Get­ting Color: The Color Wheel Ex­plained

HWM (Malaysia) - - FEATURE -

Put dif­fer­ent col­ors to­gether, and you evoke dif­fer­ent moods and feel­ings. Color the­ory ex­plains why, and the color wheel ex­plains color the­ory.

What’s a color wheel?

A color wheel il­lus­trates the re­la­tion­ship be­tween pri­mary, sec­ondary and ter­tiary col­ors. The pri­mary col­ors are red, yel­low and blue. Sec­ondary col­ors are col­ors formed by mix­ing the pri­mary col­ors, green, or­ange and pur­ple. Ter­tiary col­ors are cre­ated from mix­ing pri­mary and sec­ondary col­ors.

There are ac­tu­ally many dif­fer­ent kinds of color wheels, but what’s im­por­tant about any color wheel is the way it shows you how com­ple­men­tary col­ors, anal­o­gous col­ors, and warm and cool col­ors, work.

Com­ple­men­tary col­ors

Com­ple­men­tary col­ors, some­times called con­trast­ing col­ors, are col­ors that lie op­po­site each other on the color wheel. For ex­am­ple, blue com­ple­ments or­ange. Th­ese col­ors pair well to­gether, and make the other look more vivid.

Anal­o­gous col­ors

Anal­o­gous col­ors are those that lie side by side on a 12-part color wheel. They look har­mo­nious to­gether, but cre­ate lit­tle con­trast. For ex­am­ple, or­ange and red look good next to each other, but they also look sim­i­lar.

Warm and cool col­ors

Warm col­ors are the col­ors from red through yel­low, with browns and tans in­cluded. Cool col­ors are the col­ors from blue-green to blue-vi­o­let.

In gen­eral, warm col­ors at­tract more at­ten­tion and will ap­pear closer to the viewer, even if they’re ac­tu­ally in the back­ground. Cool col­ors tend to re­cede into the back­ground. Plac­ing warm and cool col­ors to­gether creates strong con­trasts.

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