Color theories create a logical structure for color. It describes how color is perceived, as well as how colors mix, match, and contrast with each other. Generally, it involves a color’s darkness or lightness, with different tints and tones created from adding white or gray, respectively.
Color often affects branding, and can increase/decrease sales for businesses, so it’s important to understand basic color theory, as it can boost business engagement immensely.
There are three basic categories of color theory: the color wheel, color harmony, and the context of how colors are used.
The color wheel is split into three different types: primary, secondary, and tertiary — each one having more colors than the last.
The color wheel has two different types of colors: warm and cool colors. Warm colors are generally associated with energy, brightness, and action. Cool colors are generally associated with clam, peace, and serenity.
Hue, Shade, Tint, Tone:
Hue: the pure color itself
Shade: the color with black added to it
Tint: the color with white added to it
Tone: the color with grey added to it
Color harmony delivers visual interest, aesthetic, and a sense of order. There are a few different formulas for color harmony, but the most popular formulas are:
Analogous Colors: Any three colors that are side by side on the color wheel
With analogous colors, you can use the 60-30-10 Color Rule:
60% of your design is dominated by one color
30% for the secondary color
10% for the tertiary/accent colors
With more colors, you can use to 60-20-10-10 or 60-15-15-10 Color Rule.
Any two colors that are directly opposite of each other