The colour wheel: to identify differences and similarities between colours.
Colour harmony: how to pair two or more colours based on a variety of key formulas.
The natural order of colour is red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, violet. You might remember the acronym ROY G BIV from school or Richard Of York Gave Battle In Vain. If you take this colour wheel on face value, the most common theory suggests you match opposites. Blue with orange, for example, or green with red. But in reality these pairings are likely to be too much. Therefore, you must also consider Hue, Saturation and Brightness, to create a cohesive palette.
The neutral colours are black, white and grey.
The colours of a monochromatic palette have a single hue, but vary in brightness and saturation.
Complementary colour palettes are based on two different, complementary hues that tend to be there (or thereabouts) opposite to each other on the colour wheel. Feel free to mix and match brightness and saturation between the two hues, whilst remembering the colours don’t have to be bold.
Analogous palettes consist of two or three different but neighbouring hues. Ideally you’d keep saturation and brightness the same but it’s okay to mix and match to a point.
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