Colour Theory Terms You Need to Know

An explosion of colours at the colour run
An explosion of colours at the colour run

As a designer, my aim in studying colours is to acquire the knowledge that will enable me to use and combine them to support the purposes of the website I am building. I may use understated, muted colours for quiet and subtle sites (Corporate Website)โ€”or exciting and provocative colour combinations for a musician or a band site. My choice will, of course, depend on the aim of the design.

Colours have a psychological effect. They can stimulate our emotions, and most of us can understand this intellectually.

While reactions to specific colours differ according to the viewer. Generally, most of us find certain hues seem quieter, more static, and subdued and elicit a particular emotion. Other hues are dynamic and intense and stimulate or cheerfully affect us.

No colour ever stands alone.

Colours on a web page exist about the surrounding elements on the page, buttons, lines, containers, and navigation. These considerations change its APPEARANCE profoundly and its MEANING in the total design.

The following terms help describe colours:

Hue

The name of the colour is the property that distinguishes one colour from another.  It is a pure colour, white or black. Usually, colours with the same hue are differentiated with adjectives referring to their lightness and colourfulness, such as ‘light blue’, ‘pastel blue’, and ‘vivid blue’. Any colour can be described concerning its hue.  A dark brown would have a red and yellow value on the colour wheel.

An image with the hues cyclically shifted
An image with the hues cyclically shifted Wikipedia

Value

When compared with white or black, the amount of dark or light it contains.
Intensity: The degree of vividness or brightness. This property of colour tells us how dark or light a colour is based on how close it is to white. If one considers red, we may assign different names such as pink, violet, and maroon; however, we know they all come from red.

Colour swatch - Adobe Stock
Colour swatch – Adobe Stock

Related colours (Tertiary Colours):

Colours which typical hues predominate. When a secondary colour and another secondary colour have the same primary colours.

Color wheel chart - Adobe Stock
Colour wheel chart – Adobe Stock

Opposing Colours (Complementary).

Colours that contain no common hue. These show the most significant contrast. Combined, they produce a greyscale colour like white or black.

Cool colours:

Colours related to blue. These colours are associated with water, sky, ice and cooler temperatures. They sit in the background of the design and can take on the properties of the surrounding colours. These are RECESSIVE and tend to want to ground the design.

iceberg
Iceberg – cool colours

Warm Colours:

Colours related to orange. These are ADVANCING or dominant. Dominant colours will always try to“push through the design”. The eye will perceive dominant colours in the foreground of the design. While colours tend to advance or recede, it is not necessarily inherent but will depend upon the context and what else is happening in the design.

yellow-bokeh-background-1444394704uVF.jpg
Yellow Black Blur Background Images

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