Color Glossary


^ Primary colors are colors you can't w create by mixing together other ^p? colors: red. yellow, and blue. ^

Secondary colors are created by ^Jfy mixing two primaries: Orange is made * by mixing red and yellow, green by mixing yellow and blue, and violet/purple by mixing blue and red.

Tertiary colors are made from mixing secondary colors with a neighboring primary color, and they sit between those colors on tire color wheel. Their names are usually a combination of the two colors used to create them: red-orange, yellow-orange, yellow-green, green-blue. etc.

These three sets of colors make up the basic colors on a typical color wheel, and are sometimes called spectral colors.

Neutral colors don't fall within the spectrum displayed on a color wheel. These colors — browns, grays, and creams - are created by combining the pure spectral colors in different proportions. Because they fall in the middle of the wheel, it's easy to use them with many different colors. Black, white, and gray are often considered neutrals, but are really values, meaning they represent a range of light from absolute brightness (pure white) to absolute darkness (pure black).

Tints and shades are created by altering the value of spectral colors (combining them with black and white). Tints, such as pastels, are created by combining colors with white, while shades are created by mixing colors with black.

tints and shades primary primary i secondary

7v tertiary

COLOR SCHEME VOCABULARY: Warm colors have bright, energetic tones. Reds, oranges, and yellows make up the heart of the warm color family.

Cool colors are mellow and relaxing. Blues, greens, and violets are at the center of the cool color family.

Monochromatic color schemes use different values of a single color. Dark red, bright red. and pink make up one monochromatic scheme, while pale blue, bright blue, and navy make up another.

Analogous color schemes use adjacent colors on the color wheel and flow smoothly from one color to the next. Green, blue-green, and blue are analogous, as are violet, red-violet, and red.


Complementary colors are positioned directly across from each other on the color wheel. Blue and orange are complementary, as are green and red. These colors provide the most drastic contrast.

Split complements use one color and the colors on either side of its complement. Blue, red-orange, and yellow-orange make up one split-complement color scheme.

Triads use three colors spaced equally apart on the color wheel. Primary colors and secondary colors are both examples of triads.

Tetrads use four colors spaced equally or symmetrically on the color wheel. Green, red. yellow-orange, and blue-violet form a tetrad spaced equally around the color wheel, while red-orange, yellow-orange, blue-green, and blue-violet form a tetrad made from two complementary pairs.

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