There are many versions of color wheels out there and I am sure you have seen lots of different ways of showing this colorful tool. A color wheel is basically a way for us to understand color relationships and also use to help us choose color and work with color.

A Color Wheel blends both scientific theory and subjective preferences. Our brains react to different Hues, Tints, Tones and Shades in certain ways and we can usually intuitively know when a color scheme just doesn’t look or feel right.

I generally use the color wheel which has 12 colors around it, but color wheels can grown and grow into 24 or many more. There is much to learn about the color wheel and this page will help you get started with some of the basics so you can begin to navigate around and choose colors.

In this post we talk about primary, secondary and tertiary colors.



In theory, the Primary Colors are the root of every other hue. Think of the three Primaries as the Parents in the family of colors. In paint pigments, pure Yellow, pure Red, and pure Blue are the only hues that cannot be created by mixing any other colors together. Printer inks and digital primaries are referred to as Yellow, Magenta and Cyan.



When you combine any two of the Pure Primary Hues, you get three new mixtures called Secondary Colors.

Yellow + Red = ORANGE

Red + Blue = VIOLET or PURPLE

Blue + Yellow = GREEN



When you mix a Primary and its nearest Secondary on the Basic Color Wheel you create six new mixtures called Tertiary colors.

Yellow + Orange = YELLOW-ORANGE
Red + Orange = RED-ORANGE
Red + Violet = RED-VIOLET
Blue + Violet = BLUE-VIOLET
Blue + Green = BLUE-GREEN
Yellow + Green = YELLOW-GREEN

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