How a work of art or design looks and what we feel about it depends on a number of colour choices:

  • Colour relationship – are there similar, harmonious colours or very different, contrasting colours?
  • Colour temperature – how warm or cool are the colours used?
  • Strength of colour – are pure hues, lighter tints, darker shades or less vibrant tones used?
  • Emotional response – what moods or feelings do the colours suggest?

The colour wheel

The colour wheel helps us understand the relationships between colours. The 12 part, red, yellow and blue (RYB) wheel shown is called a subtractive model. This type of colour wheel is used when discussing art and design works.

The colour wheel yellow, yellow orange, orange, orange red, red, red purple, purple, purple blue, blue, green blue, green, green yellow

Other types of colour wheels exist and may be used in other subjects such as Physics. But remember, other colour wheels have different rules and relationships.