Tuesday Tip – Basic Color Theory

Did you know that there really are people who make a living classified as “color experts”? Since it’s a little late for me to get another degree, I’m so happy that Stampin’ Up! has a “Color Coach” that gives me the same information!  

Color Coach

Here is a little “Color 101” that you might find helpful!

Basic Color Principles: color is well founded in science, but it is also largely subjective. Understanding color principles will help you when designing your projects but remember, your creations are personal and it is important for you to be happy with the results…if you like it, do it!

These are characteristics by which differences in color are measured. HUE is the identity of a color—red, yellow, blue, etc. VALUE is the lightness or darkness of a color. Differences in value can create contrast and emphasis.

TEMPERATURE measures how warm or cool a color feels. For example, blue-violet is a cool color, while red-violet is a warm color. SATURATION measures the brightness or dullness of a color. Saturation could also be called intensity or energy.

Color Wheel: The color wheel visually organizes the relationships between different hues. The basic color wheel is made up of the following three groups of colors:

  • PRIMARY colors are the three basic colors from which all other colors are created (blue, yellow, and red).
  • SECONDARY colors are the three colors created when primary colors are mixed together (green, violet, and orange).
  • TERTIARY colors are created by mixing a primary color with a secondary color (such as yellow-green or blue-violet).

COMPLEMENTARY COLORS are opposite each other on the color wheel. These are high-energy color combinations that bring out the best in each other.

ANALAGOUS COLORS are next to each other on the color wheel. Because analogous colors are closely related, they generally look good together.

MONOCHROMATIC COLORS: A monochromatic scheme uses shades of the same color or a color plus a neutral. A monochromatic scheme is always a classic choice. Dynamic Duos are Stampin’ Up! colors in monochromatic schemes. If a Dynamic Duo is available for a specific color, it will be listed on that color card. (tip: Dynamic Duos work well for choosing color schemes for stamping Two-Step Stampin’® images or for choosing card stock and ink combinations.

NEUTRAL COLORS: Black, white, gray, and sometimes brown are considered neutral colors. Neutrals aren’t shown on the color wheel because, as the name implies, they’re neutral—they don’t fall into any color group. Neutrals go well with many colors.


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