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Colour Harmony – Using Colour Wheels

Once you understand the basics of colour theory, you can start learning how to combine those colours into a harmonious whole. There are certain colours that look good together, while other colours look so painful you have to click away before they burn your eyes. And while you might recognize these combinations when you see them, there is a theory based on the colour wheel as to which colours will look nicest together.

Analogous Colours

These are the colours that sit next to each other on the colour wheel. For example: green, yellow-green, and yellow; or red, red-orange, and orange. Play with the hues and saturation of analogous colours to create a harmonious colour scheme.

Complementary Colours

Complementary colours are those colours that are opposite one another on the colour wheel. By using colours that are opposite one another, you create colour schemes that have high contrast and so are brighter and more vivid. Some contrasting colours are: red and green or blue and orange.

Colour Triads

By placing an equilateral triangle on the colour wheel, you can create colour schemes that have a lot of life to them. The most basic colour triad is the three primary colours: red, yellow, and blue. But others are: green, purple and orange, or yellow-orange, blue-green, and red-purple.

Still Having Trouble?

When looking for colour schemes the first place I start is nature. The colour schemes found in nature are typically harmonious to our eyes. This can be the case even if the colours don’t “go together” according to colour theory.

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