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Designing, in its core, is the marriage of efficiency and art, where the practical meets the aesthetic.

With design, you can tell a story through contrasting the sizes or placing your focal point where you break the pattern or rhythm of the background.

Designing is an exciting activity, but trying to think about how to be creative can take time and creative energy.

That is why using colors will be the muse to your creative juices. Through the use of a color picker, a software that can help you choose a color or even a color scheme, you can paint life to your designs. By using a good palette and a great color combination, you should be able to create colorful designs.

However, if you want to go beyond your limits and improve your color pairing skills, knowing the theories about the Color wheel and applying a color scheme would catapult your good design to an excellent work of art.

Color Theory: The Basics

We will be talking about color in the perspective of an artist.

For those who are more inclined to printers and printed media, their primary colors are magenta, yellow and cyan.

The primary colors (red, yellow and blue) are most commonly used by people since they’re easy for them to see. But computers and printers can easily detect magenta, yellow and cyan. This is due to our differences in catching the same light wavelengths.

First off, there are three main color groupings found in the color wheel.

These are the primary colors, followed by a combination of those colors that will give rise to the secondary colors and lastly the tertiary colors.

  • The primary colors are Red, Yellow and Blue. They have the ability to mix with other colors to create hues and intensity. They are chosen as the primary colors since the wavelengths of light that the human eye catches transmit these three the best.
  • The secondary colors appear when two of primary colors are mixed together. In the color wheel, these are the colors that are located to the right and are primarily orange, purple and green.
  • Tertiary colors are those which are products of combining a primary and a secondary color together.

In a more scientific manner, colors are the product of light bouncing through textures. To put it simply, primary colors are those that our eyes easily can get. Secondary colors are those that have an extra layer of texture when the light bounces. Tertiary colors are those made when the color of light is mixed by the color of pigment.

By mixing colors, you can get wonderful combinations that can grab attention.

Color Scheme and Wheel

One of the principles of design is the concept of rhythm, which color can have a very big impact on.

Rhythm can be linear or progressive, and color can make the rhythm of your design more stable, like only using one specific hue and color, or moving, like decreasing the density of the color the farther the pattern goes from the starting point. This gives it a flowing rhythm.

To further improve your abilities to mix colors, you can use complementary colors, which are colors that work great together.

For instance, a light blue wall is refreshing, but adding a light orange focal point, perhaps a bright lamp that is turned on or a souvenir you can hang like a painting, will give more character to the room.

Complementary colors are those that are opposite each other in the color wheel.

For those who like designing with a bigger emphasis on ambience and mood, you can use warm or cool color.  You can divide the color wheel in half and the part where the color blue is in the outer center part would be cool colors.

The other side with yellow and orange on the other outer center part would be the warm colors.

If you want to have an exciting mood or warm ambiance, use warm colors; and for the opposite effect, you can use the cool colors.

Two Easy Color Schemes to Use

For those who are still learning how to do proper color combination, you can use an analogous color scheme, or a triadic one.

You can use an analogous color scheme as well, where you pick three colors located beside each other. With the three colors, pick one which is the main focal point, another color that works as a background and finally the other color as an accent.

For those who want a more contrasting color scheme, you can use a triadic one, where you choose three colors that are evenly spaced in the circle. Interestingly, even if you use warm colors, you will still have a more vibrant design compared to a more serene color scheme from an analogous color scheme.

If you are having some problems with choosing what colors are analogous or triadic, you can use a color picker. Just make sure that you stick to your color plan so that you can create pleasing and consistent designs.

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