Selecting the colors for your next project need not be a daunting task.

veil with color wheels and color charts to help you, the hundreds of bead colors and finishes to choose from can make designing with color seem intimidating. How do you know what works? All you need is a basic understanding of the fundamentals of color and trust in your own instincts and tastes.

Using a color wheel

A color wheel can be a great tool, if you know how to use it. It lets you sec how the colors relate to each other around the spectrum, and makes it easy to choose colors for contrast or harmony. Once you understand the basic relationships that a color wheel illustrates, it's easier to design with color.

1 larmonious color schemes use colors that appear close together on the color wheel. These combinations can be subtle or vivid, depending on the range and brightness of the colors used. For a harmonious color scheme, choose different values of the same color (monochromatic), or colors that appear next to each other on the wheel (analogous). Warm or cool color combinations are a great example of harmonious colors.

Dramatic color schemes use colors

Algorithm Color Pie Chart

color wheel from different places around the wheel for contrast. This heightens the impact of the colors used in the design. Complementary colors, located directly across from each other on the color wheel, offer the most contrast, but you can play with other color arrangements like triads (three colors) or tetrads (four colors) to make the effect more or less dramatic.

Keep in mind that even the most sophisticated color wheels can't include every color, and entire groups of colors, like neutrals, arc often left out. These colors, and the range of colors created by combining them, expand your design possibilities. Try combining light and dark tones of browns and grays with vivid pure colors.

So now that you understand the basic relationships that a color wheel illustrates, how do you use it? Just think about the effect you are trying to achieve. If you have some gorgeous blue beads, and you really want to make the color pop, use the color wheel to find contrasting colors to complement them. If you're trying to make an elegant necklace to go with a special outfit, consider using a harmonious color scheme.

Changing and combining colors

Designing with color is more than simply choosing colors that look good together. It also means considering how the colors interact with each other, and how they fit together in a design. Our perception of colors changes due to light, and the material and texture of an object. If you were to combine beads

that were the same color but made of different materials, you'd change the way the color of each bead is seen, adding depth and variation to your design. Bead finishes can change our color perception as well. Aurora borealis (AB) and iridescent finishes, color linings, or two-tone coatings give colors subtle variations.

Where we place a color in a design also changes the way we see it. Place a green bead next to a pink bead, and you'll get one color impression; place it next to a blue bead, and you'll get another. Because placement changes how we see color, think of how you want the finished piece to be seen. Do you want the colors to be equally balanced? Should one color be dominant and another secondary? Think about the pattern or overall design of your piece and how the repetition and balance of color will work with the other design elements, such as shape or texture.

Inspiration and appeal

Personal preference, tradition, and modern pop culture are all cues for color inspiration. Color can be an emotional choice, filled with meaning, or it can just be a whim. Do you love deep jewel-toned colors? Arc you drawn to muted earth-tones? Follow your instincts. If you're making a piece for a holiday or special occasion, there might already be a traditional color scheme to guide you. Jewelry made in a traditional style or evoking a certain era, like the Victorian era, could be made using popular period colors.

In the modern world, we're surrounded by inspirational color schemes. Check out the colors fashion designers arc using by looking at online catalogs or going to a few stores. 1 tome magazines arc a great source for color combinations as well. The same colors that look great together on walls, drapes, and upholstery look good together in jewelry. If you find a color grouping that looks beautiful in a painting, the fabric of a skirt, or the logo on a sign, borrow it for your jewelry.

The natural world is another great source for color schemes. If I look out my window and I'm struck by the sight of evergreen branches covered with snow, there's no reason I can't incorporate the deep green and bright white into a piece of jewelry. Likewise, the reds and yellows of autumn leaves or the varying blues of the ocean can provide beautiful combinations for beaded jewelry.

The beads themselves can provide plentiful color inspiration. If you've found a strand of gemstoncs or a hank of seed beads with colors you love, use that as the starting point for your design. Whichever route you take, your own eyes and instincts will guide you to a combination that suits your tastes and needs. O

Use your CRYSTALLIZED™ - Swarovski Elements color wheel included with this special issue to create your own colorful designs.

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