Color wheel color theory and calculator signify Life 2021

Color wheel

Color wheel color theory and calculator signify Life 2021

There are 12 main colors on the color wheel. In the RGB color wheel, these hues are red, orange, yellow, chartreuse green, green, spring green, cyan, azure, blue, violet, magenta and rose. The color wheel can be divided into primary, secondary, and tertiary colors.

A color wheel or color circle is an abstract illustrative organization of color hues around a circle, which shows the relationships between primary colors, secondary colors, tertiary colors, etc.

Color theory and the color wheel

Ever wondered how designers and artists find the perfect color combination?

They use color theory. Color theory is a practical combination of art and science that’s used to determine what colors look good together. The color wheel was invented in 1666 by Isaac Newton, who mapped the color spectrum onto a circle. The color wheel is the basis of color theory, because it shows the relationship between colors.

Colors that look good together are called a color harmony. Artists and designers use these to create a particular look or feel. You can use a color wheel to find color harmonies by using the rules of color combinations. Color combinations determine the relative positions of different colors in order to find colors that create a pleasing effect.

There are two types of color wheel. The RYB or red, yellow, blue color wheel is typically used by artists, as it helps with combining paint colors. Then there is the RGB, or red, green and blue color wheel, which is designed for online use, as it refers to mixing light – like on a computer or TV screen. Canva’s color wheel is an RGB color wheel, as it is designed for online use.

Color combinations Colors wheel


Two colors that are on opposite sides of the color wheel. This combination provides a high contrast and high impact color combination – together, these colors will appear brighter and more prominent.Complementary colors


Three shades, tones and tints of one base color. Provides a subtle and conservative color combination. This is a versatile color combination that is easy to apply to design projects for a harmonious look.Monochromatic colors


Three colors that are side by side on the color wheel. This color combination is versatile, but can be overwhelming. To balance an analogous color scheme, choose one dominant color, and use the others as accents.Analogous colors


Three colors are evenly spaced on the color wheel. This provides a high contrast color scheme, but less so than the complementary color combination — making it more versatile. This combination creates bold, vibrant color palettes.Triadic colors


Four colors that are evenly spaced on the color wheel. Tetradic color schemes are bold and work best if you let one color be dominant, and use the others as accents. The more colors you have in your palette, the more difficult it is to balance,Tetradic colors

Primary, secondary and tertiary colors

There are 12 main colors on the color wheel. In the RGB color wheel, these hues are red, orange, yellow, chartreuse green, green, spring green, cyan, azure, blue, violet, magenta and rose.

The color wheel can be divided into primary, secondary and tertiary colors.

Primary colors in the RGB color wheel are the colors that, added together, create pure white light. These colors are red, green and blue.

In the RYB color wheel, primary colors are colors that can’t be mixed from other colors. There are three primary colors: red, yellow, and blue.

Secondary colors are colors that result from mixing two primary colors. There are three secondary colors. In the RGB color wheel, these are cyan, magenta and yellow. When you mix light, red and green make yellow, green and blue make cyan, and blue and red make magenta.

Color wheel color theory and calculator signify Life 2021

In the RYB color wheel, the secondary colors are purple (red mixed with blue), orange (red mixed with yellow), and green (yellow mixed with blue).

Tertiary colors are colors made by combining a secondary color with a primary color. There are six tertiary colors. In the RGB color wheel these are orange, chartreuse green, spring green, azure, violet and rose.

In the RYB color wheel, the tertiary colors are red-orange, yellow-orange, yellow-green, blue-green, blue-violet, and red-violet.Primary, secondary and tertiary colors

Warm and cool colors wheel

The color wheel can also be divided into warm and cool colors. The warmth or coolness of a color is also known as its color temperature. The color combinations found on a color wheel often have a balance of warm and cool colors. According to color psychology, different color temperatures evoke different feelings. For example, warm colors are said to bring to mind coziness and energy, while cool colors are associated with serenity and isolation.

Warm colors are the colors from red through to yellow. These colors are said to bring to mind warmth, like the sun.

Cool colors are the colors from blue to green and purple. These colors are said to bring to mind coolness, like water.Warm and cool colors

Shades, tints and tones Colors wheel

You can create shades, tints and tones of a color by adding black, grey and white to a base hue.


A shade is created by adding black to a base hue, darkening the color. This creates a deeper, richer color. Shades can be quite dramatic and can be overpowering.


A tint is created by adding white to a base hue, lightening the color. This can make a color less intense, and is useful when balancing more vivid color combinations.


A tone is created by combining black and white—or grey—with a base hue. Like tints, tones are subtler versions of the original color. Tones are less likely to look pastel, and can reveal complexities not apparent in the base color.Shade, tints, tones

Hue, Saturation and Luminance Colors wheel

hue is basically any color on the color wheel. When you are using a color wheel or a color picker, you can adjust the saturation and luminance of a hue.

Saturation is the intensity or purity of the color.

