As a colour consultant, I get to work with colour every day and the privilege of teaching clients about their personal colour palette. We’re surrounded by colour all day every day, therefore, it has a certain amount of influence in our lives and can say a lot about a person. It has the power to create happy and not so happy memories, as well as set our mood, excite or motivate us.
Let’s firstly talk about very basic colour theory…
If we take the outermost colours from around the colour wheel (red, orange, yellow, green, blue and violet) we see colours or hues that are at there natural saturation level. These hues have not been mixed with any other colour to change there original form. They are considered crisp and pure or the brightest and clearest colours.
Now when we move slightly in toward the middle of the colour wheel and the second row we have colours that appear to be lighter. These are tints or, ‘colour plus white’ hues. As more and more white is added to a colour the lighter it becomes making it a high tint – the more milky and softer it becomes also.
Next, we have tones or, ‘colour plus grey’ colours. When a colour has even a small amount of grey added to it, it softens the original hue but won’t look grey as such, just less bright. The more grey added the more smoky, muted or dull a colour will appear. Tones can be light, medium or dark in value also. And depending on how much grey is added, a colour can appear grey at first while making it difficult to recognise what the original hue was. You would then end up with, for example, purple grey or bluey-grey etc.
Shades are what appear on the very inside of the colour wheel. This is where we see that black has been added to a ‘pure’ colour to deepen and darken it from its original form and full saturation. And much the same as a tint – if only a small amount of white is added to a pure colour that hue will retain some of its brightness. Likewise, if a only a small amount of black is added to medium deep colours, some of the brightness would remain.