Part of this week’s DNTS challenge is to utilize either a Primary, Triadic or Analogous color scheme in your layout design. So for the benefit of anyone who is unfamiliar (or a little rusty) with these terms here is a quick little crash course in color theory.

No doubt you’ve all seen a Color Wheel before. The color wheel is the basic tool for combining colors and was designed so that virtually any colors you pick from it will look good together. The three Primary Colors are red, yellow and blue. They are called primary because all other colors are derived from combining these 3 colors together. For example, mixing red and yellow produces orange, mixing blue and yellow produces green and mixing red and blue produces purple. This bring us to the Secondary Colors (green, orange and purple) which are created by mixing two primary colors together. The six Tertiary Colors are created by mixing primary and secondary colors together.


Colors that are opposite each other on the color wheel are called Complementary Colors. The three Complementary Color Schemes are red/green, blue/orange and yellow/purple. Analogous Color Schemes use any 3 colors that are next to each other on the color wheel. They usually match well and create serene and comfortable designs. When using an Analogous Color Scheme choose one color to dominate, a second to support. The third color is used (along with black, white or gray) as an accent.


A Triadic Color Scheme uses colors that are evenly spaced around the color wheel. To use a triadic harmony successfully, the colors should be carefully balanced – let one color dominate and use the two others for accent.


Adding white or black to any of these colors changes the Tint or Shade giving you either a lighter or darker color. When looking at the color schemes above, keep in mind that using tints and shades add a world of variety to the basic schemes above. You can change the tint and/or shade of your colors and still follow either a primary, triadic or analogous scheme.


Color is an essential part of design so don’t forget to consider how you choose to use your color when creating a page. I look forward to seeing your pages!

Ciao for now.

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