like in this example of the 2010 Content Solutions Holiday Card.

If you find a photograph that you have taken of your holiday decorations, or maybe outside of the bright lights, or of local events, they can also be the key element to your holiday design like this client sample.

If you do not have any photographs, but really want to use one in your design, you can look at popular stock photo websites like www.istock.com or www.shutterstock.com. You can use images found here in your design to help give a deeper element to your design, or you can even purchase an image and manipulate it to be exactly what you are looking for.

Client Holiday Card Sample

Client Holiday Card Sample

Another helpful holiday tip is to find really fun graphics and icons to use, like ones from fonts at www.dafont.com that can be used in Christmas/holiday designs. For example, these Christmas icons, and snowflakes would be perfect additions to any holiday design. You can make them black or white or even in a different good holiday color, if you pick one of the icons from the font that you like, you can outline it, make it larger, and once it is outlined, you can make the icon a gradient, add a stroke to it, or add different effects to make the icon or graphic really pop!

LP Snowflake by ShadowyMist

LP Snowflake by ShadowyMist

Christmas Time by House of Lime

Christmas Time by House of Lime

Faux Snow by Ænigma

Faux Snow by Ænigma

If you are wanting to send out a printed or web holiday card or event invitation but don’t have the time or energy this busy holiday season, we can always help you create the perfect holiday design; just contact us today for a quote.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Tom Dumenjich December 2, 2011 at 10:16 am

Great article, Brittany! I especially like degraeve.com utility you mentioned. Everything you suggested will help me design my holiday cards this year.

Tom Dumenjich via Facebook December 2, 2011 at 10:16 am

Great article, Brittany! I especially like degraeve.com utility you mentioned. Everything you suggested will help me design my holiday cards this year.

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