In our last post, we discussed some of the factors that affect the choice of colors for websites, brands, and other designs. However, in addition to choosing the right colors, it is important to choose the right combination of colors.


Color Vocab 

  • Color Wheel: The spectrum of colors, shown in a wheel. There are generally 12 main colors (3 primary, 3 secondary, 6 tertiary), though some color wheels also show shades, tints, or combinations of these colors.
  • Hue: The main colors found on a color wheel.
  • Shade: Changing a hue by adding white to lighten it.
  • Tint: Changing a hue by adding black to darken it.
  • Contrast: the difference in luminance and/or color that makes an object distinguishable from the colors and objects around it.

There are also different variations of each color. For each hue, there can be unlimited shades and tints. You can also create new colors by combining different hues. So it may not be only a question of choosing the right color, but also the right version of that color.


Colors are not seen in isolation. They have different visual and emotional impact depending on the colors and shapes that are around them. A spot of color can look darker or lighter depending on the color of its background. A bright color can look either powerful and demanding or playful and whimsical depending on the other colors that are around it. When you place bright complementary colors next to each other, they seem to vibrate, which is distracting and hard on the eyes.


It is important to choose a colors for your brand or website that work well together and combine to create a look that is visually appeal and that communicates the right mood and message. It is generally best to choose a few main colors for your color palette to create a more cohesive, professional look.


Below are some of the classic color combinations. Thanks to the endless variations in hues, shades, and tints, these few combinations can result in nearly unlimited options.

monochromatic color scheme
Monochromatic: Shade or tint variations of the same hue.
complementary color scheme
Complementary: Colors that are directly across from each other on the color wheel.
split complementary color scheme
Split-Complementary: One hue plus two others equally spaced from its complement.

analogous color scheme
Analogous: Colors located next to each other on the color wheel.
triad color scheme
Triad: Three hues equally spaced on the color wheel.