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The Complete Colour Scheme Guide

For us as creative's, finding the correct colour combination is one of the most important processes in the graphics department to achieve a stylish look that grabs attention and will be synonymous when released into our campaigns. Here's our own internal "cheat-sheet" we put together as a reference point when we're coming up with some of our designs!

Colour Scheme № 1: A Dual Combination

The dual combination (also known as supplementary or contrasting) colours are colours that sit opposite of each other on the Itten colour circle. The combination of such colours creates a vivid and energizing effect, especially at maximum saturation.

Colour Scheme № 2: The Triad

A triad is a combination of 3 colours which are an equal distance from each other on the Itten circle. It produces a high contract effect while preserving 'harmony'. Such a composition looks vibrant even when using the more pale & unsaturated colours.

Colour Scheme № 3: An Analogous Combination

This is a combination of 2 & 5 colours which are ajacent to one another on the colour circle. It creates a calming, more likable impression. An example of what we would use is shown below in a line. To use this scheme effectively choose the paler colours instead of the more vibrant and/or darker ones. 

Colour Scheme № 4: The Split Complementary Combination

A variation on the complementary color combination. In this case, you take one primary color and two complementary ones (the colors that lie on both sides of the primary color’s antipode on the color circle). The effect created by such a scheme is just as contrasting as the one before but slightly less intense. If you feel unconfident about using the complementary scheme, use the split complementary instead.

Colour Scheme № 5: The Tetrad — A Combination of Four Colors

This is a colour scheme which includes one primary and two complementary colours as well as an additional colour which you should use as a highlight - perhaps as a border or in your shading.

An example: blue-green, blue-violet, orange-red, orange-yellow.

Scheme № 6: The Square

A combination of 4 colours which are of equal distance from each other in the Itten circle. This scheme is used to create a a dynamic, vivid effect...usually for logo's as of all the schemes here, it's the one which we find stands out the most.

Ultimate Colour Scheme Combinations List

  • White: combines with everything, especially blue, red and black.
  • Beige: combines with blue, brown, emerald, black, red, white.
  • Gray: combines with fuchsia, red, violet, pink, blue.
  • Pink: combines with brown, white, mint green, olive, gray, turquoise, light blue.
  • Fuchsia (dark pink): combines with gray, yellow-brown, lime, mint green, brown.
  • Red: combines with yellow, white, fulvous, green, blue, black.
  • Tomato-red: combines with cyan, mint green, sand, creamy-white, gray.
  • Cherry-red: combines with azure, gray, light-orange, sandy, pale-yellow, beige.
  • Raspberry-red: combines with white, black, damask rose.
  • Brown: combines with bright-cyan, cream, pink, fawn, green, beige.
  • Light-brown: combines with pale-yellow, cream-white, blue, green, purple, red.
  • Dark-brown: combines with lime-yellow, cyan, mint green, purple-pink, lime.
  • Reddish-brown: combines with pink, dark-brown, blue, green, purple.
  • Orange: combines with cyan, blue, lilac, violet, white, black.
  • Light-orange: combines with gray, brown, olive.
  • Dark-orange: combines with pale-yellow, olive, brown, cherry.
  • Yellow: combines with blue, lilac, light-cyan, violet, gray, black.
  • Lemon-yellow: combines with cherry-red, brown, blue, gray.
  • Pale-yellow: combines with fuchsia, gray, brown, shades of red, yellowish brown, blue, purple.
  • Golden yellow: combines with gray, brown, azure, red, black.
  • Olive: combines with orange, light-brown, brown.
  • Green: combines with golden-brown, orange, salad green, yellow, brown, gray, cream, black, creamy-white.
  • Salad green: combines with brown, yellowish-brown, fawn, gray, dark-blue, red, gray.
  • Turquoise: combines with fuchsia, cherry-red, yellow, brown, cream, dark-violet.
  • Electric colors: combines with golden-yellow, brown, light brown, gray, or silver.
  • Cyan: combines with red, gray, brown, orange, pink, white, yellow.
  • Dark-blue: combines with light-lilac, cyan, yellowish-green, brown, gray, pale-yellow, orange, green, red, white.
  • Lilac: combines with orange, pink, dark-violet, olive, gray, yellow, white.
  • Dark-violet: combines with golden-brown, pale-yellow, gray, turquoise, mint green, light-orange.
  • Black is a universal colour — it looks elegant in any combination, especially with orange, pink, salad green, white, red, mauvish, or yellow.
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