The study of how colors make people feel and their effects on a design is known as color theory. Color theory is used to explore the best types of colors to work in different design instances—for example, choosing a pastel scheme that needs to feel soft, or picking red and yellow that needs to evoke energy.
Hue, tint, tone and shade
Hue is pure color.
Tint is a hue with white added.
Tone is a hue with gray added.
Shade is a hue with black added.
Saturation is defined by the intensity of color.
A palette is the range of colors used in a design. These are colors that work well together and are often aesthetically pleasing. Designers will defines a palette for a project to create consistency and evoke a specific feeling.
Warm and cool colors
Warm colors (reds, oranges, yellows and pinks).
Cool colors (blues, greens and purples).
Even colors too have their moods.
A monochromatic color palette uses one single color.
A monochromatic color palette based on gray is called grayscale.
Colors that are adjacent to one another on the color wheel (i.e. red violet, red and red orange) are analogous.
Complementary colors are opposites on the color wheel. This relationship will produce visual tension and “shock.”
Triadic colors are three colors evenly spaced on the color wheel. One colors dominates, the second supports, and the third accents.
Gradient is a gradual change from one color to another. (For example, blue transitioning gradually to green).
Opacity is synonymous with non-transparency. The more transparent an image, the lower its opacity.
CMYK is a 4-color printing process made up of cyan, magenta, yellow and key (black). CMYK colors in print will never appear as vibrant as RGB colors on screen because CMYK creates color by adding color together (making images darker) while RGB colors come from light.
RGB stands for red, green and blue, the three colors of light typically used to display images on a digital screen.
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