Simplifying The Concept of Color Theory For Web Designers

Colors make things around us beautiful, vibrant and effervescent. Unless there are web designers and have started playing with colors, you wouldn’t understand how difficult it is to understand colors. Color theory, the science behind using different colors, plays a very basic role for a designer who has to understand it first and use later. Simply put, color theory is the understanding of colors and how they interact with each other. Colors essentially need to interact with each other so that they complement, contrast and add vibrancy to the object where it is used.

Basics of Color Theory:

There are two types of colors beginners should know – primary colors and secondary colors. There are three primary colors – red, blue and yellow. Mixing and matching these colors gives us the entire spectrum of colors. When the primary colors are combined and processed, they result in the secondary colors. Secondary colors contain a mix of two primary colors, thus there are three secondary colors – orange, violet and green.

Color Theory For Web Designers

In the color wheel, behind the primary and secondary colors there is another, rather hidden color section called the tertiary colors. When colors from the original six are mixed and matched the tertiary colors are formed. Thus we can now include a new set of 12 colors in the color wheel. A web designer will come across such a color wheel in Adobe Illustrator which he can use to create color swatches and patterns. You can also read some books to know more details about different color schemes.

 The Art of Combining Colors:

We have seen the basics of colors and they seem to be quite simple, isn’t it? They are. But now we come to the more technical and rather important lessons. Aspiring web designers will have to understand how to combine colors so that they can strike the right balance and make an effective website design.

Monochromatic Colors:

Monochromatic colors are the raw colors, the colors with only a single hue. Using monochromatic colors is seen as the starting point for designing a page. These colors are most commonly used for branding or setting the background of the site. To design a useful monochromatic color scheme, you can first create an alpha channel (on a particular color) and add more white or black into the selected hue. Select at the point when you are satisfied with the result.

Analogous Scheme:

Analogous color schemes are very easy to create. As you know there are 12 colors in the color wheel. To create an analogous color scheme, combine colors adjacent to each other. The common colors as a result of this procedure are green/yellow-green/yellow or red/orange/yellow. If you notice all the analogous color schemes have the same chroma level but difference can be created by tweaking them using tones, shades and tints.

Complementary Themes:

Complementary schemes are created combining colors from the opposite ends of the color wheel. Thus two colors from opposite ends form one complementary color. These colors complement each other through their contrasting nature and provide a sense of equal energy level when used on a palette. Common examples of the complementary schemes include red and green, blue and orange and purple and yellow.

Triadic Color Scheme:

Let’s explain this with an example. As you know there are 12 spocks in the color wheel. Pick a base color, say red, and move three equal places to the right. You will get the color blue. Move another three blocks and you will get yellow. Now you have three colors with you – red, blue and yellow. These three colors form the triadic color scheme and is one of the most popular methods among web designers.

A web designer can best use colors when he remembers the basics yet doesn’t hesitate to experiment. Now that the basics are clear, what are you waiting for? Get started!

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