Color Ambassador: Lexi Daly

Good morning! Welcome to this month’s color installment! Today I thought it was a good time to take a look at neutrals. Gray, black, white, tan, brown and off-white are typically considered the basic neutral colors. Browns, tans, and off-white tend to make color schemes feel warmer, while black and white and greys can look warm or cool depending on the surrounding colors. While neutrals are an important component to almost any color scheme, today we’ll take a look at them as the main component.

Currently, we have three inks in the black/gray color family (with one on the way!) and four basic browns – a nice range for monochromatic neutrals. Adding a single bright or bold accent color to either of these neutral palettes is one of the most basic color schemes to try. The idea is somewhat similar to designing with monochromatic colors but even easier to pull off. It’s also one of the most visually striking color schemes.

Let’s start with shades of gray. I made two cards using Soft Stone and Smokey Shadow along with Dapper Chap and Shape Up: Tuxedo. I just adore these bowties!

I’ve had this idea in my head for a while now – a pattern of gray or black ties with one highlighted in color. I went with Soft Stone as my base tie color with Smokey Shadow as my pattern color rather than a strict black and white for a slightly softer look. And then I decided to further set apart my bright colored tie, popped up on its own layer. Pure Poppy and paisley seemed perfect for the sentiment: You’re my favorite! But really you could do any color bowtie here – and that is the beauty of neutrals with a pop.

Next, I used papers for my shades of gray: Smokey Shadow for the coat, Bitty Big: Soft Stone for the vest. I love this gift card holder – it’s so fun and the styling possibilities are endless. Of course, you can’t go wrong with a strong gray suit combo and a brightly colored tie. As you know, I’m partial to yellow, but again, any color tie works here – match it to your recipient!

For the tan and brown color scheme, I made two cards using Classic Kraft, Cocoa Bean and Dark Chocolate with A Bit More: Paws & Kisses, paired with the hello speech bubble from Traveler’s Journal: Passport Cover for my pop of color.

As you might remember, I tend to create designs with more white space (coming up next!), but I also really like using stamps to create pattern elements. Following suit from my shades of gray pattern, I created a cute little puppy pattern with the puppy and the best dog sentiment ever – what’s up, dog? Since it’s just a cool way to say hello, the oversized hello speech bubble was the perfect way to add my pop of color. Tip: stamp your first puppy and sentiment in the right place for your speech bubble and build the pattern from there.

As promised, here’s the clean and graphic/white space version. Immediately upon stamping the first puppy and sentiment to start my pattern, I knew I would be making this one. I wanted to stay true to my pattern idea, but I had to stay true to my standard style too, lol! For added interest, I stamped the paw prints to the kraft card base before adhering my white panel, making sure that my speech bubble extended over the edge. Again, any color could be used for these speech bubbles!

So there you have it – one of the easiest, yet most striking color scheme ideas. Neutrals with a pop. While I created cards with subject matter that naturally led to neutral colors, there is plenty of room for experimentation with unexpected imagery. The next time you’re stuck in a rainbow or other rut, pull out your neutrals and add a single bright color – perhaps your favorite or one to match your mood! Is this a color strategy you use often? If not, what do you think? Please sound off in the comments!

Have a colorful day!
🙂 lexi


You’re My Favorite card
STAMPS: Dapper Chap, Everyday Affection
INK: Soft Stone, Smokey Shadow, Pure Poppy
PAPER: Stamper’s Select White, Smokey Shadow
DIES: Shape Up: Tuxedo, Shape Shifters: Square 1
OTHER: MISTI, foam tape

Tuxedo card
STAMPS: Dapper Chap
INK: Harvest Gold
PAPER: Stamper’s Select White, Smokey Shadow, Bitty Big: Soft Stone
DIES: Shape Up: Tuxedo
OTHER: MISTI, Scor-tape, Mult Medium Matte, foam tape

What’s Up, Dog? pattern card
STAMPS: A Bit More: Paws & Kisses
INK: Classic Kraft, Cocoa Bean, Dark Chocolate
PAPER: Stamper’s Select White, Blueberry Sky, Classic Kraft
DIES: Traveler’s Journal: Passport Cover
OTHER: foam tape, 2-Way Glue Pen

What’s Up, Dog? pawprint card
STAMPS: A Bit More: Paws & Kisses
INK: Classic Kraft, Cocoa Bean, Dark Chocolate
PAPER: Stamper’s Select White, Limeade Ice, Classic Kraft
DIES: Traveler’s Journal: Passport Cover
OTHER: foam tape

Lexi Daly

Author Lexi Daly

a crafter since crayons, a computer nerd since the early apple, a hostess with the mostest, a maker of stamps and cards. graphic designer, teacher, mom of two girls.

More posts by Lexi Daly

Join the discussion 12 Comments

  • 1
    Jan Metcalf says:

    Great post Lexi! Just never think to use the neutrals for the main design and these are wonderful cards!

  • 2
    merryf says:

    Love this color lesson! These are all fabulous — my eye is pulled to the red and yellow bow-ties!

  • 3
    Sue says:

    Love your samples

  • 4
    christal mclean says:

    Love those doggies! Gotta go try these great tips!

  • 5
    Catherine Milne says:

    Clear instructions + great tips + color theory + simple, graphic design = another informative Lexi card post! Again, I always, always, always learn something from your examples and explanations, Lexi.

  • 6
    MelissaF says:

    Great tips for using neutral colors, these cards are so awesome: neutrals are NOT boring as shown by your graphic, stunning cards! I’m loving the color theory series, and frequently go back to previous posts in this series as I think they are one of the best on color theory especially for card makers/stampers.

  • 7
    Kathy Mc says:

    Just what Catherine said, Lexi! Always appreciate your color lessons and excellent examples. Can’t wait to play with this color concept soon!

  • 8
    Lynn W says:

    I always love your color lessons, Lexi. Thanks to you and PTI for providing such useful information on this basic principle of crafting. The lessons can be translated to any creative project.

  • 9
    Joyce says:

    Fantastic lesson. I always look forward to your posts. I learn new things all the time from you.

  • 10
    Lisa S. says:

    Another great color tutorial! Thanks, Lexi, I’m learning so much from you.

  • 11
    Greta H says:

    Great post, Lexi! I love a pop of color, but tend to use it just with black & white. I love the grays with the color & that gift card holder is just fabulous! Being a total doggy person, those cards have my heart! I especially love the CAS one with the pawprint strip–perfect! Thanks for doing these color posts. I pulled out my notebook last night to figure out what colors to use for the card I was making. Ended up using Hawaiian Shores, Green Parakeet & Harvest Gold which I would never have come up with on my own. I’m hoping my neighbor who commissioned an 80th BD card will love it as much as I do!

  • 12

    Lexi Daly, thanks so much for the post.Really thank you! Great.

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