Color harmonies are particularly pleasing combinations of two or more colors derived from their relationship on a color wheel. Also known as color chords, color harmonies are useful when exploring a possible color palette, or can be used as a standalone color scheme.
Colors that are directly opposite one another on the color wheel are known as complementary colors. Complementary colors have a high contrast and can be very effective as accent colors when paired with a more neutral palette.
Triadic harmonies consist of three colors equidistant from one another on the color wheel. Like complementary colors, triadic schemes tend to be very bright with a high contrast and work best when one color dominates.
Tetradic color harmonies are formed by two sets of complementary colors 60 degrees apart on the color wheel. Tetradic schemes are an excellent starting point for creating color palettes; fine tune them using color shades, tints and tones.
Analogous harmonies are created by selecting the colors directly adjacent to a chosen color. Frequently found in web design, analogous schemes, when paired with a complementary color for contrast, can offer great versatility.
Neutral schemes, like analogous harmonies, are formed by taking the colors on either side of a chosen color but at half the distance. While analogous schemes typically use colors 30 degrees apart, neutral harmonies use colors 15 degrees apart.
Color Shades, Tints and Tones
Color shades, tints and tones are created by adding black, white and gray respectively to a chosen color. They can be very useful in web design for backgrounds and typography, and are often paired with a complementary color for contrast. Try them with your own color using the dropdown menu below the color picker.
Adding black in varying levels to a color produces gradually darker variants, or 'shades', of that particular color. Shades work well for link hover effects, or as footer and header backgrounds.
Color tints are made by adding white to a color, resulting in increasingly lighter versions. Tints can also be used for CSS hover effects, and perform nicely as modal backgrounds.
Tones are created by adding gray to a color, and produces an almost endless variety of colors depending on what level of gray is used. Less common in web design, tones could be useful for typographic elements like comments, quotes or highlights.