Basic color schemes - Introduction to Color Theory

With colors you can set a mood, attract attention, or make a statement. You can use color to energize, or to cool down. By selecting the right color scheme, you can create an ambiance of elegance, warmth or tranquility, or you can convey an image of playful youthfulness. Color can be your most powerful design element if you learn to use it effectively.

The Color Wheel Primary, Secondary and Tertiary Colors Warm and cool colors Tints, Shades, and Tones Color Harmonies - basic techniques for creating color schemes - Complementary - Analogous - Triadic - Split-Complementary - Rectangle (tetradic) - Square

Colors affect us in numerous ways, both mentally and physically. A strong red color has been shown to raise the blood pressure, while a blue color has a calming effect. Being able to use colors consciously and harmoniously can help you create spectacular results.

The Color Wheel

Warm colors are vivid and energetic. Primary. and tend to advance in space. the result is a different tone. ColorImpact is designed to dynamically create a color wheel to match your base color. the result is called a tint. Another six tertiary colors are created by mixing primary and secondary colors. Tints. there are a number of color combinations that are considered especially pleasing. Over the years. White. Cool colors give an impression of calm. many variations of the basic design have been made. The first circular color diagram was designed by Sir Isaac Newton in 1666. orange and purple) are created by mixing two primary colors. yellow and blue. the darker version is called a shade. although they describe fairly simple color concepts. secondary and tertiary colors. These are called color harmonies or color chords and they consist of two or more colors with a fixed relation in the color wheel. The color wheel is designed so that virtually any colors you pick from it will look good together. The above illustration shows the color circle with the primary. . and Tones These terms are often used incorrectly. and create a soothing impression. Click on the labels to turn the colors on / off. Traditionally. Secondary and Tertiary Colors In the RYB (or subtractive) color model.The color wheel or color circle is the basic tool for combining colors. Shades. The three secondary colors (green. the primary colors are red. Warm and cool colors The color circle can be divided into warm and cool colors. black and gray are considered to be neutral. If a color is made lighter by adding white. If black is added. but the most common version is a wheel of 12 colors based on the RYB (or artistic) color model. And if gray is added.

.basic techniques for creating color schemes Below are shown the basic color chords based on the color wheel. The high contrast of complementary colors creates a vibrant look especially when used at full saturation.Tints .adding white to a pure hue: Shades .adding gray to a pure hue: Color Harmonies . Complementary color schemes are tricky to use in large doses. but work well when you want something to stand out.adding black to a pure hue: Tones . This color scheme must be managed well so it is not jarring. Complementary colors are really bad for text. Complementary color scheme Colors that are opposite each other on the color wheel are considered to be complementary colors (example: red and green).

a second to support. Analogous color schemes are often found in nature and are harmonious and pleasing to the eye. the colors should be carefully balanced . even if you use pale or unsaturated versions of your hues.let one color dominate and use the two others for accent. In addition to the base color. it uses the two colors adjacent to its complement. Make sure you have enough contrast when choosing an analogous color scheme. This color scheme has the same strong visual contrast as the complementary color scheme. white or gray) as an accent. but has less tension.Analogous color scheme Analogous color schemes use colors that are next to each other on the color wheel. Triadic color schemes tend to be quite vibrant. Choose one color to dominate. They usually match well and create serene and comfortable designs. Triadic color scheme A triadic color scheme uses colors that are evenly spaced around the color wheel. The third color is used (along with black. Split-Complementary color scheme The split-complementary color scheme is a variation of the complementary color scheme. To use a triadic harmony successfully. because it is difficult to mess up. . The split-complimentary color scheme is often a good choice for beginners.

Rectangle (tetradic) color scheme The rectangle or tetradic color scheme uses four colors arranged into two complementary pairs. . Square color schemes works best if you let one color be dominant. You should also pay attention to the balance between warm and cool colors in your design. Tetradic color schemes works best if you let one color be dominant. Square color scheme The square color scheme is similar to the rectangle. You should also pay attention to the balance between warm and cool colors in your design. but with all four colors spaced evenly around the color circle. This rich color scheme offers plenty of possibilities for variation.

Color Wheel A color wheel is really just the spectrum twisted around so that the violet and red ends are joined. red. Primary Colors Among the colors in the color wheel. Green and Blue? . The color wheel really consist of a continual gradient of the colors in the spectrum.asp Color Theory is the art of mixing colors to achieve desired effects. green and blue. Why red. there are three colors which are referred to as the primary as seen in the figure to the left. The color wheel is particularly useful for showing how the colors relate to each other and how you can create new colors by mixing two or more colors.Color Theory and the Color Wheel http://www. All other colors can be created by mixing these three colors. The primary colors are. A common way to explain the relationships of the different colors is to display them in a color wheel. The way colors are combined can be used to create different feelings and responses. but to make things a little easier I will divide the wheel into twelve distinct colors.colorsontheweb.

where k stands for black). as seen in the illustration to the left. green and blue. the primary colors in printing is considered cyan. Subtractive Color System As I said above. In the additative system. Additive Color System If you look very closely at your computer screen or TV (any color source that emits the light itself) you will see that it is built up of tiny red. magenta and yellow. (commonly referred to as cmyk. magenta and yellow.There really is nothing intrinsically primary about red. The subtractive colour system is what comes to play when the color does not emit any light of its own. but reflects light from its surroundings.This might require a bit more explanation . you get white when the three primary colours are present at 100%. green and blue dots. in the print industry the primary colors are considered cyan. you get black when all colours are mixed. . In the subtractive colour system. rather they are just points on thecolor wheel. This color system is commonly referred to as the Additive Color System. This is also called the subtractive color system. In fact.

Since on the web we are dealing only with colors on the screen. the theory and color combinations will work out the same in either case. And since the relative position of the colors to each other is the same wheter you use the additive or subtractive system. . we will use the terminology from the additive color system.

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