Color is an integral part of our lives. While you may not think
consciously of it, color can set a mood, or invoke feelings. Certain
colors may stimulate certain memories. Understanding how colors
work together is just as important in your layouts as it is in
choosing the colors for your family room.
To start, we're going to go over some color wheel basics. I'm
sure many of you are familiar with this item, it is a must-have
in any artist's tool box. Here is a basic color wheel, along with
some of the terms we will be using.
The color wheel shows the relationship of colors. There are three
primary colors (red, blue, yellow), three secondary colors which
are the result of mixing primary colors (purple, orange, green)
and the tertiary colors which are a primary color mixed with a
secondary color such as red-orange, yellow-green and blue-violet.
When you mix a color with gray, you get "tones" of color.
If mixed with black, you get "shades" of color. Mix
a color with white, and you get "tints" of color. The
color value is the lightness or darkness of that color. There
are several possible color combinations that will be pleasing
to the eye. Here are a few examples:
- Complementary colors would be your key color and the color
that is directly opposite it on the wheel. This tends to give
a very bold, dramatic effect.
- Split Complementary are the two colors on either side of the
complement plus your key color. This can add a bit of sophistication.
- Triad colors would be every fourth color on the wheel, thus
forming a triangle. A primary triad is bright and youthful,
secondary colors is more subtle, and triads made up of the tertiary
colors are sophisticated and fashion-oriented.
- Analogous colors are three to five colors next to each other.
This would be your key color, plus one or two colors on either
side of it. You can really make it pop by putting in a touch
of the complementary color.
- Monochromatic would be different values (light & dark)
of your key color. Using different tones, tints and shades of
your key color is pleasing to the eye and creates unity. Again,
a little bit of the complementary color can really enhance a
monochromatic color scheme.
To begin your color scheme, choose your "key" color.
It could be a color out of your photo, for example. This will
be the dominant color in your layout. You may have heard the phrase
"gallon, quart, ounce"? This refers to the amount of
each color you will use in your layout. About 70% will be your
key color, 20% of a second color, and 10% for your accent color.
You can open your photo into your scrapbooking program, and use
the eyedropper/color picker tool to select the color you'd like
as key. Keep in mind that this may not always be the "most
of" color in your photo, but sometimes a lesser seen complementary
color will help your layout draw attention to your photo rather
than compete with it. You then take this key color, and using
one of the combinations above, choose a color scheme. There are
several places online (both free and purchased programs) that
will allow you to enter the RGB (red, green, blue) or HEX (html)
value of your key color, and will generate a color scheme for
you based on that color. You can play with the colors until you
find a combination that you are satisfied with, and begin putting
your layout together!