Color Theory 101

I can, at times, be a teeny bit judgmental.

from pretendpaper

Not about a person’s sexuality, nationality, socioeconomic status, or vocation–but about the tacky stuff.

We all have faults, and this…is just one of mine.

from websters

You know what I’m talking about, though–don’t try to deny it.

It might be a person’s manners.

from fifisfinefoods

(little bites. please.)

Or excessive PDA.

from whyfame

(Justin, Selena…that’s tacky.)

Or a person’s clothing choices.

from last

(really? Naked is almost better.)

But one of the biggest contributors to Tacky Behavior is a lack of knowledge. To begin my quest to rid the world of tackiness, I’ve compiled a quick guide to educate those who might struggle with one of the cornerstones of Anti-Tackiness:

Color Theory.

Color theory is easy.

All you really need is a color wheel.

from valve

It doesn’t have to be fancy,

from containergardens

or really complex,

from gardening

or abstract in a retro mod sort of way.

from posterous

(although I really do like that one)

It just needs to have your basic six colors and be a round shape.

Your Basic Colors:

are divided into 2 sections–warm colors and cool colors.

Warm Colors




Cool Colors




Now these are your basic colors. You get all the other colors by mixing variations of these 6 colors plus black or white.

Colors can also be divided into primary and secondary.

Primary Colors

Red, blue, & yellow.

from abankersblog

Secondary Colors

Purple, green, and orange.

from globalworld

You might notice (if you look back at the color wheel) that primary and secondary colors alternate. This is because you mix primary colors to achieve secondary colors (red + blue = purple, etc.)

Okay, here’s the theory part–

sometimes when you try to put certain colors together–say, in an outfit or a room–you want to go in with a plan.

from gapingvoid

The plan is really quite easy. It’s all about systematically pairing colors together. The combinations we’re going to cover today are complementary, analogus, triadic, and monochromatic.


Complementary colors are located directly across form each other on the color wheel.

from worqx

This means that the 3 main complementary pairs are red/green, blue/orange, and purple/yellow.

Because complementary colors are opposites, they complement  (notice what I did there?) each other in a way that the other colors can’t.

You might notice something about these pairings–

first off, red and green are the colors of Christmas.

from allthingschristmas

Coincidence? I think not.

Also, think about team colors–

many sports team colors are actually complements.

They’re mostly (ok, all) blue/orange and purple/yellow because Christmas has claimed red/green and isn’t letting go anytime soon.


Analogus colors are colors that are located side by side on the color wheel.

from worqx

These colors work together because they flow easily from one to another. This is an opportunity to group warm colors, cool colors, or gently incorporate both warm and cool.

Some teams chose to use this system for their logos:

(brown is just orange with black added…so this qualifies as analogus.)


Triadic is easy. It’s 3 colors equidistant on the color wheel, and we’ve already covered that–

from worqx

from worqx

–in primary and secondary colors.

Now sometimes you only want to use 2 of the 3 colors in a triadic scheme–and this is perfectly acceptable.

Sports teams with triadic (or partly triadic) logos:


Monochromatic color schemes are based around 1 color and use various tints, shades, black, and/or white.

Teams that use a monochromatic scheme:

But we’re not done!

Okay, now that you’ve got basic color theory under your belt–

–soon–Color Theory 102.

suck it, martha.

Tags: , , ,

Categories: Life


Subscribe to our RSS feed and social profiles to receive updates.

One Comment on “Color Theory 101”

  1. Elle A. Tee
    February 12, 2012 at 9:12 pm #

    Nice, simple & fun to read…Me likey.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: