Color wheel


    The color wheel is the most popular tool for not only graphic designers and artists, but also people connected to fashion, and those, who just want to look good. The color wheel can be used to select a palette for a Web site interface, corporate identity, or illustration.

    Many centuries ago, colorists were guided by intuition when forming the palette of the hues of their paintings. But over time, the color wheel was formed and became the basic tool for color design. All the knowledge accumulated over the centuries about the harmonious combination of colors was incorporated into it.

    The History

    The most popular color circle was created by Johannes Itten, the Swiss artist and Bauhaus teacher known for his contributions to the study of colorism in the early 20th century. In The Art of Color, Itten described in detail the principles of working with color and his color circle. In addition to Itten's circle, the color circles of Newton, Goethe, and Oswald are well known. For example, Newton divided the circle into seven parts, similar to a musical scale. Seven notes, seven colors of the rainbow.

    The Essence

    There are three basic colors in the color wheel: red, blue, and yellow. They are located in the center of the circle and form an equilateral triangle. The corners of the triangle are simultaneously the vertices of the hexagon, which is inscribed in a circle divided into twelve segments. The vertices of the hexagon in contact with the circle give their color to the segment. Thus six segments are formed, where three are the colors of the first order, and the other three are the colors of the second order. The remaining six parts of the circle are filled with an equal mixture of the neighboring segments and form the colors of the third order.

    The Use

    The combinations on Color Wherl help you find the best color combinations. There are many ways to use the pattern. Of these, we can highlight a few of the most popular.

    • Complementary Combination. Obtained from two opposite colors on the outer circle.
    • Contrasting triad. Received from the colors in the corners of the triangle. As against the complementary variant, here instead of one color on the opposite party choose the next to it colors.
    • Classical triad. It is received of the colors which are in the corners of an equilateral triangle.
    • Analogous triad. Derived from the three colors that are next to each other on the outer circle.
    • Tetradic combination. It is received from the colors equidistant from each other on the corners of a square.
    • Rectangular combination. Obtained from the colors in the corners of a rectangle: two colors that are across the sector, on one side of the circle - and two opposite.


    According to the theory of color, harmonious color combinations are received:

    • From any two colors located against each other on a color circle.
    • At use of any three colors evenly distributed on a color circle, forming a triangle.
    • When using any four colors, form a rectangle.