Thursday, August 6, 2015

Color Theory - Part 2 - Mix 'n Match

Last post (Color Theory - Part 1) we learned about the basics of color; what it is, how we get it and how to group it.  Today were going to look at color schemes.

There are six basic color schemes that you’ll typically find noted on a color wheel:  Monochromatic, Analogous, Complimentary, Split Complimentary, Triadic and Tetradic.
Let’s start with the easiest scheme, Monochromatic.  Monochromatic color schemes use one color in various tints (any color + white) and shades (any color + black).  They are among one of the easiest schemes to produce because you don’t have to worry about working with another color.  Playing with textures will provide dimension to the one color look; i.e. for a monochromatic layout, look for buttons, flowers, ribbon, etc. to add dimension to the page.  Black and white photos, and photos with a lot of color or activity, shine when paired with a Monochromatic scheme. 

Analogous schemes, sometimes called harmonious schemes, are simply selecting colors that reside next to each other on the color wheel.  As simple to use as a monochromatic scheme, an Analogous scheme will give a bit more pop.  When using this scheme select one color to dominate and the other will provide the pop and support.

Complimentary schemes are colors that are directly opposite each other on the color wheel.  Using this scheme provides high contrast.  If the photo you’re working with has purple in it, choosing purple is one way to go, but draw the eye to the photos by selecting purple’s compliment, yellow.

Split Complimentary schemes start with one color and then add the two colors on either side of its complimentary color.  Split Complimentary schemes have great contrast, but not quite as strong as the Complimentary Scheme.

Triadic schemes use three colors that are evenly spaced on the color wheel.  Try all three colors in equal amounts, with no one color dominating, and you create a nicely balanced combination.

The last color scheme is the Tetradic scheme.  The Tetradic scheme, sometimes called Double Complimentary, uses four colors:  two pairs of complimentary colors. Because achieving a good color balance when using four colors can be difficult, select one color to dominate or use the method of proportioning called “quart-pint-ounce.”

How can you use color so that it's well balanced?  Think quart-pint-ounce.  Balanced colors help support and highlight your photos instead of overwhelming them.  Quart-pint-ounce works simply:  Select the colors you wish to use.  One of them will be the main color (the quart) that will be used for the majority of the layout, say your background paper.  Next select the color to be used in lesser amounts (the pint) and will support to the main color; a photo mat, a secondary patterned paper used in lesser amounts than the main paper and even the color you journal or print the title in.  Finally, the last color becomes the ounce, the color used the least, but helps add pop and balance; another patterned paper used in much smaller amounts, colored brads, florals, buttons, ribbon, etc.  When thinking in Quart, Pint, Ounce, it’s the overall amounts of each of the colors you use; it’s not just one sheet of red paper, highlighted with blue stripe and white buttons.  For example the Pint color can be several sheets of patterned paper, just in lesser total amounts than the Quart color’s total amount.

Most color wheels found at craft stores come with dials that identify each of the colors in any given color scheme.  If you don’t have a color wheel you can Google "color wheel" and find any number.  Simply print one and start applying your new-found knowledge.  Even without fancy dials, armed with the descriptions of the schemes you should be able to use it like a pro to create your next layout.

Next post, we’ll put the pieces together and show you how different schemes combined with your photos will change the way your layouts look.  In the meantime, play with the colors and schemes and enjoy the experiment.

Happy Thursday,

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