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What Is A Color Wheel And The Best Ways To Use It

By Author: Betty Reyyes
Total Articles: 8

Color Theory is a series of principles used to design harmonious color blends. These chromatic relationships can be illustrated with a color wheel. The first circular diagram was invented by Sir Isaac Newton in 1666. Ever since, countless variations have been examined and advanced by both scientists and artists.

The color wheel is a circular representation of colors, historically built upon the primary colors of red, blue and yellow. Primary colors are those that can not be obtained by any mix of other colors, while each of the other colors can be created from the three primary colors. Secondary colors are created by blending primary colors. Green comes from mixing yellow and blue, orange, from red and yellow, and so on.

Tertiary colors come from blending a primary and a secondary color. These color blends are known by two-word names, such as: yellow-orange, red-orange, red-purple, etc. A lot of color wheels are built upon three primary colors, three secondary colors, and the six tertiary colors, for a total of 12 main divisions; some add more intermediates, for 24 named colors.

The color wheel can be separated into cool and warm colors. Warm colors are energetic and vivid, while cool colors impart calm and a soothing impression. White, gray and black are considered neutral. A tint is a color made lighter by adding white; if black is added, the resulting color is called a shade. Combining gray to a color develops a tone.

Apart from representing chromatic relationships, the color wheel is used to design color schemes, or color blends, that are balanced and harmonious. Harmony and balance are achieved by the aesthetic contrast that exists between color blends. There are a number of types of color schemes that can be applied to achieve the final effect being sought.

Complementary color schemes are designed by partnering colors that are opposite each other on the color wheel. This develops high contrasting blends that are very vibrant; they should be used strategically, and are really useful if you need to feature something. The split-complementary color scheme is a variant on the complementary color scheme. It carries the same strong visual contrast, but with reduced tension.

A triadic color scheme uses colors that are equally spaced around the color wheel. Similarly to complementary color schemes, triadic color schemes tend to be very vibrant. To use this scheme successfully, the colors need to be well balanced: one color dominating, the two others for accent.

The rectangle color scheme uses four colors set up into two complementary pairs each. It generates a rich mix that works best if one color is dominant. The balance between cool and warm colors needs particular focus. The square color scheme is similar to the rectangle, however, the four colors are equally spaced around the color wheel. Once again, it works best if one color is dominant, and the balance between cool and warm colors must be managed.

Analogous color schemes combine colors that are beside each other on the color wheel. The outcome is normally a serene, calm and comfortable color mix. However, make sure to have enough contrast to avoid a washed-out look.

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Betty Reyyes is a Home Business Owner who loves passing on her experiences to others and has found that using Chalkboard Pens has helped her tenfold in both business and as a hobbiest.

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