Luminance is the amount of brightness or light in a color.Hue, saturation and luminance

Color meanings and color schemes

This is just an introduction to the fascinating world of color. There’s so much more to learn! For instance, did you know that the color royal blue was created in the 1800s for Queen Charlotte? If you want to discover more about colors, check out our Color Meanings page – it explores the history and meaning of hundreds of colors. Or if you’re looking for more great color combinations, check out our Color Palette Generator or browse thousands of inspirational

1. Pick a Color. Click the first field to open the color picker and slide to select your desired hue (such as red, violet, or blue). Drag the dot right and left to adjust saturation or up and down to adjust value.

If you know the hexadecimal, RGB, or CMYK values for your base color enter them in the fields. Click plus to add up to three base colors

2. Choose a Harmony. Choose one of six color combinations to work with your starting color. Click the color harmony symbol to complete the color scheme.

3. See Results. The colors making up your harmony will display in the color calculator swatches and on the interactive color wheel.

Tweak or explore these choices by selecting and comparing different harmonies, viewing the same harmony with different colors, adjusting saturation or value, or adding additional input colors. Clear All to start over.

Like what you’re seeing? Create Color Scheme to see a color report—and save the hexadecimal, RGB, and CMYK colors for your Web or print projects.

See your swatch applied to design samples. Print the page, save it as a PDF, share it with friends and family. It’s a colorful world.

What is the Color Wheel?

The color wheel is a chart representing the relationships between colors. Based on a circle showing the colors of the spectrum originally fashioned by Sir Isaac Newton in 1666, the colour wheel he created serves many purposes today. Painters use it to identify colors to mix and designers use it to choose colors that go well together.

The classic color wheel shows hues arranged in a circle, connected by lines or shapes. The colors include primary colors (red, yellow, and blue), secondary colors (orange, green, and violet), and tertiary colors (yellow green, blue green, blue violet, red violet, red orange, and yellow orange).Secondary colors are created by mixing primary colors. For example, mixing red and yellow creates orange; mixing yellow and blue creates green.

Developing a Color Scheme Colors wheel

Designers often start a project by developing a color scheme: a set of colors that will work well together for the client or task at hand. Though you’ll sometimes start from scratch, generally you’ll begin with one or two base colors around with other colors will be built.

Color Harmony Basics How to choose colors that really work? Use the color wheel (or our color calculator) to help you identify harmonious color combinations. The following color harmonies are based on geometric relationships on the color wheel. For this reason, we can represent them as shapes. Rotate these shapes around the central point of the color wheel to create limitless color combinations.

Complementary color schemes use two opposite colors on the color wheel.

Monochromatic color schemes use three different values of the same color.

Analogous color schemes use three adjacent colors on the color wheel.

Split complements use a color and the two adjacent tertiary colors of its complement.

Triadic color schemes use three evenly spaced colors on the color wheel.

Tetradic color schemes use two complementary pairs.

Choosing the Right Colors Choosing the right colors for you requires a lot of creativity and experimentation. Bear in mind that color is very psychological and different color harmonies produce different effects. For example, analogous colors are similar in hue, creating a smooth transition from one color to the next. Complementary colors are opposite to each other on the color wheel, so they create a strong contrast. Monochromatic color schemes can be subtle and sophisticated.

Image of an analogous color scheme

In this magazine spread from Martha Stewart magazine, for example, an analogous color scheme creates a gentle transition from yellow to yellow-green to green. It’s pleasing to the eye.

Experiment with different harmonies to achieve the desired mood or effect.

Adjusting Color Value and Saturation Once you’ve selected your colors, you may wish to adjust the value of a specific color or colors—how light or dark the color is. Or you may wish to adjust its saturation, how rich it is. Each hue on the online color wheel has a different inherent value. Yellow, for example, is lighter than blue.

Image of a color scheme image with value contrast

In this color scheme, the pinks and oranges are the lightest values, contrasting with the dark lettering.

To increase contrast in your color scheme, you may need to adjust the value of a specific color—by making a yellow darker or lighter, say. Or perhaps adjust the saturation to vary the intensity. You can do both using the color calculator.

What are colors that complement each other? Complementary colors

  • The modern color theory uses either the RGB additive color model or the CMY subtractive color model, and in these, the complementary pairs are red-cyan, green–magenta, and blue-yellow.
  • In the traditional RYB color model, the complementary color pairs are red–green, yellow–purple, and blueorange.

How much is a color wheel?

There are 12 main colors on the color wheel. In the RGB color wheel, these hues are red, orange, yellow, chartreuse green, green, spring green, cyan, azure, blue, violet, magenta and rose. The color wheel can be divided into primary, secondary, and tertiary colors.

Color wheel
Color wheel

What is the true color wheel?

To understand how the true color wheel works, you need to know that the primary colors (Red, Green, Blue) and secondary colors (Cyan, Magenta, Yellow) are opposites. Cyan and red are direct across from one another. That means you will get Cyan if you remove all the red, and only the red, from white.

Types of Color Schemes in Design

  • Monochromatic. Monochromatic color schemes are all of a single tint, shade, and hue. …
  • Analogous Palette. This palette uses harmonizing colors, either in the warm or cool spectrum. …
  • Complementary. Ok. …
  • Split Complementary. On the color wheel, these are exact opposites. …
  • Triadic Complementary. …
  • Tetradic (Double Complementary)

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