Color Theory Basis – Everything about Color Wheel

color theory basis every thing about color wheel

Have you heard of color wheel? Do you know what color theory is? Yes? No?
It’s impossible not to have seen a color wheel in our entire life. So, I’m sure everyone has at least seen a picture of this beautiful circle, which makes it so much easier to imagine when we are talking about it.
We use color for everything in our life, literally everything! For decorating our home, designing our food table, our clothes, makeup, you get the point.

Sometimes, we need to choose more than just one or two colors, and we may get confused by the diversity of colors, this is where a color wheel comes in handy. You may ask why?! Or how?!
Well, I’m going to explain that in more details, but for now:
A color wheel gives you a clearer vision of colors that match best.

Color Wheel Definition:

A color wheel is an illustrative set of color hues around an abstract circle, that shows the relationships between three categories of colors, including primary colors, secondary colors, and tertiary colors.
This is just a basic and simple explanation about the color wheel, while it shows more than just relationships, which we will cover throughout this article.

Gradient Color Wheel Poster in a white background
Color Wheel poster | Dopely Digital Goods

Primary Colors:

Primary colors are red, blue, and yellow. It is called Primary because these three colors cannot be made by mixing other colors and are the basic essence.

Artists typically use the three primary colors red, yellow, and blue on three equally spaced spots around this abstract circle to create an illustrative model. But there is another type of this (a bit more modern) that magenta, yellow, and cyan are used as subtractive primaries.

Each subtractive color wheel has a central spot, which represents the center of gravity. The center of gravity is often black, indicating all colors of light are absorbed. In a color circle, however, the center is either white or gray, indicating a mixture of several wavelengths of light.

The color wheel with bold primary colors of blue red and yellow for learning about primary, secondary and tertiary colors in dopley colors

Secondary Colors:

First, you need to know what a secondary color is. A secondary color is made of mixing two primary colors (or primary and secondary hues). Green, orange, violet( purple) are secondary colors. Now, do you know the primary colors that formed these three?

  • Blue +  yellow = green
  • Blue + red = violet
  • Red  + yellow = orange
The color wheel of primary and secondary and tertiary colors with bold secondary colors of purple and orange and green for understanding secondary colors in dopley colors blog about color theory and color basis

Tertiary Colors:

Tertiary colors are a bit more complex. A tertiary color is made by mixing full saturation of one primary color with half saturation of another primary color. Including green-yellow, yellow-orange, orange-red, red-violet/purple, purple/violet-blue, and blue-green.

If you have heard of these expressions(primary, secondary, tertiary), you probably have heard these too, Complementary colors and Analogous colors.

The color wheel of twelve colors with primary and secondary and tertiary colors and bold tertriay colors of red-purple or pink, blue-purple, blue-green, green-yellow or yellowish green, yellow-orange or orangish brown, and orange-red for learning tertiary colors in dopley colors blog post about color theory and color basis

Analogous Color Scheme:

These are the colors that are located close to each other on a color wheel. Red, orange, and red-orange is an example. You may wonder what Analogous means? Well, the term analogous refers to having an analogy and corresponding to something in particular. 

The next one is the complementary colors.

A color wheel with bold analogous scheme of red and pink and purple and violet for showing how analogous palette are made with color wheel in dopely colors blog post about color theory and color basis

Complementary Color Scheme:

As the name suggests, the colors are located opposite each other. When you combine complementary colors, they cancel each other out. For example, red and green are complementary colors. Can you name some other of this category?! If not, this picture may help you.

A color wheen of twelve color of primary and secondary and tertiary colors with bold complementary scheme of pink and green-yellow or yellowish green for learning the basis of complementary palettes in dopley colors blog post about color theory and basis

Do you know anything about active and passive colors? Colors on a color wheel are either visually active or passive.

Active Colors:

Active colors are the colors that will advance when put against passive hues. Warm, saturated, and light value hues are placed in this category. I think now you can guess what passive colors are!

A color wheen of twelve color of primary and secondary and tertiary colors with bold active colors such as red, orange, yellow-orange, yellow, yellowish green for learning active colors in dopley colors blog post about color theory and basis

Passive Colors:

the colors that appear to recede when placed in front of active hues, and therefore cool, low saturated, and dark value hues are placed in this category.

A color wheen of twelve color of primary and secondary and tertiary colors with bold passive colors such as purple-red or pink and purple and violet and blue-purple and blue and dark blue and blue-green and green  for learning passive colors in dopley colors blog post about color theory and basis

Contrasting Colors:

The colors that are located opposite each other on the color wheel and contrast when put next to each other. The level of contrast differs from high to low. The location of each color determines the intensity of contrast.

Colors directly positioned opposite one another make the highest level of contrast. For example, green and red.

contrasting colors are located opposite each other on the color wheel and contrast when put next to each other

Conclusion:

All this information helps you know colors and connect with them more deeply, and it also helps to make better choices when it’s about colors.

If you knew all of these already, then it was just a review for you, but if you didn’t, you have a lot of information about colors and expressions about them, and this makes me deeply happy and satisfied to be the one to give you this information.

If your job or your hobby involves working with colors, and you haven’t found the right tools yet, then check out our website and create your color pallets. You can make your color wheel by Dopely color wheel here!

Dopely is there to make your life colorful! HOPE YOU ENJOY IT

Posted by
Negar

Im Negar, and I enjoy communicating in other languages, I also like colors. So I write in colors' language. Let's see how it looks like!

4 Comments

  1. Great website. Thank you for this amazing articlescolors vocabulary exercises

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