In many design-related fields, professional strategies for selecting appealing color schemes generally follow the same rules.

When discussing color, professionals from different disciplines use their own terms to describe similar color principles: web designers refer to primary, secondary and accent colors while interior designers speak of dominant and secondary hues and accent color. Color selection processes are analogous in most domains where visual harmony is required.

Normally, when a three-color scheme is being considered—rarely is it advisable to use more than three—the selected colors are combined with the 60-30-10 rule, which dictates that primary, secondary and accent colors take up 60, 30 and 10 percent of the overall visual space, respectively.

Depending on the industry and the message the client wants to convey, these percentages represent what could defined as the product’s visual readability factor. In fact, with a given shape, these numbers can be inversely proportional to the time required to identify and understand the overall impact of a particular color on the object’s final “brand statement.”

If we borrow from the cinematic language used to describe camera views and apply these concepts to CMF, the long shot or first read, corresponds to the viewer’s perception of an object’s main surface; in this view, we consider aspects of the object that are recognizable at first glance from a distance.

With the CMF medium shot or second read, we pull in closer to the object to examine the main surface finishing elements that are present, such as texture, or evaluate the functional parts.

The CMF close-up or third read, involves an evaluation of details that contribute to the product’s characterization as low, medium or high end. The third read can be an extremely important stage for enhancing the perceived value of an object and elevating it to a higher market niche.

A seasoned CMF advisor wisely navigates these three levels to take a product to the “next level” of recognition and brand appeal required by demanding clients.

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