Using the color theory to achieve color harmony
Have you ever wondered how some people can achieve such perfection in design? How a particular website you came across had such a gorgeous color combination? Do certain color combinations seem “just right?”
Well, although it is true that some people just have the aesthetic sense, there are also a few basic principles people can follow to make sure they achieve a suitable color layout. These principles are based on the original color wheel proposed by Sir Isaac Newton, and across the centuries, the input of artists, scientists and other experts has lead to the development of a color theory—a fail-proof way to imbibe colors in design.
As noted by people who study color perception in the eye, certain colors tend to over-stimulate the eyes; causing discomfort. As a result, there are a few color combinations that tend to work particularly well; while other combinations don’t give that great an effect. The traditional artist color wheel of primary colors identifies red, yellow and blue as the colors used to “make” all the other colors. The secondary colors are those made by mixing the primary colors:
- purple is made by mixing red and blue
- green is made by mixing blue and yellow
- orange is made by mixing yellow and red
Following the secondary colors are the tertiary colors. These include blue-green, yellow-orange, yellow-green, red-purple (maroon) and other combinations of primary and secondary colors.
According to the color theory, harmonious combinations of color can take any of the following forms, which are known as basic color schemes:
- use of two colors that are exactly opposite each other on the color wheel
- use of three colors that form a triangle if their positions on the color wheel are joined
- use of two pairs of opposite colors so that the four colors form a rectangle
Aside from these color combinations, there are other ways to make a color scheme look really good.
- Sometimes people choose to work with one color only, i.e. a monochromatic color scheme; usually when trying to achieve an effect of formality. The scheme uses a gradient of the particular color so that brightness and saturation are varied to create texture.
- While using two main colors, designers might go for the analogous color scheme. This quite simply means using two colors adjacent to each other on the color wheel, with one color used to highlight the other. This creates a subtle, harmonious effect.
- The complementary color scheme is a classic choice when contrast is to be achieved. Complementary colors are opposite each other on the color wheel, so when used together, a vivacious color combination is produced. Most of the time, this scheme tends to juxtapose colors of different temperature.
- A double complementary color scheme is one which is rarely used, but when used, it creates a spectacular effect. In this, two pairs of complementary colors are used to give a colorful layout and a cheerful contrast.
- The split complementary color scheme is a very appealing combination, since it uses one pair of complementary colors and one more color that is adjacent to one of the first two colors. This accentuates the design and gives hue and depth to the color scheme.
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