color theory terminology Level 1

color wheel

A circle in which the primary, secondary, and intermediate hues (colors) are arranged in orderly intervals.

primary colors

Red, Yellow, Blue

Secondary colors

Green, Orange, Violet

Tertiary colors

Primary color mixed with adjacent secondary color on the color wheel (yellow orange for example)


A particular shade of a given color


A hue mixed with grey


A hue into which various quantities of black are mixed; the darkened hue, as contrasted with a whitened hue


created when white is added to a color


Different tints and shades of one color (hue).

Complimentary Color

Colors opposite on the color wheel

Split Compliment

Once color plus two colors that are on either side of its compliment or on the color wheel

Analogous Color Scheme

A color scheme that uses hues next to each other on the color wheel.

Cool Colors

Blue, Green, Violet

Warm Colors

Range of colors from yellow and gold through oranges, red-oranges, most reds, and even some yellow-greens.

Neutral colors

beige, ivory, taupe, black, gray, and white


Red, Green, Blue. The color model of electronic devices such as computer monitors.

additive color

The color mixing process used when mixing light as in theater, or on color monitors. (Additive primary colors are Red, Green and Blue (RGB) which differs from the primaries of Red, Yellow, and Blue used with pigments in Subtractive Color Mixing.


(short for cyan, magenta, yellow and Key -black) A color model used in commercial color printing with offset or screen printing techniques. It is the exact opposite of the RGB color model. By printing the four colors registered together, a full-color pallet is achieved. A digital file can be changed to CMYK. By adding a channel (color) you will increase the size of the file and the color pallet will change slightly.

subtractive color

Refers to the process of printing when the pigments absorb the colors, so when all the colors are combined, the result is black.