Color by Design

Visible Spectrum:
The band of colors produced when white light passes through a prism or raindrops.
The dry natural minerals or synthetic chemicals used to color the basic neutral paint medium.
The resultant partnering of colors designed to form a cohesive group.

Color in Itself

Color Wheel:
‘Rainbow’ color segments placed in a circle positioning the relationships between and amongst colors.
The name of each specific pure color on a color wheel e.g., yellow, green, blue, violet, red, orange.

Color in Relationship to Color

Primary Colors:
In paint, the hues red, yellow & blue that cannot be produced by mixing any other pigment.
Secondary Colors:
In paint, the hues orange, green & violet that are created when primary pigments are intermixed.
Analogous Colors:
Hues lying adjacent to one another on a classic color wheel: red, orange & yellow; yellow, green & blue; blue, violet & red.
Warm Colors:
red, orange & yellow.
Cool Colors:
green, blue & violet.
Complementary Colors:
A pair of hues comprised of one Primary and one Secondary positioned across from one another on a color wheel: yellow & violet; orange & blue; red & green.
Earth Colors:
Neutral, muted hues created by mixing any pair of complementary colors.
Full Spectrum Colors:
Hues mixed without using black or white pigments.
The lightness or darkness of each hue and its relative position on a scale from white to black.
Hues lightened by the gradual addition of white.
Hues darkened by the gradual addition of black.
Hues changed by the gradual addition of grey.

Color's Personality…
A Conspiracy of Illusion and Deception

Local Color:
The isolated natural color of a thing in itself, independent of and uninfluenced by adjacent things.
Perceiving or "Reading" Color
is dependent upon:
Light Source
  • Direct or diffuse NATURAL LIGHT as effected by cast and reflected shadow.
  • ARTIFICIAL LIGHT e.g., incandescent, LED, florescent, halogen, etc…
Adjacent Colors
actively reflect and/or absorb one another.
  • Full intensity complementary colors placed adjacent to one another tend to bounce or vibrate.
  • Mismatched colors placed next to one another tend to absorb and dull one another.
Refers to the intensity of each color.
High intensity
Low intensity
Differences in intensity.
High contrast:
Extreme differences between colors.
Low contrast:
Greater similarity of colors one to another.
Cool, Shaded Hues:
appear to RECEDE.
Warm, Tinted Hues:
appear to ADVANCE.

Squint your eyes to make the illusion work.