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The secondary colours is what you get when you mix any two adjacent primary colours. Red and green gives yellow, red and blue give you magenta and a mix of green and blue result in a cyan colour. The secondary colours are also the primary colours in the subtractive colour system.
To complete the colour wheel we need to add the tertiary colours. The tertiary colours are those who lies in between the primary and secondary.
Adding it all together we get the complete colour wheel. The colour wheel is the fundament for much of colour theory, and you are well of remembering what it looks like, and where the colours are in relation to each other.
There are many terms which are used to describe colours, and often there are some confusion as to what each of the terms mean. Here I am trying to explain some of the most common terms.
Hue is somewhat synonomous to what we usually refer to as "colours". Red, green, blue, yellow, orange are a few examples of different hues. The different hues have different wavelenght in the spectrum.
The value is a measurement on the brightness of a colour. The brigher a colour is the higher is its value and the more light it emits. For instance is a yellow brighter than blue. A good way to see the difference is value in colours is to look at the corresponding greys. The brigher a colour is the higher is its value and the more light it emits.
The saturation can also be called the colours intensity. It is a measurement of how different from pure grey the colour is. Saturation is not really a matter of light and dark, but rather how pale or strong the colour is. The saturation of a colour is not constant, but it varies depending on the surrounding and what light the colour is seen in.
These are terms to describe how a colour variates from its original hue. If white is added the lighter version is called tint, and if black is added the darker version is called shade.
Now we know the meaning of colours, and also the purpose of using colours on your web page. It is time for the next step, which is to combine different colours together.
This is really the most important part, and also the hardest, as it always comes down to your personal judgement and how you look at colours. There are, however, some guidelines that can be used to make a colour combination that is interesting and pleasing to the eye.
It is hard to give an exact answer to this question, but in general one can say that the risk of using too many colours is greater than the risk of using too few.
Too many colours will make the page feel too busy and it is usually harder to find the information that you want. It is also more tiring to the eyes.
A page with too feel colour on the other hand risk to be seen as a bit boring, but this need not always be the case.
One often used rule in these matters is to use three colours.
Primary colour: This is the main colour of the page. It will occupy most of the area, and set the whole "feel" of the design. Secondary colour: This is the second colour on the page, and it is usually there to "back up" the primary colour. It is usually a colour that is pretty close to the primary colour. Highlight colour: This is a colour that are used to emphasis certain parts of the page. It is usually a colour which constrast more with the primary and secondary colour, and it should be used with moderation. It is common to use a complimentary or split complimentary colour for this.
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