Core Concepts in Color Theory

Core Concepts in Color Theory

There is no right or wrong way to use color, but it is important to learn some general concepts and theories to gain an understanding about how colors work together. Humans respond to color in a very unique way. Color can affect our mood as well as our behavior. It's interesting to examine color theory by exploring color relationships and color schemes.


The color wheel breaks down color relationships into three basic categories: Primary, Secondary, and Tertiary.



These colors are: red, blue, and yellow. They cannot be created by mixing other colors. However, almost all visible colors can be created with these three colors.


These colors are created by mixing together two primary colors:

  • Red + Yellow = Orange

  • Yellow + Blue = Green

  • Red + Blue = Violet


Tertiary colors are created when you mix one primary color with one secondary color:

  • Red + Violet = Red-Violet

  • Yellow + Green = Yellow-Green

  • You get the idea!



A color scheme is a combination of colors used to convey a particular mood or theme in a design. It helps to create an aesthetic feeling or mood. The most basic color scheme will use two colors, while more advanced color schemes will involve several colors. Color schemes can also help to influence typography and other web elements when designing a website.


Uses a single hue and then a variety of its tints and shades.


Uses three hues next to one another on the color wheel. The combination of Orange-Red, Orange and Yellow is an Analogous color scheme.


Uses hues that are opposite each other on the color wheel. The combination of Red and Green arise a Complementary color scheme.


Uses three colors that are equidistant from each other on the color wheel. The combination of the primary colors, Red, Blue and Yellow is a Triadic color scheme.

Check out the amazing resources at Creative Market where designers show off their knowledge of color theory in their work.

Design Creative Color Concept by Marish

Watercolor Paper Pack by Sea Foam Studio

Crayon Set by Do2design

iOS Color Swatches and Gradients

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this colour wheels are wrong the pigment primaries are cian , yellow and magenta , light primaries are red , green and blue .

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