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  • Trish Whitsell

Little Lesson in Color Theory


What is color theory?   It is literally the epitome of any thing related to all design activity!  Understanding color is essential to visual composition, from web designers and artist, to architects and photographers!

Anyone can gain a grasp of why certain hues and palettes harmoniously work  together. More importantly any designer can learn which color combinations to avoid! 

Women love tints, while men prefer achromatic colors like white, black and neutral colors.  Most will agree that gender plays a role in color preferences, why then wouldn't cultural differences be a natural consideration?  One point that is often overlooked is that there are many cultural differences in color perception.

 Color psychology can be complex to understand, but it truly is a good tool for designers to understand clients and their demands.  Although, I have referenced color psychology,  I am not going to blog about it in this post.  Blame it on a creative mind always jumping into the next thought and idea! Or the fact blogging really isn't my thing...Lol 

Instead, let's take a look at a color wheel, primary (red, yellow, and blue), secondary colors(Green, orange, and violet), and also in modern color theory with  the six main tertiary colors (yellow-orange, red-orange, red-purple, blue-purple, blue-green & yellow-green).     

Did you know Isaac Newton created the first "color circle" in 1666.  Pretty cool huh?

Okay, now that you have an understanding of the terms and hues of the color wheel, let's move on to using color harmoniously.   

In color theory, color harmony is referring to colors that can be used together in an aesthetically pleasing manner.  Complemtary colors should not be confused with the idea of colors that "compliment" each other. In color theory it is a specific term that refers to combined hues used in a design scheme.  

Color harmony is to design with complementary colors which uses two pigments that are directly opposite each other on the color wheel!  This is where you are putting color theory into actual practice.  Each hue is made more vivid as a result of using two color with the greatest visual contrast!  How simple is that? 

Split-complementary designs, in contrast to complementary colors, this color scheme is defined by one of the two contrasting hues being split into analogous colors for greater color variation. 

Moving forward, if you have worked with an interior designer you have heard the terms color triads and analogous colors.   Have you ever wondered what those terms mean?  Triadic colors (color triads) use three colors that are equidistant to one another on the color wheel.  Are you starting to grasp how important that color wheel is yet?   By employing 3 hues that are farthest away from each other on the wheel a striking visual contrast is created!  

Analogous (related color harmonies) are made by implementing one main "primary" color and two or more color that are close in proximity on the color wheel.  This is actually a very basic and reliable way to create a visually appealing composition.   

Now that you have some basic knowledge and understanding of the use of color in design, are you ready to start working with one of our expert designers to help create your own Beautifully Done space?   Is it time for us to meet yet? 


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