Creating variety in color is an art of infinite nuance. As with any good form of art, however, the basics of creating color schemes can be drilled down into a relatively simple skill set. From this groundwork, you may expand your own creativity.
The purpose of learning the basics is to learn the natural harmony of color. Complex nuance forms the icing on the cake, but color follows these basic tenants at all times –
Opposing and assembling colors – Certain colors oppose or build upon each other. Studying the color wheel can help familiarize you with the basic color sets that have been shown to bring certain emotions and aesthetics out of a combination.
The use of neutral colors – Brown, beige, navy and gray meld your other colors to each other and create harmony between shades and different frequencies of light that might otherwise have trouble occupying the same space.
Black and white – Light plays a pivotal role in the harmony of the colors you use within a piece. White tends to illuminate the rest of the set (increased intensity), and black tends to blur the other colors you use (moderating intensity).
Once you know these basic rules of harmony, the next step is learning how to create harmonious color schemes within your own look. The monochromatic approach uses a single color shade or tinted of various values to generate harmony. Further, six techniques give us the basic tenants that run through all artistic schematics. They are Complementary, Analogous, Triadic, Split-Complementary, Tetradic Gold Rectangle and Square (four colors).
Complementary colors are basically opposite colors on the color wheel mentioned above. Use these combinations when you want to create a high impact. These colors naturally draw the eye and are most effective when they are used judiciously on the most important items of your outfit.
Photo: In Style
This low-contrast combination of colors produce an almost monochromatic look but is more dynamic. Contrary to complementary colors, analogous colors generate a sense of calm. Look to any three neighboring colors on the color wheel if you want to create this effect. However, the balance between the three colors you choose is very important. In most cases, one color is chosen as the central thematic while the other two serve as support. Note: You can also go for diad schemes, which are combinations of two colors located two steps apart on the color wheel, skipping the color in between.
Colors that are evenly spaced around the color wheel are known as triadic. They will form a triangle if linked with a straight line. Triadic colors give a balance between the attention-getting Complementary color scheme and the calming effect of Analogous colors. It is also recommended here to pick one color as the primary theme and use the other two as complements.
If you choose a base color with two supporting colors directly opposite on the color wheel, the result is a slightly more demure version of the loud Complementary style. This is a less risky choice than a pure Complementary schematic and may be used if you wish to draw less attention at first glance.
Tetradic Gold Rectangle
Instead of using three colors on the color wheel for a particular schematic, the tetradic gold rectangle uses four. More color means an opportunity for a richer, deeper tone, but only if the colors are employed properly. In the Tetradic Gold Rectangle, the four colors are arranged into two complementary pairs and balanced between the group of two and again between the larger groups. If a straight line is drawn between the four colors in a Tetradic Gold Rectangle, a rectangle is formed.