Have you ever asked yourself how artists and designers get a perfect color combination? They simply use the color theory to do so. But what is a color theory? It refers to a practical combination of science and art that determines what colors look good when combined. One aspect used in this process is the color wheel, which was invented by Isaac Newton back in 1666. Newton invented the color wheel by mapping a color spectrum onto a circle. This is what forms the basis of the color theory — it shows the relationship and linkage between colors.
Those that look attractive together are referred to as color harmony. They form an integral part of artists and designers activities because they use them to create a particular feel or look. There is a way you can use the color wheel to find the perfect harmony: through the rules of color combination. Similarly, color combination plays a role in determining the relative position of various colors to find colors with a pleasing effect.
To date, there exist two types of color wheels: RYB and RGB. Artists mostly use RYB (red, yellow and blue) color wheel because it helps in the combination of paint colors. RGB (red, green and blue), on the other hand, is mainly designed for online use. This is because it refers to mixing different lights, like TV screen or desktops. One typical example of the RGB color wheel is Canva’s color, which is also designed for online use.
The importance of color wheels is overwhelming. It does not only tell you how colors relate with each other but also indicates which ones work together and those that don’t. You, however, need to be very cautious when working with a color wheel because there’s more to mixing colors than mixing primary colors. This especially applies to those in the decorations and design industry.
The 3 Primary Colors
There exist three primary colors, namely blue, yellow and red. This section discusses them in details.
1. Primary Colors
There are three basic primary colors — red, yellow and blue. Theoretically, you can come up with any other color from this initial set. For example, when you mix the three colors equally, you are supposed to get a black color. This isn’t the case in reality. When you mix the three, you are more likely to get a murky greyish color.
2. Secondary Colors
By mixing any two primary colors, you get a secondary color. Here are a few examples: When you mix blue and red, you get purple. A mixture of yellow and blue produces green. Yellow and red produce orange.
These mixtures leave each primary color with a complimentary color. Some of the complimentary pairs include: red/green, blue/orange, and yellow/purple. Each pair can complement each other to create a neutral color.
This means that when mixing two primary colors with a secondary one, you add a third primary color and the three will reunite to form a murky grey color.
3. Tertiary Colors
Tertiary colors are formed by a mixture of primary and secondary colors. They are also called “territory colors”, but the term is not so common. Here are examples of how tertiary colors are formed. When you mix blue (a primary color) with green (a secondary color), you get turquoise. A mixture of blue and purple creates blue-violet. Similarly, a mixture of red (a primary color), and orange (a secondary color), produces yellow-orange.
One amazing fact you need to know is that when you align primary colors with secondary and tertiary colors around the ring of a color wheel, the complimentary pairs will always seat directly opposite each other.
This refers to two colors on the opposite sides of the color wheel. A combination of this caliber provides a high impact and a high contrast color combination. When put together, these colors more prominent and brighter.
This refers to the three tones, shades and tints of a single color base. Monochromatic give a conservative and subtle color combination. It is a simple color scheme that works excellently in design projects.
This refers to three colors that are side by side on a color wheel. It is a color combination that can be versatile and overwhelming. To get an analogous color scheme, pick one dominant color and use others as accents.
It refers to three colors that are evenly spaced on a color wheel. They have a high contrast color scheme, but less complementary color combination.
This refers to four colors that are evenly spaced on the color wheel. These colors are mostly bold and ideal for art and design.
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Yellow and blue, they create a playful and authoritative look.
Start by choosing a color on the color wheel then draw an equilateral triangle to find the two other colors.
A complementary color is found by combining two primary colors.
There are three primary colors, red, yellow and blue. Other colors are secondary and tertiary colors.