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COLOR THEORY AND THE COLOR WHEEL
Have you ever wondered how designers and artists find excellent color combinations?
They use color theory. Color theory is a practical combination of art and science used to determine which colors complement each other. The color wheel was invented in 1666 by Isaac Newton, who mapped the spectrum of colors onto a circle. The color wheel is the basis of color theory as it illustrates the relationship between colors.
Colors that look good together are called color harmony. Artists and designers use them to create a specific appearance or feeling. To find color harmonies using the rules of color mixing, you can utilize the color wheel. Color combinations determine the relative positions of different colors to find ones that create a pleasing effect.
There are two types of color wheels. The RYB color wheel, which stands for Red, Yellow, Blue, is commonly used by artists as it aids in color mixing. Then there's the RGB color wheel, which stands for Red, Green, Blue and is designed for online use as it refers to mixing light - like computer screens or televisions.
Two colors located on opposite sides of the color wheel. This combination provides high contrast and a striking color combination - these colors appear brighter and more vibrant together.
Three shades, tones, and tints of a single base color. This provides a subtle and harmonious color combination. It's an all-purpose color scheme that works well in design projects for a cohesive look.
Three colors adjacent to each other on the color wheel. This color combination is versatile but can be quite overwhelming. To balance a similar color scheme, choose one dominant color and use the others as accents.
Three colors equally spaced on the color wheel. This provides a high-contrast color scheme but is less diverse than complementary color combinations. This combination creates bold and vibrant color palettes.
Four colors evenly spaced on the color wheel. Tetradic color schemes are bold and work best if you let one color dominate and use the others as accents. The more colors you have in your palette, the harder it is to balance.
PRIMARY, SECONDARY, AND TERTIARY COLORS
There are 12 primary colors in the color wheel. In the RGB color wheel, these colors are red, orange, yellow, chartreuse green, green, spring green, cyan, azure, blue, purple, magenta, and rose.
The color wheel can be divided into primary, secondary, and tertiary colors.
Primary colors in the RGB color wheel are colors that, when combined, create pure white light. These colors are red, green, and blue.
In the RYB color wheel, primary colors are colors that cannot be created by mixing other colors. There are three primary colors: red, yellow, and blue.
Secondary colors are colors created by mixing two primary colors. There are three secondary colors. In the RGB color wheel, they are cyan, magenta, and yellow. When you mix light, red and green make yellow, green and blue make cyan, and blue and red make magenta.
In the RYB color wheel, secondary colors are purple (red mixed with blue), orange (red mixed with yellow), and green (yellow mixed with blue).
Tertiary colors are colors created by mixing a secondary color with a primary color. There are six tertiary colors. In the RGB color wheel, they are orange, chartreuse green, spring green, azure, blue, and rose.
In the RYB color wheel, tertiary colors are red-orange, yellow-orange, yellow-green, blue-green, blue-purple, and red-purple.
WARM AND COOL COLORS
The color wheel can also be divided into two categories: warm and cool colors. Warmth or coolness of a color is also referred to as its color temperature. Color combinations found in the color wheel often have a balance of warm and cool colors. According to color psychology, different color temperatures evoke different emotions. For instance, warm colors are said to evoke feelings of warmth and energy, while cool colors are associated with calmness and solitude.
Warm colors include shades from red to yellow. These colors are often likened to the warmth of the sun.
Cool colors encompass shades from blue to green and purple. These colors are often likened to the coolness of water.
SHADOWS, COLORS, AND TONES
A shadow is created by adding black to a base color, darkening the color. This creates a deeper and richer color. Shadows can be quite dramatic and dominant.
A tint is created by adding white to a base color, lightening the color. It can reduce the intensity of the color and is useful when balancing livelier color combinations.
A shade is created by combining black and white - or gray - with a base color. Like colors, shades are subtler versions of the primary color. They appear less pastel-like and can reveal complexities not evident in the base color
COLOR, SATURATION, AND LUMINANCE
Color is essentially any color on the color wheel. When using the color wheel or a color picker, you can adjust the saturation and luminance of a color.
Saturation is the intensity or purity of a color.
Luminance is the amount of brightness or lightness in a color.