The Basics of Color

To properly research the various philosophies of color, its influence and use, you must first understand the basics.  Below is a standard color wheel that we all remember seeing in art class in elementary school:

And to follow are some various terms, their definitions, and their influence as it relates to the color:

primary colors | red, blue, and yellow

secondary colors | violet, green, and orange

warm colors | red, orange, yellow

cool colors | blue, violet, green

complementary colors | colors across from each other on the color wheel (red & green, blue & orange, or violet & yellow)

analogous | colors that are next to each other on the color wheel (red-orange, red, & red-violet or green, blue-green, & blue)

triad | colors that are evenly spaced on the color wheel (red, blue, & yellow)

split-complementary | base color plus two colors adjacent to the base color’s complementary (red, yell-green, & blue-green or violet-blue, orange, & yellow)

rectangle (tetradic) | four colors arranged into two complementary pairs (red, orange, blue, & green or red, violet, yellow-green, & yellow-orange)

square | similar to rectangle except the colors are evenly spaced around the wheel (red, yellow-orange, green, blue-violet)

Complements to http://www.tigercolor.com/color-lab/color-theory/color-harmonies.htm for their explanation of these concepts.


1 Response to “The Basics of Color”

  1. 1 Mom
    January 28, 2010 at 8:40 am

    So informative!! Wow, I didn’t realize there was such a psychology to color. No wonder everyone likes blue – I want to feel like that, too!!

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