Different categories of Colors

Colors color our whole life. Imagine a life without color – so lifeless. We come across hundreds of different types of colors every day of our life but do not attribute any deeper meaning to all these colors unless we are in a really contemplative mood. But when you think about it there is harmony in the colors that you see around you. And when there is no harmony it disturbs us (culturally, psychologically, physiologically) in a way that is really noticeable. It makes sense to know how these colors are categorized and named so that they can be put to optimal use to make us comfortable.

Different categories of colors


Hues

Hues are basic colors on a color wheel
Hues

The term hue refers to the basic colors on a color wheel ie., the basic names of colors. This distinguishes one color from the other.

Basic colors that we use in daily life can be represented as seen on a rainbow – Violet, Indigo, Blue, Green, Yellow, Orange, Red, and Green or as represented on a color wheel.

You can read more about the names of different colors and other details of these hues here : Different color names; Blue, Yellow, Red, Green, White

Light and Dark colors

light and dark colors
Light and dark colors

This categorization of colors is based on the value of a color ie the addition of black or white to any color. When white is added to color it becomes a lighter shade. When black is added it becomes a darker shade. Mauve is a lighter version of orange. Navy blue is a darker version of blue.

Tints of colors

This is the name for the light version of a color. When white is added to a particular color, the color becomes light and a tint is created.

Shades of colors

This refers to the dark version of a color. When black is added to a color, the color becomes dark and a shade is created. The shades create luminosity, luster, and shadows.

Tones

Tones of colors
Tones

When gray is added to a color a tone is created. The gray is used to bring down the intensity of a color. Gray also creates depth, opalescence, and shadows.

Warm colors

warm color types

The colors of the color wheel can be divided based on the temperature. Based on this, colors from yellow to purple on the color wheel (shades of red yellow, and orange) are called warm colors. The warm colors are associated with energy and passion.Yellow is associated with sunshine and gives us a warm feeling.

Cool colors

cool colors
Cool colors

Colors from blue to green (shades of blue-green violet) are called cool colors. whereas the cool colors are associated with calmness. Cool colors are perceived to give us a cooling effect whereas warm colors tend to give us a warm feeling. For example, blue is associated with water and tends to give us a cooling effect. 

Neutral colors

neutral colors
Neutral colors

This includes colors like white, beige, brown, gray, and even shades of black, and some other very dark shades of red, blue and green colors

Bright colors

Yellow, orange, and red are bright colors.

Muted colors

muted colors
Muted colors

Muted colors are somewhat dull shades

Deep colors

Dark but still bright colors can be termed deep colors

Fall colors

fall colors
Fall colors

A group of colors taken from the color palette of nature during the autumn season is called the fall colors – pimplin orange, sangria, stone etc are autumn/fall colors. 

Winter colors

winter colors
Winter colors

These are cool colors that are visible on a winter landscape – mostly tints and shades of blue.

Jewel colors

jewel color types

This categorization of colors is based on the colors of different gemstones. Colors termed as jewel tones are emerald green, ruby red, sapphire blue, ruby red, amethyst purple, citrine yellow, etc.

Classification according to the color wheel

Primary colors

primary colors
Primary colors

Primary colors in the color spectrum are red, yellow, and blue. These three colors are arranged at equal distances from each other on the color wheel.

Secondary colors

Secondary colors
Secondary colors

Secondary colors are obtained by mixing the primary colors. For example, by mixing equal parts of red and yellow, you get orange. By mixing equal parts of yellow and blue, you get green. By mixing equal parts of red and blue you get violet. Thus you have three secondary colors – orange, green, and violet which are placed midway between the primary colors.

Tertiary colors

Tertiary colors are made by mixing a primary color and a secondary color. For eg when you mix a primary color red with the secondary color violet you get the tertiary color magenta. 

tertiary colors
Tertiary colors

Complementary colors

complementary color types
Complementary colors

The complementary colors are placed directly opposite to each other on the color wheel. Thus red- green, yellow- purple, blue- orange, green- magenta are complementary colors. These are colors of different nature without any similarity. The complementary colors are highly contrasting in nature and when in use, create a bright and bold effect.

Analogous colors

analogous colors
Analogous colors

The analogous colors are colors that are adjacent to each other on the color wheel ie colors from one color family. Any three consecutive colors, one primary one secondary and one tertiary color are used from the color wheel. These colors are versatile but their use can be overwhelming.

Monochromatic colors

monochromatic color types
Monochromatic colors

When different tones and tints are created of the base color in the color wheel, they are called a monochromatic color scheme. It often gives a rich and harmonious look.

Triadic colors

Triadic colors
Triadic

Three colors evenly spaced in a color wheel gives a high contrasting color scheme that is more subdued than the complementary colors. Such a group of colors is called triadic. A triadic colors are used to create bold and vibrant color palettes.

There are other categorizations according to the way they are presented on a color wheel or described through color theory.

You can find Color combination for dresses

Updated on October 8, 2022 by Sarina Tariq

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