Complementary colors | Contrasts


complementary contrast colors

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In RGB (Red, Green, Blue) color model red, green and blue are the primary colors. The combination of any two primary colors produces complementary/ secondary colors which are cyan, magenta and yellow.

RGB color wheel

Complementary contrast colors on the color wheel create maximum contrast:

Red contrasts cyan

Green contrasts magenta

Blue contrasts yellow

RYB color wheel

In RYB (Red, Yellow, Blue) color model red, yellow and blue are the primary colors.

Secondary colors are created by mixing two primary colors, such as red and blue create purple, red and yellow create orange and yellow and blue create green.

RYB color model is mainly used in art, especially painting and in decoration.

Complementary colors are opposite on the color wheel and create maximum contrast:

Red contrasts Green
Blue contrasts Orange
Yellow contrasts Purple

Color contrasts are particularly used in graphic design, advertising and interior decoration.
Orange/ Blue Contrast

In the photo below the background has intense blue color and some furniture pieces are warm orange. The contrast between the two colors makes orange look bright and intense, so the two orange chairs look dominant in the space. If, for example, the background was red/ brown, orange would certainly not stand out.

blue-orange contrast

Red/Green Contrast
Red poppies appear very bright on green background.

red-green contrast

Red/ green contrast was used almost exclusively throughout the movie Amelie by Jean-Pierre Jeunet to achieve a romantic atmosphere, both in scenery and for costumes.

amelie interior

A snapshot from the movie

Purple/Yellow Contrast

It is a bold contrast and both colors bring each other out.

purple-yellow contrast


decorating with colors

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