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Good taste in color combinations may contribute to your talentfor art or graphic design, but it’s important to learn color theoryto expand your design potential. Color harmony is an aspect ofcolor theory that’s especially relevant to graphic design becauseit addresses how to create visually appealing color schemes.Following is a basic overview of color harmony and how you can useit to your advantage:

The color wheel

If you took anything away from your art class in elementaryschool, hopefully it’s a vague recollection of the acronym ROY GBV, which stands for Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, and Violet.The colors are found in this order on the color wheel, which is acircle used in graphicdesign careers for artistic color mixing but also serves as avaluable tool for determining color relationships. You can tell alot about the color harmony of two or more colors based on theirrelative locations on the color wheel:

* Next to each other. Colors that lie next to each other on thecolor wheel are called analogous colors, which have a lot ofharmony but little contrast.

* Across from each other. Colors facing each other directly arecalled complementary and have strong contrast.

* Across and to the sides. Split complementary colors includeone primary color and the two colors that fall on either side ofits complement. Split complements contrast with the primary lessthan its direct complement.

* Every third. Three colors on the color wheel that lie an equaldistance from each other are triadic colors, and they have morebalanced contrast.

* Rectangle. Also called double split complementary or tetradiccolors, rectangle colors are two pairs of complements spaced twocolors away from each other on the color wheel. These four colorsoffer variation since half are cool colors and half are warm.

* Square. Four colors spaced at an equal distance from eachother on the color wheel are square colors. These colors contrastslightly more than rectangle colors because they are spaced fartherapart.

Note: When looking at these combinations on a color wheel, keepin mind that contrast isn’t necessarily the opposite of colorharmony. You may learn in graphic designclasses that color harmony refers to balanced and attractivecolor combinations, and both contrasting and harmonizing colorsmust work together to produce overall color harmony.

The formulas

The six ways that colors interact with each other are the basisof the following formulas for creating successfully balanced colorschemes:

* Monochrome. A monochrome scheme is the most basic because ituses only one hue, or base color, with varying degrees of lightnessor darkness. Since there is no contrast, a monochrome scheme iscalm but must be used creatively so that the design doesn’t appeardull.

* Analogous. Three adjacent colors are combined to create ananalogous color scheme. These form a calm design, but the trick isto make sure that the three hues have enough contrast. It alsohelps to pick primary and secondary colors and to balance the thirdby adding an equal amount of white or black.

* Complementary. A bold and vibrant color scheme can be createdusing two complementary colors. Because this scheme stands out, itwon’t work for everything and must be used carefully to get apleasant effect.

* Triadic. A triadic scheme is also bold due to the wide spacingof the colors, but it’s recommended to let one color dominate andto be careful when balancing the colors to avoid an overpoweringscheme.

* Split-Complementary. A split complementary scheme is easy touse because it has vibrancy without the more difficult contrast ofa complementary combination.

* Rectangle and Square. A strong point of the rectangle andsquare schemes is versatility, but like the triadic scheme, onlyone color should dominate. Since the colors are half warm and halfcool, this balance should be maintained.

* Natural. This scheme allows for more imagination because itrequires the colors to be found together in nature. Rely on yourtaste and knowledge of color harmony to balance a naturalscheme.

Keep in mind that using one of these color schemes won’tautomatically result in color harmony. Whether a color schemecreates color harmony depends on context as well as balance, so tryto combine colors in a way that suits the content or purpose of awork. Don’t forget to use your sense of taste to gauge and adjust awork’s color harmony.

If you want to learn more about the use of color harmony ingraphic design, you may want to enroll in a graphic designprogram.

This article is presented by IADT – Detroit. Contact this schooltoday if you’re interested in developing marketable knowledge andcareer-relevant skills with its Graphic Design degree program. IADT- Detroit does not guarantee employment or salary.

Courtesy of ARAcontent