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The Importance of Color and Color Combinations


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Choosing the color of your apparel and design is exciting, but it can also be tricky and overwhelming. Sometimes, certain apparel/ink color combinations look more vibrant on a computer screen than they do in real life. With a little guidance from our design team and this post, you can find the perfect combination for you and your apparel! 


Basic Color Relationships


color wheel
Image credit to Gravit Designer

In color theory, there are several kinds of relationships, but the three most commonly used color relationships are monochromatic, complementary, and analogous. 


Monochromatic color palettes include dark, medium, and light versions of the same, single color. To achieve this look, you will need to choose an ink color that is a tint lighter or shade darker than the shirt color. 


Complementary colors are located directly opposite each other on the color wheel, which allows for a dramatic contrast between the apparel and the design. This combination is often used by sports teams, such as the Los Angeles Lakers who use yellow and purple. 


Analogous colors are next to each other on the color wheel. These colors match well and are often pleasing to the eye, such as with yellow and orange, or blue and green. 



Colors Matter

Colors are a powerful communication tool that can affect emotions and the way we view people and brands. This is why choosing the right colors for your apparel and designs is important! Below are some charts that show what emotions and feelings are often attributed to various colors, along with suggestions for colors based on brands and companies. 




2013 01 20 Color Emotion Guide22
Image credit to The Logo Company


8 Color Combinations We Recommend


    • White and Blue 

      White and Blue

Both blue and white are classic choices for apparel colors, and they look great when paired together. This combination can be calming to the mind and eyes, and white offers a nice balance to whatever shade of blue you choose. 


  • Red and Yellow Red and Yellow

Red and yellow are both primary and analogous colors. This pairing looks great either way you put it, and whether you keep the colors bright or tone them down, this combination will always stand out. Red and yellow are often used by fast food and restaurants, as this combination is known to incite hunger. 


  • Orange and Blue

Blue and Orange

Orange and Blue are complementary colors, but not all complementary colors work well together. However, with the right shades and tints, these two colors make a beautifully balanced combination. Subtle orange apparel paired with navy blue can make for a unique look. With this pairing, you can also promote a visual opposition, such as fire and ice. 


  • Yellow and Blue

Yellow and Blue

Yellow and blue are both primary colors that pair well either way you put them. This combination is often used in company logos that aim to be customer-forward, as yellow is seen as an optimistic color and blue is seen as trustworthy. 


  • Black and Grey

Grey and Black

Black and grey are a classic pairing for shirt designs. Black prints have become popular, but a nice shade of grey on black apparel really pops! These colors balance each other out and offer a very sophisticated and powerful look. 


  • Blue and Grey 

Blue and Grey

Blue and grey come together really well to make tonally cool apparel. Grey offers stability to the wide ranges of shades that blue offers, allowing you to mix up the light and darkness between the two colors. 


  • Blue and Blue


Blue on blue is always a great monotone combination. The key to a perfect blueprint on blue apparel is to have the right contrast between the two shades of blue. Lighter shades of blue often echo the color of the sky and can represent freedom and airiness, while darker shades of blue are seen to represent honesty and trustworthiness. If you wanted to add another color to your blue on blue, violet and green are analogous colors that work well with blue. 


  • Green and Green


Green on green is another monotone combination that works really well. Green often symbolizes wealth and health, but also nature and harmony. Mixing and matching different shades of green can give you different unique looks that are sure to catch people’s eyes. 


Staff Favorites


Nick – CEO/Founder

Black ink on grey apparel. It’s a classic look that you can’t go wrong with! No matter what the shade of grey, it always looks good.


Ted – CFO/Founder 

Blue ink on blue apparel. The ability to mix and match the shades of blue offers a surprising number of combinations. 


Caroline – Marketing and Graphic Design

Black print on black apparel! It’s a unique look that can be hard to produce, but if done right it comes out very cool.


Becca – Graphic Designer

White ink on maroon or heathered red apparel. The contrast between the white ink and the dark apparel allows for any small details in the design to stand out.


Chop – Screen Print Manager

White ink with blue outlines on charcoal grey apparel. White on black is a classic look but adding the splash of blue changes the entire look and feel of the design and apparel. 


Steven – Direct-to-Garment Manager

Red ink on black apparel. It is a simple color palette, but you can’t go wrong with this combination. 



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