04. Color Theory - Lecture

Color Schemes Complimentary Colors & The 2/3 Rule


It’s easy to fall into a rut and use the same color combinations over and over again. This lesson is designed to assist and inspire new color combinations for your makeup looks. According to Wikipedia, a color wheel is: an organization of color hues around a circle, showing relationships between colors. In this lesson, red, yellow, and blue are primary colors; orange, green, and violet are secondary colors; and red orange, yellow-orange, yellow-green, blue-green, blue-violet, and red-violet are intermediate colors. Color combinations can be built by using the color wheel to build particular color relationships or color schemes.

Complimentary Colors

There are color combinations, that show up frequently in our makeup looks without us really understanding why those colors worked together. Today we want to explore how to successfully combine complementary colors and unpack the theory behind some of our go-to color schemes.

Complementary Colors:

These colors appear opposite each other on the color wheel. An example might be red and green: Because they are complete opposites, complementary colors make each other seem more intense. To be frank, it can be difficult to use complimentary colors together and simultaneously avoid looking like a page out of a coloring book. As we played with our color wheel, we found that we gravitated towards complementary color schemes that used intermediate colors, such as red-orange and blue-green. We also liked how using a darker hue of a color’s complement created a more sophisticated palette.

Two-Thirds Rule

We realized that we tend to gravitate towards color combinations that make up two-thirds of a triad. In technical terms, a triad is comprised of three hues equal distance from each other on the color wheel. If you were to draw an equilateral triangle in the middle of the color wheel, the points would touch a triad of colors such as red-yellow-blue or orange-green-purple. Triads can be tricky to use simultaneously, but we’ve found that picking just two colors from a triad often results in a terrific, eye-catching palette. Just Pick Two! Or add a third when you are feeling daring. Another example might be violet and green: But, as with the complementary color schemes, we found that we preferred to mix a bright hue with its darker, more subdued complement: Use the Color Scheme Designer to play and test your schemes and ideas. http://colorschemedesigner.com


• Primary Colors: Red, Blue, Yellow (colors that appear naturally on earth) • Secondary Colors: Purple, Green, Orange (colors created from two primary colors) → Red and Blue= Purple → Blue and Yellow=Green → Red and Yellow=Orange • Tertiary Colors: Colors created by a primary and secondary color...for example, Blue-Violet.    

Hues, Tint, Tone and Shade

Hue, Tint, Tone, and Shade is taking a color and making it darker or lighter. So what is pink a TINT of? That’s right, RED. When you add white to red, you get pink!

Complementary Colors

Colors opposite each other on the color wheel. See chart below. Red and Green - Yellow and Violet - Blue and Orange

Triadic Colors

Three colors that are an equal distance apart (they form a triangle). Orange, Violet, Green or Blue, Red, Yellow

Analogous Colors

Colors next to each other on the color wheel.

Color Schemes

Color schemes are used to create style and appeal. Colors that create an aesthetic feeling when used together will commonly accompany each other in color schemes. A basic color scheme will use two colors that look appealing together. More advanced color schemes involve several colors in combination, usually based around a single color; for example, text with such colors as red, yellow, orange and light blue arranged together on a black background in a magazine article. Color schemes can also contain different shades of a single color; for example, a color scheme that mixes different shades of green, ranging from very light (almost white) to very dark. There is practically an endless number of color schemes that you can choose from and create. The following are a few examples of popular color schemes.

Monochromatic Color Scheme

A monochromatic color scheme consists of different values (tints and shades) of one single color. These color schemes are easy to get right and can be very effective, soothing and authoritative. They do, however, lack the diversity of hues found in other color schemes and are less vibrant.

Analogous Color Scheme

Analogous colors are colors that are adjacent to each other on the color wheel. Some examples are green, yellow green, and yellow or red, red violet and violet. Analogous color schemes are often found in nature and are pleasing to the eye. The combination of these colors give a bright effect in the area, and are able to accommodate many changing moods. When using the analogous color scheme, one should make sure there is one hue as the main color.

Split-Analogous Color Scheme

A split-analogous color scheme includes a main color and the two colors one space away from it on each side of the color wheel. An example is red, violet, and blue.

Split-Complementary Color Scheme

A split complementary color scheme includes a main color and the two colors on each side of its complementary (opposite) color on the color wheel. These are the colors that are one hue and two equally spaced from its complement. Colors that should be used are red/violet and yellow/green.

Triadic Color Scheme

The triad color scheme is three colors on the color wheel in a triangle. Example: Blue, Yellow, and Red

Tetrads Color Scheme

Tetrads are any four colors with a logical relationship on the color wheel, such as double complements.

Neutral Color Scheme

A color scheme that includes only colors not found on the color wheel, called neutrals, such as beige, brown, gray, black and white.

Accented Neutral Color Scheme

A color scheme that includes neutral colors, like white, beige, brown, gray, light brown or black, and one or more small doses of other colors (e.g. brown and beige with blue, gray and black with red).

Warm & Cool Color Schemes

Warm color schemes do not include blue at all, and likewise, cool color schemes do not include red at all. For example, a color scheme that includes "warmer" colors may have orange, yellow, and red-orange in it. "Cooler" colors are green, violet, light blue, etc.