How To: Matching Colours |

How To: Matching Colours |

Learning the Colour Wheel

Colours are important for making things look good, whether it's the clothes you wear or the presentation you give at work. But not everyone instinctively knows that orange and blue is a perfect combination. If you can't trust your own judgement, understand and rely on the basics of colour theory to always pick the right colours.

This is the basic colour wheel and it will guide you in making colour choices. You've probably seen it in school, but here's a quick refresher just in case you've forgotten.

Red, blue and yellow are primary colours. When you mix red and yellow, you get orange; mix blue and yellow, you get green; mix red and blue, you get violet. Orange, green and violet are hence called secondary colours. Tertiary colours like red-violet and blue-violet are derived by mixing a primary colour with a secondary colour.

All colours have tints and shades. A tint is the variation of that colour when mixed with white; a shade is the variation of that colour when mixed with black

In the colour wheel, there's yet another separation that you need to be aware of so that you can understand colour schemes better: warm and cool colours. Each has its own purpose to convey emotions. Warm colours exhibit energy and joy (best for personal messages), while cool colours convey calmness and peace (best for office use). The wheel itself can be divided easily to get an idea of which colours are warm and which ones cool.

Mastering the Colour Schemes

Based on the wheel, there are a few basic rules to match colours:

Complementary colours are any two colours opposite each other on the wheel. For example, blue and orange, or red and green. These create a high contrast, so use them when you want something to stand out. Ideally, use one colour as background and the other as accents. Alternately, you can use tints and shades here; a lighter tint of blue contrasted against a darker orange, for example.

Split complementary colours use three colours. The scheme takes one colour and matches it with the two colours adjacent to its complementary colour. For example, blue, yellow-orange and red-orange. This scheme is ideal for beginners because it is difficult to mess up.

Analogous colours are any three colours next to each other on the wheel. For example, orange, yellow-orange, and yellow. With analogous colours, it's best to avoid hues as they can be jarring. Instead, focus on tints of analogous colours.

Triadic colours are any three colours that are equally apart on the colour wheel. For example, red, yellow and blue. The Triadic scheme is also high-contrast, but more balanced than complementary colours.

Tetradic or double complementary colours use four colours together, in the form of two sets of complementary colours. For example, blue and orange is paired with yellow and violet. This is the hardest scheme to balance.

Applying Colour Theory in Everyday Life

Now you have a basic idea of colour theory, but what does that mean for your daily life? Essentially, these concepts help you figure out how to make things look better.

A common application is in the clothes you wear. Some people always seem to be able to dress well, while others wear clothes that clash or don't match. Similarly, colour theory can help you out in the office, whether it's jazzing up your resume for a job hunt or making your presentation and slides pop out. And of course, colour theory is super useful when you are looking to paint your house or any major item in it.

These aren't the only uses for colour theory. Colours and their combinations come up with planning a party. When there are so many different combinations of colours, Partytrends can help you find the right scheme. Call today at 1.888.405.8757 or click here for party style ideas.