Color Theory

What is Color?

Color is used in design to attract attention, group elements, indicate meaning, enhance aesthetics. Color can make designs more visually interesting and can reinforce the organization and meaning of elements of design. It is used to generate emotions, define importance, and create visual interest.

color-wheel
Color Wheel

There are various color types (primary to analogous) and relationships (monochromatic to triad).


Color Types

primary

 

Primary Colors
Colors at their basic essence; those colors that cannot be created by mixing others.

 

secondary

 

Secondary Colors
Those colors achieved by a mixture of two primaries.

 

tertiary

 

Tertiary Colors
Those colors achieved by a mixture of primary and secondary hues.

 

complementary-1

 

Complementary Colors
Those colors located opposite each other on a color wheel.

 

analogous-1

 

Analogous Colors
Those colors located close together on a color wheel.


Color Relationships
monochromatic

Monochromatic Relationship
Colors that are shade or tint variations of the same hue.
Black (shade) or white (tint) is added to a color (hue).

 

complementary

 

Complementary Relationship
Those colors across from each other on a color wheel.

 

split

 

Split-Complementary Relationship
One hue plus two others equally spaced from its complement.

 

double

 

Double-Complementary Relationship Two complementary color sets; the distance between selected complementary pairs will effect the overall contrast of the final composition.

 

analogous

 

Analogous Relationship
Those colors located adjacent to each other on a color wheel.

 

triad

 

Triad Relationship
Three hues equally positioned on a color wheel.

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