Color wheel

How to blend color in designs using the color wheel

In design, choosing the right color is essential as it brings out unique feelings. A color wheel is an essential tool that you can use to understand the relationship between colors. It can be used in different forms. In this article, I will help you to understand the different dimensions of color:

It consists of primary, secondary, and tertiary colors. The primary colors include red, blue, and yellow. The secondary colors are then created by mixing two of the primary colors to form orange, purple and green. The tertiary colors are then formed after combining the primary and secondary colors.

For example,

• red + purple = magenta

• red + orange = vermillion

• yellow + orange = Amber

• yellow+ green = Chartreuse

• blue + green = Teal

• Blue + purple = violet

In design, there are different ways of writing CSS color.

These are:

a) Keyword format – Color: green;

b) Hex color- color : #FFFFFF;

c) rgb color: rgb(45,67,90);

d) HSLA Color: hsla(56, 100%, 55%, 0.2);

The most preferred format for writing color is the HSLA that stands for; Hue – which is the pure color and is expressed according to the angle in the color wheel. The S stands for saturation which refers to the purity or intensity of the pure color; it ranges from 0-100% which is the highest saturation. L refers to lightness which ranges from 0 to 100% with 0% being black and 100% white. The last letter A refers to the opacity; 0% is transparent while 100% is opaque.

Different types of color

Warm colors

These mainly range between red, orange, brown, tan, and yellow and their different versions. They are termed as warm because of the sense of warmth that they bring. You can relate this to fire which burns with red, yellow, and brown flames. These colors tend to be associated with fire because of the warmth it creates. The colors also provide a feeling of boldness and aggression.

Cool colors

Unlike warm colors, these are considered cool and range between blue, purple, green, and gray colors. They are termed so because of the calming and soothing nature that they possess.

Tints and shades

Tints and shades also occur in different forms. Tints occur when white is applied to color and shades are created when black is added to a color. Tints increase the lightness of a pure color while shades decrease the lightness of pure color. Besides, the knowledge of this will help you create different colors.

Color Contrast

A known fact is that colors that are opposite each other in the color wheel have high contrast. The colors that fall next to each other have a lower contrast to one another. In design, ensure the contrast levels provide the right clarity, ease of use, and legibility to the users.

Monochromatic Designs

When utilizing this, you need to find a darker and lighter shade of the main color. The monochromatic designs provide an organized impression when applied to your designs. The use of a single color can also bring a feeling of harmony. They can also consist of black and white with varying shades of gray.

Analogous color schemes

These schemes apply three or more colors that are adjacent to each other. However, there is normally one dominant color that is then combined with the others. They bring a calming and pleasing feeling. The downside of this is that the contrast might be low because of the similarity of the colors, thus you need to be careful with how you combine them. They are suitable for creating the background, but not the main content of the website to stop diverting the audience’s attention.

Triadic color schemes

They can be termed as complementary colors as they provide additional taste to the color and enable flexibility. These consist of three colors that are equidistant from each other on the color wheel. They create a sense of vibrancy, equality, and security in the design.

Color psychology

Different colors have different contexts and meanings and this can impact how people can perceive design and relate to it. The color helps in providing the right emotion and communication.   Each color brings out a different meaning;

Red – brings a passionate, energetic and angry feeling, orange brings an optimistic, playful and fun feeling, yellow brings a welcoming, intellectual and impatient feeling, green brings a prosperous, balanced and growing feeling, blue brings a peaceful, loyal and cold feeling, purple brings an imaginative, royal and spiritual feeling, grey brings an unemotional and compromising feeling, white brings an innocent and pure feeling while black brings a luxurious and powerful feeling.


However, you need to be careful while using neon colors as they are normally hard on the user’s eyes. Also, be careful about the use of vibrating colors that can make a user not to see well. This is because of the glowing and moving effect on the eyes. It is important to have white space on your website to ensure that there is no monotony or hard text to read. Many sites teach on the color wheel, which you may opt for to perfect your design skills.

 image courtesy: pinotspalette

Written by 

Trizah provides content writing, ebook writing, coaching, web development, and ghostwriting services. Her educational background in website design and community development has given her a broad base from which to approach many technological topics. She has also written for Kenya News, and independently on Upwork. She also enjoys embracing innovations, art and new designs :-) Twitter||Linkedin||Medium||Instagram

2 thoughts on “How to blend color in designs using the color wheel

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