The Color Wheel Explained

Aesthetics: Color Theory 101

By Lacey Muszynski, Assistant Editor  
OTHER PARTS OF THIS ARTICLEPt. 1: Tips to Smooth Interior Paint SelectionPt. 2: This PagePt. 3: Color and Organizational Branding

The spectrum of colors can be represented on a simplified color wheel. Even very specific manufacturer colors still fall into general categories, e.g. red or green-blue. For that reason, the color wheel can be helpful in aiding color decisions.

Every color on the wheel is made up of a combination of other colors, with the exception of the primary colors: red, blue and yellow. These three colors cannot be formed from other pigments. Rather they are mixed to form all other colors.

Mixing a primary color with its neighboring primary color makes a secondary color: either green, orange or purple. Mixing a secondary color with a primary produces a tertiary color: yellow-orange, red-orange, red-purple, etc.

Some standard rules can help facility executives choose colors that are harmonious with each other.
Analogous color schemes use any three colors that are side by side on a color wheel — green, yellow-green and yellow, for example. Usually, one of the colors dominates the others. This method often creates somewhat monotone color schemes, something some facility executives might find easier and safer to work with.

Complementary color schemes are devised from complementary colors on the color wheel. Complementary colors are any two colors that lay directly across from one another on the color wheel. For example, blue and orange, and blue-green and red-orange are complements. Color schemes using complementary colors create contrast and visual balance.

Another factor to consider is color temperature. Half the wheel is composed of warm colors while the other half contains cool colors. The latter tend to have a calming effect on people, while the former tend to be energizing.

By using the color wheel and some simple theories and guidelines, facility executives can have more confidence that color schemes will work for the facility and its occupants in terms of aesthetics and psychology.

Continue Reading: Colorful Ideas

Tips to Smooth Interior Paint Selection

The Color Wheel Explained

Color and Organizational Branding

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  posted on 10/1/2008   Article Use Policy

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