Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Colors: The Basics

Putting together an outfit, making a painting, designing your blog or website, painting the house, putting together the interiors of our house, one of the common link between all these activities is picking up the color or coordinating other things around one color. Sometimes we keep scratching our heads but the things do not really come together the way we had imagined. And the worse situation is when you have to describe the color you have imagined to a third party. How many times has it happened that we are picturing a color in our mind but are not able to explain it ??? or we want to use multiple colors together but have no clue how to pair them up????

Her I am outlining a basic guide to color selection but then first we need to start from the basics.


The Color Wheel


Developed by Sir Isaac Newton in 1666, is the basic tool to depict the main hues/colors from which the other colors are derived.
Now color can be divided into 3 categories: Primary, Secondary and Tertiary Colors.

Primary Colors: The ones which can not be made by mixing any other colors.
Red, Blue Yellow

Secondary Colors: These are in between the primary colors and are made by mixing 2 primary colors.
Orange = Red + Yellow
Green = Yellow + Blue
Violet = Red + Blue

Tertiary Colors: These are formed by mixing a primary and a secondary color


 There lies a full spectrum of colors between the each primary and secondary color as shown below:



Color Terminologies: Hue, Tints, Shades and Tones



Hue: Hue is what we talk about when describing a color or color family like red, blue or green. It is the 
"pure" color. 


                                                    



Tint: Add white to a Hue and you get a tint. So "tinting" a color maenad adding white to it. Like Pink is a tint of the hue red














Shade: Its a result of adding black to the hue. Like garnet is a shade of red.



Tones: Adding both black and white to a hue gives a tone, i.e we are aging grey to the hue. It is done to reduce the intensity of the hue.




So this is how a hue looks on a color wheel with its tints and shades:





Color Harmony


Color Harmony in the simplest way is to pair up 2 or more colors and to make sure that they look good together. Many a times we are in a fix when we want to work with more then one color, e.g You want that your living room should have 3 colors with blue being the main color, but you do not know how to pick up the other 2 colors, or, you want to color block your outfit and you have picked up a pink skirt as the main element of your outfit and now you have to decide whether to pair the pink with 2 or 3 colors and how to choose these colors. To make sure that the colors chosen are in perfect harmony, we need to follow a color scheme. There pre-defined color schemes form the basis of all the color combinations we make. What I have explained further is true for all the hues including their respective tints, tomes and shades.

Let us understand the concepts of core and accent colors in a color scheme, followed on by how to pick a particular color scheme:

Core Color: Its the main/dominant color of the color scheme. Its the main color of the outfit, room, or painting
Accent Colors: These can be 2, 3 or more and can be chosen in the following formats:



Analogous:
Colors which are next to each other on the color wheel. 2, 3 or more colors can be chosen for perfect harmony.
Complimentary:
Colors which are directly opposite each other on the color wheel. This color scheme represents the most dramatic contrast and it should be used in light doses until and unless the impact desired is very loud.
Split-Complimentary:
Choose a color and then choose the 2 colors on either side of its compliment. This again has a great contrast but a little less intensity then the complimentary color scheme.
Triadic:
3 colors which are equidistant from each other and make an equilateral triangle. To use this color scheme, for best results, let one color to dominate and other two be the accents.
Tetradic / Rectangle:
Two pairs of complimentary colors which form a rectangle. Again let one color be the core color.







Square :
Similar to rectangle color scheme except that all the four colors are equally spaced forming an equilateral square











Warm and Cool Colors:
Warm Colors are red, yellow and orange
Cool colors are blue, green and violet
Two warm colors with one cool color or two cool colors with one warm color creates a dynamic harmony.



Some other schemes:

Monochromatic Colors : Same color but used with own tint, tone or shade
Achromatic Colors : Neutral colors like White, Black, Grey or Beige


P.S : I hope this post will be beneficial to all in one way or the other. Do let me know if you want more such posts with Color as the main subject

56 comments:

  1. Purvi, A brilliant informative post! You are not only a creative person but a good teacher too!:)

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    1. Thanks Rahul ji. I feel so happy and proud of myself after reading your comments :)

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  2. I remember reading about primary and secondary colors wayyy back in school. I don't know why but, I experiment a lot with colors in art but I stick to tried and tested color combos in outfits. I think I should experiment more! Informative post!

