Color Worqx

Color Wheel

twelve color wheelA color wheel (also referred to as a color circle) is a visual representation of colors arranged according to their chromatic relationship. Begin a color wheel by positioning primary hues equidistant from one another, then create a bridge between primaries using secondary and tertiary colors.

Color Terminology

primary colors Primary Colors: Colors at their basic essence; those colors that cannot be created by mixing others.

secondary colors Secondary Colors: Those colors achieved by a mixture of two primaries.

tertiary colors Tertiary Colors: Those colors achieved by a mixture of primary and secondary hues.

complementary colors - red and green Complementary Colors: Those colors located opposite each other on a color wheel.

analogous colors Analogous Colors: Those colors located close together on a color wheel.

Active & Passive Colors

The color wheel can be divided into ranges that are visually active or passive. Active colors will appear to advance when placed against passive hues. Passive colors appear to recede when positioned against active hues.

color wheel displaying active - passive ranges

  • Advancing hues are most often thought to have less visual weight than the receding hues.
  • Most often warm, saturated, light value hues are "active" and visually advance.
  • Cool, low saturated, dark value hues are "passive" and visually recede.
  • Tints or hues with a low saturation appear lighter than shades or highly saturated colors.
  • Some colors remain visually neutral or indifferent.


Color relationships

Color relationships may be displayed as a color wheel or a color triangle.

Painter's color wheel The Painter's color triangle consists of colors we would often use in art class—those colors we learn about as children. The primary hues are red, blue and yellow.

Printer's color wheel The Printers' color triangle is the set of colors used in the printing process. The primaries are magenta, cyan, and yellow.

Goethe color wheel Nine-part harmonic triangle of Goethe begins with the printer's primaries; the secondaries formed are the painter's primaries; and the resulting tertiaries formed are dark neutrals.

Continue tutorial, view: Complementary Colors