Color and Using Color

Posted: October 15, 2012 in Fund. Visual Literacy


There are two different types of color methods: additive color and subtractive color. Both methods are based on the concept of light. Different wavelengths produce different colors. With the additive color method only the wavelengths of the colors you want to view are only produced. The subtractive color method does the opposite. With this method all the wavelengths are shown, but the colors you do not want to show are absorbed and the colors you do want to show will reflect back to the viewer.

The primary colors of the additive color method are red, blue, and green. When these light colors mix they create the secondary colors of yellow, magenta, and cyan. When you mix all three together you get pure white.

The primary colors of the subtractive color method are closer to the color wheel of reality. In the color wheel of the subtractive color method the primary colors are red, blue, and yellow and the secondary colors are orange, green and violet.


When you are looking at the color wheel for either color method you can see complimentary and contrasting colors. Complimentary colors are colors across from each other on the wheel. Complimentary colors help make a design brighter. Contrasting colors help colors stand out. When using contrasting colors you will use a light and a dark color together.

Color is viewed in regards of temperature. There are cool colors and warm colors. Cool colors are mainly blues, violets, and green; while warm colors are mainly reds, oranges, and yellows. Though one color is not warmer than the other, they appear as though they are.


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