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Accent color

an element of color variety. When an accent color is used next to other hues it heightens the effect of the other colors. Accents are generally used in small amounts and are different from the color they intend to heighten.

Arbitrary or Expressionistic Color

These are often chosen for their emotional impact rather than their relationship to typical or standard colors. For example an arbitrary color for a cow might be blue.

Analogous Hues

These are colors that lye directly next to each other on the color wheel and if three are used it creates an analogous color scheme.

Color Depth

This is a visual illusion that colors tend to advance and recede event though they are applied to the same surface. Warm light colors tend to move forward and cool or dark colors tend to recede.

Color Schemes

This is a planned group of hues generally combined to create a feeling through color.

Color Temperature

The temperature is the sensation that hues portray either a warm or cool feeling. On the color wheel red, yellow, and orange are considered warm while blue, green, and violet are considered to be cool colors. When creating spatial effects, warm colors advance and cool colors tent to recede.

Color Wheel

A circular two dimensional model showing color relationships to each other.

Complimentary Hues

These are colors that will lie opposite each other on the color wheel. When places side by side, they will intensify each other. When mixed they will dull each other and create a brown tone.


This is the common technical name for the chroma or color itself.


The brightness of a hue. The most intense colors (fully saturated) are pure pigment colors and less intense colors (de-saturated) are created by adding black, white or grey to the pure pigment.

Local Color

This is the selection and placement of colors so that the objects depicted are the colors they are commonly thought to be. For example, local color for a cow might be brown, black or white.

Monochromatic Colors

This refers to a combination of colors based on the variation of one color. For example, if red is used in a design, it will be a monochromatic color scheme if only that red mixed with any combination of white, black or grey is added to create tints tones or shades of that red.

Neutral Colors

This is one of the most non-chromatic hues. Black, white and grey.

Primary Colors

These are colors that can theoretically be mixed to create all other ranges and values of Colors. These colors cannot be mixed from other colors.

Secondary Colors

These are colors made by mixing two primary colors together.


These are hues to which any amount of black has been added.

Simultaneous Contrast

This is an optical effect of adjacent hues on each other.

Tertiary (or Intermediate Colors)

These are hues created by mixing a primary with one of it's adjacent secondary colors. Blue green for example is made by mixing blue (primary) with green (secondary).


These are hues to which any amount of white has been added.


These are hues to which and amount of grey has been added.

Triadic Color Scheme

This is the use of three color equally spaced on the color wheel.


This refers to the lightness of a color. Adding black or white to an original hue changes it's vale. When white is added, we can say the color has a higher value and when black is added, we say it has lower value.

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