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A question I'm often asked is how do I know which colours to use when I'm making a card? So today I thought let's talk about colours.
Sometimes choosing colours for a project can be frustrating. Seeing what colours look good together, complement one another and go along with whatever your theme is. I’ve found that having some sort of reference available in my studio helps me the most. So I worked on a standard RYB colour wheel that you can print and use for reference.
A RYB colour wheel is a color wheel that’s derived from the primary colors, R-red, Y-yellow and B-blue. Every colour that exists comes from these three primary colors. Now keeping that in mind, did you know that there are three main colour families? They are Primary, Secondary and Tertiary. Let's delve into this more so we can have a clear understanding of how this works.
Primary colours are the three main colours that all other colours derive from they are blue, yellow and red.
Secondary colours are when two primary colours are mixed together.
blue + red = purple
red + yellow = orange
yellow + blue = green
These colours come from mixing a primary colour with a secondary colour. There are six tertiary colours.
blue + purple = violet
purple + red = magenta
red + orange = vermillion
orange + yellow = amber
yellow + green = chartreuse
green + blue = teal
Below you can find a colour wheel to print as a reference. The colour families and the colours in each family are there for you.
Now let's talk about choosing colours to use for card making. First there is a difference between a colour scheme and a color palette. A colour scheme is the strategy for choosing your colours and a palette is a collection of colours that you’ve chosen. You can find colour palette generators online for a quick and helpful way to find inspiration. Since colour palettes come from colour schemes let's go over what types of colour schemes there are.
Complementary Colour Schemes
Complementary colours are on the opposite sides of the colour wheel. You'll get maximum contrast on your card by using this combination because it's so vibrant. If your theme for your card is loud a complementary colour scheme will work well.
Split Complementary Colour Schemes
Split complementary colour schemes are great to use as a beginning card maker. An example on how to pick this colour scheme, take the colour red, it's complementary colour would be green. To create the split complementary you would choose the colours on either side of the green. So your colour scheme would consist of red, teal and chartreuse.
Another split complementary colour scheme would be to choose colours that are two away from the complementary colour. For example lets use the colour magenta its complementary colour is chartreuse. The colours that are two away from either side of chartreuse are teal and amber. So the colour scheme would consist of magenta, teal and amber.
You can also use this same method by choosing colours three away from the complementary colour, as long as the colours you choose are the same distance from the complementary colour.
Analogous Colour Schemes
Analogous colour schemes are sets of three colours that all sit side by side on the colour wheel. For example in the colour wheel that you’ve printed, if you start with green, then chartreuse and yellow, that’s an analogous colour scheme. The three colours when used together create a serene and soothing feeling. If your theme for your card is soft or comforting then using analogous colours will work well.
Triadic Colour Schemes
Triadic colour schemes consist of three colours that are spaced evenly from each other on the colour wheel. One triadic colour scheme would be green, purple and orange. See how they form a triangle on the colour wheel. This colour scheme works best when you choose one colour to be the main colour. An example would be your card base would be your main colour and the other two colours would be used to complement the background colour. You can also use the main colour along with your complementing colours.
Tetradic Colour Scheme
Tetradic colour schemes are made up of four complementary colours. There is a rectangle tetradic colour scheme. This is where you choose one set of complementary colours and then move over one space from you complementary and then choose that colour and it’s complementary. Here’s an example, let’s take the colour chartreuse on our colour wheel, it’s complementary colour is magenta, that’s our first two colours. Now let’s move two colours over to the left of chartreuse, you should have teal. The complementary colour to teal is vermillion, so your tetradic colour scheme would consist of chartreuse, magenta, teal and vermillion.
There is also a square tetradic colour scheme. This is where you would choose four colours that are evenly spaced from each other on the wheel, thus forming a square shape. An example of a square tetradic colour scheme would be red, green, violet and amber.
So now that we know how to create a colour scheme, next time I’d love to delve in deeper on colours and talk about warm and cool colours, and how and when to use them. Also what is SHTT?
Thanks for stopping by!
Click the picture below to download the RYB colour chart