Color Studies – Part 5 Color Schemes

By Sheri Doty

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Color Studies – Color Applications and Definitions

Part 5 – Color Schemes

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A Color Scheme is a select grouping of colors. Color Schemes can be made from the position of hues on both color wheels to produce Color Harmony.

Color Harmony 

Color Harmony refers to a pleasing arrangement of parts offering visual interest and a sense of order.

Color Discord 

A combination of unrelated and visually disturbing colors cause disharmony. Color discord can cause visual surprises that attract the attention of the viewer arousing an emotional response. A sense of unease is evoked in the viewer when discordant colors are used as a color scheme.

Direct Compliment - Complimentary colors are found at the opposite ends of the color wheel.

direct compliment1


Split Compliment - Hues positioned on either side of the opposing compliment are called split compliments. Because a split compliment forms an Isosceles Triangle it can be called a triad.

split compliment

Triad - Hues in an exact three way split on the color wheel make an Equilateral Triangle. The traditional primary colors of red, yellow, and blue are an example of a triad color scheme.

triad color scheme

Tetrad or Double Compliment 

Square Tetrad - Two pairs of equidistant complimentary colors that are at the points of a square.

Rectangular Tetrad - Two pairs of complimentary colors that are at the points of a rectangle.

double compliment

Analogous – Analogous hues are located near or next to each other on the color wheel. Analogous hues are within the same range of color spectrum.

analogous color scheme

Analogous Plus Compliment 

analogous plus compliment

Monochromatic - Monochromatic describes variations of a single color in both value and intensity.

monochromatic color scheme

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