You’ve probably noticed that neon colors are more striking than others. Whether on traffic cones or product packaging, they immediately catch the attention from any distance. They are just impossible to miss! The vibrant spectrum of neon colors can make any design stand out.

You can use drops of fluorescent colors in your products, ads, signs, or images to create a point of focus and make them stand out. Since they are so vivid and intense, neon colors can add excitement and energy to any visual. Yet, the application of fluorescent colors can be tricky — they are most effective when used carefully and sparingly. Bits of neon colors can grab attention, but too much neon can be distracting.

In this article, we’ve answered the main questions about neon colors to help you make a neon selection and create vibrant designs. Read through to discover the types of neon colors, how to design with them, and more!

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What are neon colors?

To put it simply, neon colors are just bright types of primary and secondary colors, such as green, yellow, red, blue, and purple. Neon colors stand apart from conventional colors since they absorb and reflect more light. Their pigments are luminescent, and only when light falls in the visible-to-the-human-eye spectrum does the color come out. Normally invisible ultraviolet rays add an extra glow to neon colors, helping them appear intense and bold.

Silhouette over neon lights

Are neon colors on the color wheel?

Neon colors were created using chemical methods and are rare to find in nature. They’ve been around only since the beginning of the 20th century, which is why they don’t appear on traditional color wheels. However, since neon colors are based on primary and secondary colors, a traditional color wheel can still provide tint and shade guidance. You can use it to create neon color combinations and choose complementary colors, although the contrast will be greater when colors are positioned together.

You can find neon colors on digital color wheels more often since they are more suitable for a light-emitting RGB model. Yet, because the CMYK model is additive and requires the layering of colored inks, it’s nearly impossible to show neon color in print without special pigments like Pantone’s.

Hostel neon sign

How to use neon colors?

Even for experienced professionals, designing with neon colors may pose a challenge. The extreme vividness of neon requires careful consideration and analysis of all the elements involved in the visual. The psychological associations of some neon colors are inherited from their base colors, but most shift to different relationships. For example, pure greens are usually connected with calmness and a natural environment. In contrast, neon green is closely linked to danger and warning since it is used in signage and highly visible clothing. Neon colors are also commonly associated with psychedelic art, rave culture, and nightlife, especially when put together with dark colors.

If you want to achieve a psychedelic aesthetic in your designs, you can use a neon-on-neon palette, which will allow you to create exuberant and electrifying combinations that immediately seize viewers’ attention. Triadic and tetradic color combinations can help you to create more contrast and create natural contradictions in composition.

However, neon colors can be too overpowering, so you may want to balance them with more natural and muted colors. Tone neon down by combining it with neutral shades of gray, beige, or brown. Your palette can include two, three, or even four monochromatic colors and only one neon. When used in moderation, a pop of neon will still brighten up your design but won’t overwhelm it. To find perfect combinations, look at 30 trendy neon color palettes we carefully curated for you.

Young Japanese girl stand near neon lights and pose to the camer

Types of neon colors

You can find a neon version of almost all conventional colors. Here are the common names, HEX, CMYK, and RGB codes of the main neon colors.

Neon yellows

Neon yellow
HEX #fff01f CMYK 0, 6, 88, 0 RGB 255, 240, 31

Fluorescent yellow
HEX #e9f721 CMYK 6, 0, 87, 3 RGB 233, 247, 33

HEX #e7ee4f CMYK 3, 0, 67, 7 RGB 231, 238, 79

Chartreuse yellow
HEX #dfff00 CMYK 13, 0, 100, 0 RGB 223, 255, 0

Blurred unrecognizable figure of a young girl hurrying down stre

Neon greens

Neon green
HEX #39ff14 CMYK 78, 0, 92, 0 RGB 57, 255, 20

UFO green
HEX #7fff00 CMYK 50, 0, 100, 0 RGB 127, 255, 0

Electric lime
HEX #ccff00 CMYK 20, 0, 100, 0 RGB 204, 255, 0

Close up female neck, collarbones and shoulders in pink neon light over dark background. Natural beauty, fitness, diet, spa, aesthetic cosmetology

Neon blues

Neon blue
HEX #1f51ff CMYK 88, 68, 0, 0 RGB 31, 81, 255

Electric blue
HEX #0ff0fc CMYK 94, 5, 0, 1 RGB 15, 240, 252

Close up of ice cubes in glass of alcoholic cocktail, beverage, drink in multicolored neon light

Neon reds

Neon red
HEX #ff3131 CMYK 0, 81, 81, 0 RGB 255, 49, 49

Electric orange
HEX #ff5e00 CMYK 0, 63, 100, 0 RGB 255, 94, 0

Vintage photo of Old Gramophone, playing a music. Neon light. Cinemagraph, retro record vinyl player. Record on turntable. Top view close up. Loop able

Neon pinks

Neon pink
HEX #ff44cc CMYK 0, 73, 20, 0 RGB 255, 68, 204

Plastic pink
HEX #ff1493 CMYK 0, 92, 42, 0 RGB 255, 20, 147

Neon magenta
HEX #ea00ff CMYK 8, 100, 0, 0 RGB 234, 0, 255

Beautiful sunset view on the high winter mountains peaks, on the

Neon purples

Electric purple
HEX #bc13fe CMYK 26, 93, 0, 0 RGB 188, 19, 254

Proton purple
HEX #8a2be2 CMYK 39, 81, 0, 11 RGB 138, 43, 226

Abstract art background, texture painting.

To wrap it up

Bringing neon colors into your designs can liven them up, injecting energy and excitement. By experimenting with neon combinations and tones, you can attract more attention and resonate with a broad audience. You may try neon-on-neon palettes to create electrifying visuals, or balance the brightness of neon colors by combining them with more neutral ones. In any case, adding neon to your ads, posters, newsletters, and social media posts provides a way to stand out! Be open to experimenting, and you’ll see what amazing results you can achieve with neon combinations!


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