13 May 2011

004 Basic Colour Theory: Colour Schemes with the Colour Wheel

* Complementary colours
* Analogous colours
* Split complementary colours
* Split analogous colours
* Monochromatic colour scheme
* Triadic colour scheme
* Tetradic or quadratic colour scheme

What is a complementary colour? top

A complementary colour is the colour opposite any given colour on the colour wheel. Basic primary and secondary complementary colours:
  • Red and green
  • Orange and blue
  • Yellow and violet

Complementary colours are used to add tension or energy to something. Some examples include Ariel from Disney's The Little Mermaid (green tail, red hair) and Nemo from Finding Nemo (orange fish, blue water).

Note: It's "complement" not "compliment."

What is an analogous colour? top

An analogous colour is the colour beside any given colour. Basic primary and secondary analogous colours:
  • Red
  • Violet and orange
  • Orange
  • Red and yellow
  • Yellow
  • Orange and green
  • Green
  • Yellow and blue
  • Blue
  • Green and violet
  • Violet
  • Blue and red

Analogous colours are used to create harmony in a colour scheme. Many people would choose an analogous colour scheme when picking out an outfit to wear or colours for the walls of a room and furniture. (Or a monochromatic colour scheme. See below.)

What is a split complement colour? top

A split complement colour is the two analogous colours of any given colour's complement.

This sort of colour scheme would be used to create both energy/tension and harmony.

Some examples: Again, The Little Mermaid (Ariel's hair versus her blue eyes and the ocean; Flounder is yellow and blue), Dori from Finding Nemo (Dori is blue and yellow)

What is a split analogous colour? top

A split analogous colour is the colour one analogous colour away from any given colour.

What is a monochromatic colour scheme? top

A monochromatic colour scheme is a colour scheme using one hue, but various tones of it. Monochromatic colour schemes are often used when matching clothes of walls and rooms (see analogous colour).

What is a triadic colour scheme? top

A triadic colour scheme is a colour scheme using three colours that are equidistant to each other on the colour wheel (meaning they form a triangle).

What is a tetradic or quadratic colour scheme top

A tetradic colour scheme is a colour scheme using colours that form a rectangle on the colour wheel. It is also known as a "double complementary colour scheme."

Basic Colour Theory: