Understanding The Importance Of Color Theory

Posted by Ren Wu

Why Is Color Theory Important

Nothing is as powerful as color. This powerful tool may be commonly overlooked, but it's essential for communicating with each other and expressing our personal styles.

Key Takeaways

  • Color theory is the basic principle of using color in style, fashion, and design.
  • The color wheel is the tool we can use to determine what colors pair well together.
  • Monochromatic and analogous colors are the foundation of harmonious and attractive color combinations.
  • Neutral tones provide a reliable base for brighter colors and other hues.
  • Colors give us a way to practice self-expression and show our unique style.

Color theory explores the core concepts of using color in design and style. It's easy for the importance of color theory to be understated, but something so powerful is impossible to overlook.

    See Related: 12 Winter Nail Art Designs For Chilly Season

    What Is Color Theory?

    It's no surprise that color is an influential tool in our world. From ancient times to the modern day, colors have been utilized successfully in everything from advertising to entertainment. Color is also essential in design and fashion and is a primary tool for self-expression and style.

    Without colors, our world would be dull indeed. But the reason behind the powerful impact of these hues can be explained by something known as color theory.

    Color theory explains the fundamental principles of using color in everything from design to psychology.

    And one of the most important aspects of color theory is using the color wheel. You can't take on color theory without understanding the color wheel first and foremost. So let's get to it!

    Color wheel colour theory colour theory

    Using The Color Wheel

    Simply put, color theory allows us to understand what colors go well together. And this goes deeper than just eyeballing it. A certain level of science and color psychology is required here.

    Artists, craftsmen, and designers use the color wheel to analyze color schemes and find ideal color combinations. This tool is essential whenever you are using colors for anything!

    Physically, the color wheel is just that. It's a circular visual representation of colors that demonstrates the relationship between all colors as each color has a specific place on this wheel. 

    Warm Tones Versus Cool Tones

    The color wheel can be sliced in many different ways. But people commonly identify the tones of this iconic wheel by splitting it in half.

    That's because half of the color wheel can be considered "cool" while the other half is "warm."

    Orange, yellow, and red are warm colors associated with comforting feels and sunlight. On the other hand, cool colors like blue, green, and purple are synonymous with overcast light and coldness.

    This identification of warm and cool colors can be considered color temperature. But this isn't the only way that the color wheel can be classified.

    We can go even further than that. So let's explore the concept of primary and secondary colors.

    Colour theory color scheme yell green tertiary colors

    The Power Of Primary Colors

    The color wheel isn't a meaningless circle. The colors that it's comprised of all have a purpose. And no purpose is perhaps as vital as that of primary colors.

    The traditional primary colors are red, yellow, and blue. These three shades are mixed to create all other colors! For example, red and blue create purple while yellow and blue make green.

    Primary colors can make up bold fashion statements and may even trigger profound emotions. Take, for example, a deep red. This tone is immensely attractive and powerful and can effortlessly convey feelings of passion and courage.

    This is the power of colors. These profound emotions can be seamlessly communicated without words.

    The three primaries are also an example of triadic colors. Triadic colors are a collection of three tones evenly spaced out on the color wheel.

    Want to quickly add some primary colors to your look? Maniology's Blazing Red and True Blue stamping polishes are the best way to re-energize your style.

    You can also use Maniology's Best in Show nail stamping starter kit to share your passion with your furry friend!

    Tertiary colors colour theory yellow green

    Complementary And Secondary Colors

    But color theory doesn't end with primary colors. Orange, green, and purple are known as secondary colors and are the result of mixing primary colors.

    And next, we have complementary colors. These pairs are created by selecting two colors opposite each other on the color wheel. For example, orange and blue would be complementary colors as they sit on opposing sides of the color wheel.

    Complementary colors are instrumental in crafting appealing color schemes. Their stark opposition can provoke a robust emotional and psychological response. The visual contrast can create an unexpectedly balanced and trendy look!

    Yellow green blue colour theory color combinations

    Bonus: 15 Cool Winter Colors And How To Use Them

    Color Schemes And How To Use Them

    Understanding the color wheel can be a complex yet fulfilling journey. But the most exciting part happens when we put color theory into use!

    Color theory deals with concepts such as tone temperature, color harmony, and context. Creating pleasing color harmonies starts with understanding color schemes and how they are crafted.

    Harmony in color theory can be defined as the level to which color schemes are pleasing or attractive. This delicate balance of beautiful harmony occurs when color pairings contribute to a sense of visual order.

    Utilizing complementary colors is one way to achieve color harmony and obtain an attractive palette. And understanding color theory is the first step in creating a style that uses colors correctly.

    Yellow green color wheels color harmony split complementary

    Understanding And Creating Analogous Color Schemes

    A great way to use color theory in your daily life begins by applying it to your style. At first, the complexity of the color wheel can be slightly overwhelming.

    Color theory starts with utilizing analogous color schemes to create your style and look. Analogous colors are tones near each other on the physical color wheel.

    So if your fit for the day starts with pink, you can use colors like red-purple or burgundy to complete your look.

    Using analogous colors is an easy way to get a harmonious and pleasing look. The colors fit well together and complement each other.

    But self-expression and personal style can't start and end with colors that are all relatively similar. It's time to expand and discover color combinations and schemes that actually represent the person you are!

    Yellow orange tertiary colors split complementary green blue

    Utilizing Color Theory In Your Style

    There are so many ways to express yourself through your style. Style and dress are effective ways to communicate with the world around us. The way we present ourselves is an outward representation of how we feel inside.

    There's a reason why fashion and various tools for self-expression are so popular. And color is perhaps the most essential part of it all.

    You might consider factors like texture, fit, and comfort when shopping for clothes. But arguably, the most influential aspect will be the color or tone. Even the most flattering top wouldn't fit your style if the color doesn't align with your unique color palette.

    It should be no surprise that color theory is integral to style and fashion. So you shouldn't underestimate it!

    Split complementary color combination orange yellow combine colors

    Don't Forget To Use Neutral Colors

    Color schemes and different shades of your favorite hue can easily capture your attention. But without basic neutral tones, you won't have a sturdy foundation to build from.

    Just because you understand the color wheel doesn't mean you need to incorporate primary colors into all of your looks. Wearing bright reds and energizing yellows can still become dull after repeated use.

    Neutral tones help ensure the colors you integrate into your look actually stand out. Basic colors and neutrals are the base of a complete wardrobe and fulfilling style. And there's nothing more potent than an all-black fit.

    But all of that wouldn't be possible without neutrals.

    The Foundation Of Colors As A Whole

    Color theory isn't about just bright and saturated tones. Shades of whites, browns, blacks, and even navy blue are the foundation of a complete color palette. So when it comes time to start mixing colors, don't forget the basics.

    You can even use denim as a neutral tone. Though denim jeans are technically blue, they also can create a beautiful casual base for your looks. Denim is timeless and goes well with so much!

    Primary color white paint color combinations

    Discovering Your Style Through Color

    Fashion and style doesn't end with the clothes you wear. Though our wardrobe is an essential part of our personal brand, there are many other ways to express yourself.

    Whether you're a clothing fanatic or you couldn't be less concerned about the clothes you wear, there is one easy way to simply and effectively express your style. A trendy and unique manicure is perfect for completing your entire look!

    Self-expression is about the small things. You don't need to focus on curating an entire wardrobe backed by psychological color theory. The perfect canvas is right at your fingertips - literally!

    Our nails are like a blank page waiting for us to write our story on it. After all, perfect nail art is the best way to release your artistic side and express yourself.

    Colour theory why is color theory important warm colors

    Colorful Self-Expression Through Nail Stamping

    You don't need to resort to overpriced and frustrating nail salons to get the manicure of your dreams. Instead, it's incredibly easy to get delicate and trendy nail art at home.

    In just five steps, you can have the manicure of your dreams and give yourself the love you deserve!

    Sound easy? It's even more straightforward than it sounds.

    That's because here at Maniology, we believe in making self-expression something everyone can indulge in. And loving yourself should start in the comfort of your own home.

    Our nail stamping kits and subscription boxes make it exceptionally easy to create a masterpiece on your nails in five simple steps. You don't need to be an artistic talent or an experienced nail tech to be able to get a beautiful manicure. And you shouldn't need to be!

    Discovering your favorite colors shouldn't be a challenging process. On the contrary, it should be a freeing journey.

    Having countless shades and tones to choose from makes it easy to find the right ones for you. So whether you're vying for a hot neon pink or black holographic polish, here at Maniology, we have almost any shade you could want.

    Self-love is incredibly powerful, and it starts with the art of self-expression. So as you embark on this journey, we'll be right next to you.

    Keep Reading: 7 Ways To Fully Embrace The Winter Aesthetic This Year


    At Maniology, we believe your nails are opportunities for adventure, fun, and unrestrained artistic expression. Our nail stamping plates and nail accessories are here to help foster your self-expression in the hopes of building a community of individuality. For more nail tutorials, subscription box updates, and designs, follow us on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, TikTok, LinkedIn, and YouTube.

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    • I have no idea what colors look good with others, I am trying to copy the nail colors I see on your site. It’s confusing to me. You have any ideas. I have read the article above but don’t really understand it. Thank you

      Julie on

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