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Color Theory 101

Tints, tones, shades, what does it all mean? Often misused in describing a color, a tint is adding white to a hue, resulting in a lighter color, a tone results from adding gray and shading is adding black.

The color wheel can be divided into three major categories, the primary and secondary colors we are all familiar with, and tertiary colors. Primary colors mixed together create secondary colors, and one primary and one secondary color create tertiary colors. Complementary colors are opposite on the wheel, while they work well together in most applications, they do not do well in the text/background situation. Split-Complementary color scheme is a color and the two colors lying on either side of its complement color, such as blue/yellow orange/red orange; this has less strain on the eye then the complementary colors do. Analogous color scheme is three colors the lie next to each other, yellow green/green/blue green; these colors together are harmonious to the eye. Triadic color scheme is three colors equally spaces on the color wheel, Purple/orange/green; this color scheme can be successfully used by making one of the colors dominant and the other two accent colors.

When mixing colors in paint you often have to fudge the ratios to get the proper results, fifty percent red mixed with fifty percent blue turns a mucky hue that is almost black, instead of purple. Knowing the basics of color theory helps with any design, whether it is working with pigments for printing a poster or the light spectrum on a web page.

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(I had pics but WordPress will not let me upload them)