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Whether you are designing a logo, a website, magazine or even your social media; your choice of colours is important. Having a brand that is consistent will help convey your unique message and set you apart from your competitors. How you choose your colours plays a crucial role in altering or affecting the mood of your audience. This is where the basic colour theory comes into play.

Colours can tap on the emotion of a person. However, it is also important to note that an individual’s reaction may differ from another. With this being said, it helps you to consider your audience’s preference as well how some people with visual deficiencies might perceive the colours they see. Understanding colours more will definitely result to a more apt and effective design.

What is Colour Theory?

Colour theory is a pratical guide to the mixing of colour and the visual and mental effects of a specific colour combination. A lot of us where taught early in school about the colour wheel. The latter is one of the basic categories of colour theory, along with colour harmony and the way these colours are used.

Colour Wheel

This is a circle divided into three colour groups: primary, secondary and tertiary colours. The primary colours are red, yellow and blue while the secondary colours are green, orange and purple. These are achieved by combining two primary colours. Tertiary colours, on the other hand are obtained by mixing one primary colour with a secondary one. The results create red-orange, yellow-green, blue-green and so on.

If a line is drawn at the centre of the wheel, the colours will be divided between the warm (reds, oranges and yellows) and the cool (greens, blues, purples) colours. While warm colours are considered to indicate brightness, action and energy, cool colours represent calmness, peace, subtleness and tranquility. To come up with different shades, white or black can be added to the mixture.

Colour Theory is significant in creating the following colour schemes:

Complementary Colours

These are colours located opposite each other in the colour wheel. These colours usually create contrast and effective in catching attention of whoever sees it. Examples of complementary colours are yellow and purple as well as red and green.

Analogous Colours

These are colours located next to each other in the colour wheel. Examples of these colours are red, orange and yellow. These colours will function differently, in which one is the dominating colour, another is the accent while the third one supports the other two.

Triadic Colours

These are bright and dynamic colours that are spaced evenly in the colour wheel. This colour scheme works perfectly well in coming up with a visually contrasting yet harmonious design. Using triadic colours will result to each colour being equally visible and as a whole, standing out.

Colours used in logos and websites are important in brand building. Many companies have succeeded in doing so by using eye-catching and effective colours on their brands, such as Apple, Coke, Burger King and McDonalds, among others. With basic colour theory, you learn about the right colour combination to make your website stand out among competitors.

A great tool to use is:

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