Color Theory


Sound familiar? I bet. That’s how every kid learns the colors of the rainbow growing up.

What I’ll introduce you to, or get reacquainted with today, is the color wheel.

When I started to expand my wardrobe, I used the color wheel as a point of reference to try out different color combinations. Being able to not only imagine, but visually compare and contrast the colors on the spectrum to one another helped out a great deal. Outside of the color wheel, nature is a great example. This will start to make more sense after we talk in depth.

The color wheel has many different layouts and variations, but for our purposes we’ll keep it at its simplest form.

Primary colors

The 3 colors displayed here are the primary colors. Red, yellow and blue. They are the pillars that make up the foundation of the color wheel. These colors stand-alone but when mixed together they open the door to a wide variety of combinations.


Secondary colors

These colors are formed by mixing the primary colors.

I still remember my first art lesson when I was introduced to green, orange and purple.

“You’re telling me if I mix these two together, then I get a new color?”

Mind. Blown.

“Well, what happens when I throw a little bit of this, and that in?!”



Tertiary Colors

The combination of a primary and secondary color. Also known as adjacent colors. These hues are made by mixing primary and adjacent secondary colors i.e yellow-green, blue-violet, red-orange. etc

These 12 colors along with their various tints and shades make up the color wheel.


Color Harmony

Color Harmony is when several colors work together in unity to make something aesthetically pleasing. It just makes sense. Your brain actually seeks out color harmony and visually stimulating images. We become distracted and withdraw from colors that are in discord.

“Those colors clash.” “It doesn’t make sense.” We’ve all heard it before.


Tints tones and shades within the same color family.



3 or more hues on the color wheel that sit side by side


Direct Complimentary

Colors that appear opposite of each other on the Color wheel.


Split complementary

Color arrangement when a color is paired with the colors to the left and right of the original color’s direct compliment.

split complementary

Double Complementary

Arrangement of two analogous colors along with their direct compliments. This combination will resemble what looks like an “X”.

double complementary

Harmony is all around us, and inspiration is right around the corner.