Choosing the Right Neon Shades

When selecting neon brights, opt for pure intense versions of colors like:

  • Neon yellow
  • Neon pink
  • Neon green
  • Neon orange
  • Neon blue

Avoid muted or dusty versions of these shades that don’t pack the same visual punch. Neon works best when the colors are unapologetically bold.

Using Neon as an Accent

Neon brights work best when used sparingly as accents against more neutral backdrops. Trying to incorporate too many neon shades into one design can look garish.

Instead, choose one neon color and use it:

  • For small details on clothes, like piping on seams or edges of pockets
  • As eye-catching graphics on a neutral t-shirt or poster
  • On accessories like bags, shoes, jewelry
  • As a bright pop of color in your hair or makeup

This makes the neon really stand out against the subtler backdrop.

Pairing Neon Colors Together

When combining multiple neon shades, stick to 2-3 maximum. Neon colors already compete for attention, so too many together gets visually overwhelming.

Some pairings that work well:

  • Neon pink + neon blue
  • Neon yellow + neon green
  • Neon orange + neon purple

Make one neon the dominant shade, and use less of the secondary color for balance.

Complementary Neutrals

Pair neon brights with neutral colors like white, black, gray, tan, or pale blues and pinks. Neutrals let the neon shades take center stage while also grounding the overall look.

Some examples:

  • Neon green pops against crisp white
  • Neon pink stands out on a black backdrop
  • Neon yellow accents look vibrant against pale blue

Avoid pairing neon with other really saturated shades like emerald or violet.

Watching Lighting Conditions

Neon brights change appearance under different lighting. Make sure to view fabrics or prints under the intended lighting conditions.

Neon can look slightly dull or muted in:

  • Overcast outdoor settings
  • Dim indoor environments

For the full effect, view neon colors in:

  • Bright natural daylight
  • Well-lit indoor spaces
  • Under artificial lighting like photography flashes

Using Caution with Neon

Because neon brights attract so much attention, use caution when incorporating them into outfits or designs:

  • Avoid neon overload by picking only one focal point
  • Make sure neon accents align with the overall aesthetic
  • Consider if neon is appropriate for formal or professional occasions
  • Test to ensure neon prints and fabrics are colorfast

When used judiciously, neon brights can add amazing vibrancy. Follow these tips to harness their power effectively.

Common Questions about Working with Neon Colors

What colors complement neon shades?

Neutrals like white, black, gray, and beige are perfect complements to neon brights. They allow the neon to stand out while grounding the overall palette. Other saturated shades can compete too much with neon.

How do you wear neon fashionably?

Use neon as an accent on accessories or details, rather than head-to-toe. Let neon be the focal point against more subtle clothing pieces. Also limit yourself to 1-2 neon shades for an outfit.

Can you wear neon to the office?

In small doses, neon can work for casual office environments, particularly on accessories. But avoid large neon outfit pieces for formal office settings. Muted neon tones may fit business attire better than pure intense versions.

Does neon look cheap?

Overdone neon can look tacky. But used strategically, neon makes designs and outfits look bold, creative, and modern. Ensure quality materials and tailoring so neon pieces look purposeful.

What skin tones look best with neon?

Neon flatters and pops against darker skin tones. Pale complexions can also pull off neon well when worn near the face. Opt for softer pastel versions of neon if extremely fair.

How do you use neon in graphic design?

In graphics, limit neon to accents like logos, icons, or text. Against more neutral backgrounds, small neon details will capture attention. Avoid neon overload by only using it minimally.


Neon brights immediately grab attention, so handle them skillfully. Use neon as sparse accents against plain backdrops, combine no more than 2-3 neon shades, pair with neutral complements, and watch lighting conditions. When used thoughtfully as a vibrant splash of color, neon can take any outfit or design to the next level. Work neon into your wardrobe or creative projects, but follow these tips to keep the look polished instead of overwhelming.