Colour Theory Part 2

Colour Theory Part 2

In a recent blog post I shared some basic guidelines about how colours work in relation to each other, you can read all about it HERE

Today we are going to put this information together into some practical applications.  Please remember that in using some of these colour combinations, you are applying it to the whole card or project, not just a section.  So combine these within the image, the cardstock, and the embellishment.


colour theory

  • Do use strong contrasts in your card.  Whether this is used within the paper image relationship, or just the image or just the paper.  Strong contrasts can create bold eye catching designs whereas using all the same value (such as everything done light or everything dark) can create a visually boring creation. Highlighting with a gel pen emphasises this idea of highlighting with a light colour to emphasise and bring forward a certain area.
  • Do use complementary colours, but not necessarily with the same intensity.  Two bright complementary colours are definitely vibrant, but often, can be too vibrant.  They become hard to look at after a period of time.  Instead try pairing a bright hue, with a toned down version of its complementary companion.  This can be done either with sponging or picking a duller version of the same hue.  (its is not to say that the all bright never works, just that it may not be the most ideal).
  • Remember that cool colours visually appear to move back within a composition, and warm colours visually appear to move forward.  When colouring, this can be an important trait for emphasising your image.  In terms of CS choice, it is prefered to stay within the same temperature range (so all cool, or all warm)
  • Try out a monochromatic colour scheme, where you are using the different values of one hue within the same composition, and then pair it with some sort of neutral
  • Do try Analogous colours, or colours which are located next to each other. So for instance Red, Red-Orange and Orange-Yellow would all look great together, as would other colours which lie next to each other.
  • Do rely on the colours used within Designer Paper, they have chosen out harmonious colour combinations.
  • Do pick up a colour wheel which can show you interesting ways of using triangles and rectangles to create harmonious colour combinations. These combinations are known as Triad’s (triangle) and Tetrad (square). By drawing a Triangle which touches three colours, and a square or rectangle which touches four colours, you will achieve successful combinations.

Analogous Colour Scheme

Analogous colour schemes use colors that are next to each other on the colour wheel. They usually match well and create serene and comfortable designs. Analogous colour schemes are often found in nature and are harmonious and pleasing to the eye. Make sure you have enough contrast when choosing an analogous colour scheme. Choose one colour to dominate, a second to support. The third colour is used (along with black, white or gray) as an accent.

Triadic Colour Scheme

A triadic colour scheme uses colours that are evenly spaced around the colour wheel. Triadic colour schemes tend to be quite vibrant, even if you use pale or unsaturated versions of your hues. To use a triadic colour scheme successfully, the colours should be carefully balanced – let one colour dominate and use the two others for accent

Rectangle or Tetrad Colour Scheme 

The rectangle or tetrad colour scheme uses four colours arranged into two complementary pairs. Tetrad colour schemes works best if you let one colour be dominant. You should also pay attention to the balance between warm and cool colours in your design. It is a rich colour combination.

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