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Combining the Right Colors

July, 2018

Combining the Right Colors

Combining colors are often challenging.Two or more colors that look good individually may not complement each other when placed together. The effect a color has in the presence of another is always different. An understanding of the emotional effects of colors is essential in order to design a visually appealing space.

Color Harmony:
In color theory, color harmony is the basic tool for creating good color combinations. Harmony ensures that all the colors that comprise a color scheme share some mutual attributes such as hue, value and Chroma.

Color Wheel- the tool for combining colors
First developed by Sir Isaac Newton in 1666, the color wheel is an abstract illustrative representation of 12 basic hues of visible spectrum around a circle. These schemes are used by designers to set a rule of thumb towards color management. 

Types of Color Schemes:

1. Monochromatic Color Scheme:

Monochromatic Color SchemeMonochromatic scheme uses a single color with variations in terms of tints, tones, and shades. A simple and balanced scheme, it is easy to manage but can be monotonous owing to lack of contrast.

For example: Various tints, tones and shades of red.

 

2. Analogous color scheme:

Analogous color schemeAnalogous color scheme uses three or more colors adjacent to each other on the color wheel. (For example: Red- Violet, Violet, and Blue-Violet).  Designers select one color as a dominant theme and accent other analogous hues. More vibrant than the monochromatic, use of many colors may however misbalance harmony. Nature inspired, harmonizing blue skies and green trees landscapes are an example.

3. Complementary color scheme:

Complementary color schemeComplementary color scheme comprises of two colors that are directly opposite each other on the color wheel (example: Red and Green).The inherent high contrast makes them appear intense anddramatic, thus giving a visual impact. The amber of the setting sun against the blue sky is a perfect example.

4. Triadic scheme:

Triadic schemeAny three hues that are equidistant in the color wheel compose a triadic color scheme (Example: Orange, Green and Violet). Sharp in color contrast while retaining harmony, it produces some of the most diverse color schemes.

5. Split complementary color scheme:

Split complementary color schemeRather than being exact opposites or complementary, the split complementary scheme uses the combination of a color and the two colors adjacent to its complementary. (For example: Red, Blue-Green and Yellow-Green).

6. Tetrad (double complementary) color scheme:

Tetrad (double complementary) color schemeTetrad color scheme comprises of four colors that are complementary color pairs.(For example: Red, Green, Yellow and Violet). Because of the double contrast, the scheme offersvariety but achieving balance is difficult.

7. Square:

SquareFour colors equidistant on the color wheel form a square scheme. (For example: Green, Red, Yellow- Orange and Blue-Violet). This scheme can also be thought of as a balanced double-complement color scheme, although the colors are not adjacent.Warm and cool colors should be balanced to achieve harmony.

Use of color combinations in Architecture:

Bricks may shape a building, however colors add life – they enhance the form of the space. Architects and interior designers experiment with the interdependent mix of design elements – structure, form, space, light, texture and color to create a masterpiece. Color plays the most powerful role in the design process because of its diversity.

Designers use color schemes as per the effect they wish to create. Color combinations can be used as an architectural design ingredient to manipulate the space itself. It can be usedfor focusing or diverting attention from a certain element. Moreover, colors can be used strategically to either break up orto unify the space.

Having the power to stimulate our mind and soul, colors have been used from time immemorial to create a positive energy around us.

Picture: Focusing attention


Focusing attention
The multi-color analogous color scheme (orange, yellow, yellow-green, blue) gives the space a unified tropical feel.

Picture: Diverting attention

Diverting attention

The monochrome scheme, gives the complex design a sense of order and tranquility.

Picture: Breaking up and defining the space

Breaking up and defining the space

Square colors (yellow-orange, violet, red and green) have been used to break down the space while still conjoined at some point.

Picture: Unifying the space

Unifying the space

The split-complementary colors highlight the rich natural wood tone while knitting all the elements together.



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