Colour, colour on the wall

Use colour schemes on the Digital Colour Wheel.

Research these questions from the 3 websites listed below, posting your answers next to each question.

Color Theory, a brief tutorial (Ford 2004)

Colours on the Web (Johansson 2002)

Paint Quality Institute
  • What colour model does your computer use? RGB
  • Where can you see more colours, in print or on screen? Unfortunately, CMYK cannot reproduce the same amount of colors as RGB can, which is why yellow-greens sometimes look a bit muddy when printed.
  • What are primary colours? Red, Yellow, Blue. These 3 colours are the base colours for every other colour on the colour wheel.
  • What are the primary colours for print? CMYK. This is the method used by printers the world over, and is also a clever way of mixing paints.
  • What are the primary colours for on screen? RGB. Remember, this color method is only used with light sources; it does not apply to printing.
  • Which colour model is additive? RGB. Any color source that emits the light itself… is built up of tiny red, green and blue dots. This color system is commonly referred to as the Additive Color System.
  • Which is colour model is subtractive? CMYK. The subtractive colour system is what comes to play when the color does not emit any light of its own, but reflects light from its surroundings. In the subtractive colour system, you get black when all colours are mixed.

In your own words, define the following:

  • Hue – What we usually refer to as colours. Red, green, blue, orange, and yellow are all examples of hues.
  • Value – A measure of how much white (or black) is in a colour. A brighter colour has a higher value than a darker colour. To check the difference in value, you can examine the corresponding greyscale versions of colours.
  • Saturation – Richness or intensity of colour. Completely de-saturated colours are shades of grey.
  • Tint and shade – Variations on an original colour. Take blue for example. Tints, created by adding white, would be lighter blues. Shades, created by adding black, would be darker blues.

What is the difference between each of these colour schemes?:


Pairs of adjacent colours on the colour wheel, such as red and orange. The have very little contrast between them. Useful for serene designs.


Pairs of colours opposite each other on the colour wheel, red and green for example. They have the maximum contrast between them. Useful for making elements stand out.

Split Complimentary

3 colours made up of one colour, and the pair of colours adjacent to the compliment of the original (on the colour wheel). For instance, starting with violet you would need to add the two colours adjacent to yellow, i.e. yellow-green and yellow-orange.


Four colours with none adjacent each other on the colour wheel.


Three equally spaced colours on the wheel. There must be a 120 degree arc between each colour, such as blue – red – yellow.

What are these color schemes used for?
To aid in colour selections that are appropriate for designs to convey the desired messages / emotions.