LIS 523 - Color Theory

Some Basic Color Terms

Color Harmony

Color harmony is defined in terms of the color wheel, which arranges colors on a circle, with primary colors 120° apart. There are two main versions of the color wheel, depending on what are considered to be primary colors:
The following patterns of color harmony are commonly recognized by color theorists.

Picking a Color Scheme

Color Associations

A color may have various possible associations, often based on what things of that color we encounter in everyday life.

Using a Thematic Image

One way of choosing a color scheme is to take an image that seems to express the theme that you want to convey and whose colors seem to accord with the theme, and then to pick the few most prominent colors from the image. For example, take this image
Using a color-picker tool in a photo-editing program, we can identify the following representative colors that might serve as the basis for a color scheme:


Last updated July 28, 2004.
This page maintained by Prof. Tim Craven
E-mail (text/plain only):
Faculty of Information and Media Studies
University of Western Ontario,
London, Ontario
Canada, N6A 5B7