Basic Color TheoryI try to apply colors like words that shape poems, like notes that shape music. - Joan Miro
What is Color?Color is what we see when light reﬂects off of anobject.WHITE = Reﬂection of all light/color wavelengths. When you see something that is white, you are seeing all the colors being reﬂected at you.BLACK = Absorption or absence of light/colorwavelengths. When you see something that is black, you are not seeing any colors at all.
Color SpectrumThe band of individual colors that results when abeam of white light is broken into its componentwavelengths, identiﬁable as hues.
Local ColorThe color as perceived bythe eye/brain (green grass,blue sky, red apple, etc.).
Properties of ColorHue = the actual color (ex. red, green, etc.)Value = the lightness/darkness of a color. High-Key Color: Any color that has a value level of middle grey or lighter. Low-key Color: Any color that has a value level of middle grey or darkerIntensity/Chroma = the saturation or purity of a color. Avivid color is of high intensity/chroma (like blood red),and a dull color is of low intensity/chroma (like green-grey).
Pigment - How We Make ColorAn insoluble substance of color,usually powder, that is addedto a liquid to produce paint /ink Examples: red pigment + linseed oil = red oil paint; blue pigment + egg = blue tempera.Soluble substances of colordissolved in liquid are dyes.
Primary ColorsHues that can’t be reducedor created by any othercolors. Red Blue YellowThey are used to mix allother colors.
Secondary ColorsA color produced bycombing two primarycolors Purple (Violet) Orange Green
Tertiary ColorsA color produced by amixture of a primary colorand a secondary color Yellow-Green Yellow-Orange Red-Orange Red-Purple Blue-Purple Blue-Green
Color SchemesThe choice of colors used in design.Are used to create style and appeal.A basic color scheme will use two colors that lookappealing together. More advanced color schemesinvolve several colors in combination, usually basedaround a single color.Can also contain different shades of a single color; forexample, a color scheme that mixes different shades ofgreen, ranging from very light (almost white) to verydark.
Complementary ColorsTwo colors directly oppositeeach other on the color wheel. Red & Green Yellow & Purple Blue & OrangeWhen used together, make bothcolors appear brighter or moreintense.If you mix two complementarycolors, the result is brown/black.
Vincent van Gough - Cafe Terrace at Nigh - 1888
Split-ComplementA color and the twocolors on either side ofits complement
Frederick Carl Frieseke - Through the Vines - 1908
Analogous ColorsColors that are closelyrelated in hues.They are adjacent to eachother on the color wheel. For example, Yellow, Yellow-Orange, and OrangeWhen used together,create a sense of harmony.
Color TriadThree colors spaced anequal distance apart on thecolor wheel forming anequilateral triangle.The twelve-color wheel ismade up of a primarytriad, a secondary triad,and two intermediate(tertiary) triads.
Color TetradFour colors, equally Four colors, arrangedspaced on the color into two complementarywheel. pairs.
MonochromaticHaving only one hue, butwith a complete range ofvalues in that hue. amara de Lempicka - Marquis Sommi - 1925
Warm ColorsSuggest warmth and seemto move toward the viewerand appear closer.Are vivid and energetic.Remember that warmcolors appear larger thancool colors. Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec - The Kiss - 1892
Cool ColorsSuggestcoolness andseem to recedefrom a viewerand fall back.Give animpression ofcalm. Vincent Van Gogh - Starry Night - 1889
NeutralsNo single color isnoticed - only a senseof lightness ordarkness.Also, a color altered bythe addition of itscomplement so that itis less intense, orgrayed. Georgia OKeeffe - Black Iris III - 1926
NeutralizationA color that hasbeen reduced inintensity (grayed)by being mixedwith any neutralor its complement.
Changing ValueYou can change thevalue of a color inthree ways: Tint = add white Tone = add gray Shade = add black
Simultaneous ContrastWhen two different colors come into direct contact,the contrast intensiﬁes the difference betweenthem.In the example above, both of the smaller boxes arethe same color, yet appear different because of thecontrast with the color of the larger boxes.