Colour Theory

Variations of Colour:

  • The Primary colours are the colours from which all other colours are made. These are red, yellow and blue.
  • Secondary colours are the colours that are produced by combining equal amounts of pairs of primary colours. These colours are green, orange and violet.
  • Tertiary colours are made from equal amounts of primary and secondary colours. For example; red-violet, blue-green and red-orange.
  • Monochromatic: Multiple shades of the same colour
  • Complimentary: Colours that fall on the opposite sides of the colour wheel.
  • Harmonious: Colours that are next to each other on the colour wheel.
  • Neutral: Colours that aren’t featured on the colour wheel (e.g black, white, etc).
  • Warm: Colours located on the right side of the colour wheel.
  • Cool/Cold: Colours located on the left side on the colour wheel.

Individual colours and their suggestive meaning within visual art:

  • Red – war, passion, love, sex, danger and desire.
  • Orange – creativity, happiness and determination
  • Yellow – joy, happiness, intellect and energy
  • Green – snature, growth and fertility
  • Blue – depth, stability, wisdom, faith and confidence.
  • Purple –  stability, royalty, independence, mystery and magic.
  • White – purity, virginity, innocence and goodness.
  • Black –  power, elegance, formality, death and evil.

Every colour on the colour wheel has a variation of meanings


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