Metanoia: Color outside the lines

It is spring already and summer is just few weeks away. So if you haven’t embraced colors yet, perhaps it is about time to start.

Now, perhaps we should start by learning the basics.

There are six elements of art—one of which is color. Every color can have an impact on its own; and together they exist in harmonies and schemes that make them more suitable for the eye.

How to pick out your scheme?

You should first pick the mood you want and the visual message suitable for it then go.

Here are the most popular color schemes as taught by Mother Naturefrom simple to sophisticated.

colorwheel-monochromatic1st scheme: Monochromatic.

You choose one base color along with its different shades.

It is simple, clean, balanced and does not automatically mean grayscale or black and white; which are probably better to be known as achromatic (without color).

It is quite trendy these days.

You can blend it in; if you choose a color, one or two steps off of your main color or pop, or if you choose a color that contrasts with your bold main color.

analogoussmall 2nd scheme: Analogous.

Choose a color along with its adjacent ones in the color wheel.

It is richer than the monochromatic scheme. Still it is easy, safe and reliable.

analogouslargeIt can be all warm, all cool or a mixture of them.

You can choose a minimum of two to a maximum of five adjacent colors. If you want the colors to blend in, choose just one adjacent color, but the more you want to pop things up, the bolder you have to be and go for more.

When choosing an analogous color scheme, make sure you have enough contrast. Also using various tones of each color gives a nuanced, sophisticated palette.

203rd scheme: Diad.

It is an alteration of the Analogous one. It uses a combination of three colors located adjacently, skipping the color in between. In other words, the two colors are two steps apart on the color wheel.

4thscheme: Complementarycomplimentary-palette complimentary-wheel

Choose a color and its opposing in the color wheel.

They are opposite colors in temperature. For example, Red is warm and the opposite Green is cool.

The scheme is tricky to use in large doses, but work well when you want something to stand out. So it is very effective as accent colors when paired with a more neutral palette.

Analogous schemes, when paired with a Complementary scheme for contrast, can offer great versatility.

Quick tip: Complementary colors are really bad for text, so don’t.

split-compliment-2split-compliment5th scheme: Split complementary.

Take one color, look into its complementary color and instead take the two colors beside it (the former).

It has same visual contrast as the complementary color scheme, but with less tension.

triadic-color-schemes6th scheme: Triadic.

Use three colors that are evenly spaced around the color wheel. It looks more balanced than the complementary scheme yet very vibrant.

7th scheme: Tetradic.

You get to choose 2 colors along with their complementary.

It is the richest of all schemes, but also the most difficult to balance in a harmonious way. The most important thing is to balance between warm and cool colors.

There are 3 variants:

12910971_10208664829205371_1291522935_na) Double complement harmonies: The two colors sit next to each other on the color wheel thus forming an X with their complements.

b) Rectangle color scheme: The 2 pairs are 60 degrees apart on the color wheel. It offers plenty of possibilities for variation.Square

c) Square color scheme: All four colors spaced evenly.

How to put it all together?



If you are not used to colors, you can start by pairing a bright hue with all neutrals thus making it easier to pull off and still giving a twist to your usual style. The neutrals can be either the main outfit or just the accessories.

ae5853758f7dde183c0b18d413b123baIf you are a beginner and don’t want to experiment right away the Monochromatic and Analogous schemes are amazing choices. But if you took it a step further, choose the Split complementary as it is hard to mess up.

Jessica Alba Walk On Red Carpet BuzzFor multiple colors, because the colors are so different, if you put equal amounts of each in your outfit you might overwhelm your viewer.

Keep one color the main dominant color, a second one to support it, while the others are used as accents.

As for this dress, the green is the main color , the orange supports it, while the violet is used as an accent to make it pop.

548a6982c6cc5_-_rbk-jessica-alba-9-mscPairing neutrals can help you go safe while being more coherent. They tone all the schemes down, even the Monochromatic.

article-2002052-0C70DCC300000578-932_468x666In case of the Complementary, Split or Triadic color schemes, if they still seem too bright for you, you can opt for muted shades to make it more wearable. This can be applied to one color with the subdued others or to all of them to make an impact without looking comical.

e88cc6079adae79a620b66b261f49d1fAnother option for Triadic scheme is 2/3 (green/violet/orange without the violet).

Final tip: The color wheel is a color relationship reference not color selection tool. It can help till you master the basics then you will be able to experiment on your own. Just  forget about old fashioned views, make mistakes and you will learn.

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