Color Theory: Color Harmonies

Most everyone would agree that color is a necessity as a human. It creates diversity and interest, as the world would most likely be quite uninteresting if there wasn’t such a thing as pigment and hue. In a design, color allows one to draw an audience into a design or product through visual appeal. Through the use of color harmony, we are able to pair together hues that are pleasing to the eye and work together. Color theory, specifically color harmonies, focus solely on this sentiment. Color theory is the idea that psychological science works with fine art to create a pleasing design. If you want to enhance the aesthetics of a teaching project, just keep these color harmonies in mind!

Complementary: Pinpoint a color on the color wheel and then look to the color directly across from the color you chose, what do you see? The color that you originally chose and it’s complementary color. This color is the original color’s opposite. Red’s opposite is green, and blue’s opposite is orange. Specifically, red’s opposite is the secondary color: green. Orange is a secondary color and also the complementary color of blue.


Double-Complementary: This is similar to the complementary color scheme as it focuses on complementary colors, so a color and it’s opposite color on the color wheel. But this time, there are four colors that are directly across from each other that make up a double-complementary color scheme.


Split-Complementary: This color harmony uses three colors to make an appealing color scheme. Put simply, split-complementary is the colors that are adjacent from the color that is directly across from them on the color wheel. Here’s an example, red-purple, green, and red-orange are split-complementaries to one another. Notice that in a regular complementary color scheme, red and green would be complementary, but in a split-complementary, red’s adjacent colors are what are being used in this color harmony.


Analogous: Probably the most simple out of the the color harmonies, the analogous color harmony are the colors that are next to one another on the color wheel. Typically analogous colors come in thirds, but it’s possible to use more than three colors. An example would be blue, blue green, and green, or blue-purple, purple, and red-purple.


Triadic: A triadic color scheme is three equally spaced colors on the color wheel, these colors make an equilateral triangle. For example, blue-purple, green-yellow, and red-orange make up a triadic color scheme, just like red, blue, and yellow make up another triadic color harmony.


Monochromatic: A monochromatic color scheme is the tints and shades within a color value spectrum. In other words, it is a color harmony where the color varies in lightness and darkness. To illustrate this, think of blue as it get’s darker or lighter, that would be it’s monochromatic color scheme.


Through using one of the few color harmonies, you’ll be able to create a pleasing project for your students to learn from. Have you used these color harmonies before? Tell us when it was, down below in the comments section!

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