Understanding the Basics

Designing Information Material 4(1+3)

Lesson 8 : Colours

Understanding the Basics

Although the choice of colours is a personal one, here are some guidelines for you. One can experiment and sometimes deviate from the normal. Lets start with the colour wheel.

Primary Colours (Red, Yellow and Blue). These are the basic 3 pigment colours that can not be formed by any other combination of other colours. All other colours are derived from these 3 hues.
There are different types of color schemes such as monochromatic, analogous, complementary, triadic and neutral. Here’s a quick explanation of each of those different types.

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Monochromatic: Different shades of a single color. It depends on how much black or white is added.


Analogous: Colors are close to each other on the color wheel. (blue and purple for example)


Triadic: The triadic color scheme uses three colors equally spaced around the color wheel. For example you could have shades of green, red and blue. As the name implies, triadic comes from ‘triangle’. This scheme is popular among designers because it offers strong visual contrast while retaining harmony and color richness. The triadic scheme is not as contrasting as the complementary scheme, but it looks more balanced and harmonious.

Complementary: This is often seen as “opposite” because the two colors in a complementary color scheme are opposite to one another on the color wheel. (Blue and Orange for example) Many people will like to go with a complementary color scheme since it is easier to combine two colors than it is combining 3 or 4.

Neutral: A neutral color scheme includes colors that are not in the color wheel. For example: beige, brown, white, black, greys etc...


Last modified: Saturday, 28 April 2012, 11:13 AM