    ♥ www.thegirlatfirstavenue.com

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    1. you know what Chandana, though this post sounds very structured, I still believe that going crazy with colors is our own choice...we can do whatever we like :)
      and all the best for your experimenting :)

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  3. Wow this post reminded me of the things I had learnt as a child and forgotten. Great informative post Purvi :) x

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    1. Thanks Parveen :) its always the basics that we forget :)

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  4. Pretty interesting color wheel. :) and loved Rahul ji's comment. ;)

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    1. me too, I also loved Rahul ji's comment, he is always so kind and supportive :)

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  5. Such an awesome post! Brings back memories of my school days! :-)

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  6. btw did you enter my giveaway? Today is the last day... http://mycherrylane.blogspot.com/2011/12/my-first-giveaway.html

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  7. thank you so much! this will be a great reference when thinking of colour combinations in outfits! :)



    By the way, I have given you a blogger award Purvi :)

    http://awayfromtheblue.blogspot.com.au/2012/01/liebster-blog-award-and-acupuncture.html

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    1. Thanks for the award Mica :) :)
      and i hope this post guides you well :)

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  8. Needless to say very informative post!! thankyou :)

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  9. Nice insights into the world of color. Maybe, fashion, after all, is a science.

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    1. Well!! as I said that choosing colors is required in more facets then fashion alone and yes, because each color has a distinct individuality, we can sort of pair them up top look good :) :)
      no rocket science here but some basic principles :) :)

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  10. Purvi, what a fabulous tutorial on color...indeed everything from art, fashion and interior decor all work well when one knows how to work the colors. Our home is bright and colorful and people are always asking how we are able to make everything not clash with each other, the answer lies in the fact that both hubby and I are artists and the color wheel is ingrained in us:):)

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    1. Thanks :) :) its just few basic principles, follow them and we are good to go, right???

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  11. Very interesting and informative post on colors . Knowledge about colors is very essential in all fields you mentioned ...

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    1. Thanks :) :) and yes, to make things and ourselves look pretty, we need to know the colors right :)

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  12. Now I remember why I didn't take art lol

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  13. Now that is a lot of information . but i still cant tell that color i have been thinking of :) he he he

    I shall keep this post in mind for sure

    Bikram's

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    1. in that case I should do a "Names of colors" post for you :) :) what say?

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  14. useful post

    Aarthi
    http://yummytummy-aarthi.blogspot.com/

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  15. This is a genial post!! I am finding it very useful!!! Great Job!

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  16. Wow, this is very useful!

    http://thetinycloset.blogspot.com/

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  17. Ooh, helpful! I'm always afraid of mixing colors. More of a black, white, grey person myself. I will *try* for the color, though.

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    1. Do "try" the colors Shalini and you will be happily surprised :)

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  18. Very informative post :) I love colors in any form although wen it comes to my clothes I'm not much of an experiment colour wearer..if you know what I mean!

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    1. I totally know what you mean :) there was a time I used to hate wearing black and yellow together coz it seed to remind me of Mumbai's Taxis but today I actually love wearing them together :) :) so Natasha, do experiment sometimes, you might just surprise yourself :)

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  19. Informative post about this colours i love expermenting on this colours :)

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    1. It makes me very happy experimenting with colors as well :)

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  20. Love love this post Purvi. I have learnt so much, I am actually going to 'keep' this post of yours so I can always refer back to it. I used a colour wheel once for a post but never with so much interesting detail, thanks so much for the education

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    1. You are most welcome Sam and i will be happy if this post helps you out :) :)

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  21. Superb post. Guess my current obsession is Complimentary scheme. I always pick up kurtha n churi that falls under complimentary color scheme...nevaz an informative post...

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    1. Thanks :) :) and now you know what color scheme you have been following :) :) and you can try the other schemes now and see what the result are :)

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  22. Woah! You sound like my mom!! :) She too stresses on aesthetics and bla bla. She's an artist by the way! She used to export paintings to Canada/Russia back in her good old younger days till my bro and me came to add on to her troubles!;)

    Oh,Lovely post!! I'll remember all those tips! :)

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    1. And I think your mom is right when she talks about aesthetics :) :) and you can ask your mom to start painting again and do share some of her work if possible :)

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  23. Gosh! I never thought so much before wearing anything. Very useful Purvi. Thanks for stopping by and leaving wonderful comments. You have a new reader now :)

    Shruti
    Mysugarlesstyle.blogspot.com

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  24. Loved this post.. Purvi.. well done!! I sure need some of this.. I've got no sense of colour.. I think.. red goes perfectly well with shocking pink.. ;-).. Well.. my 8 year old tells me off now.. and often thinks Im colour blind.. Hey.. but I seem to enjoy the mixing of different colours..

    Hope you are having a fabulous weekend..

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  25. Came here from patty's :) Really helpful post.. I'm going to permanently bookmark it. :)

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  26. wow ,all the time we thought that only thing we need to learn about colors is Vibgyor....but here's a fully loaded article on it...great Purvi.

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  27. Just came to this from your newest post, it's really interesting! Great post :) x

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  28. I may have to print this post and paste in my wardrobe :) I am always confused on how to mix colors. I end up wearing ALL blue or black :D

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