Colour Theory Session.

“If you, unknowingly, are able to create masterpieces in colour then un-knowledge is your way. But if you are unable to create masterpieces in colour out of your un-knowledge, then you ought to look for knowledge.” Johannes Itten (1888-1967)

Today was our next practical lesson held by Helen, all based around the theory of colour. I have not learned much on colour theory previously so this was as very useful lecture for me. I learned a lot and the various techniques that were shown (which I will be expressing to you in this blog) gave me a lot to think about when it comes to my own colour board I have created for my company design collection. Three very important aspects of colour theory that I learned today were; hue, tone and chromo. Hue being the quality which distinguishes one colour from another (red from orange), Tone being the quality of the brightness (light or dark) and chromo being the quality of the saturation (spectral hues are of maximum).

Creating various ‘squares’ of each colour roughly of big sheets of cartridge paper gave me a lot of free space to experiment with each colour technique as I built up a body of colour samples. I could then cut out neat samples from each technique and create a reference page that I can refer to throughout my course and career whenever I need some inspiration in the colour department.

  • The colour wheel– yellow is the lightest of all colours, on the other hand violet is the darkest. Looking at a constructed colour wheel, I can see that yellow can ‘travel’ to violet either via red (warm colours) or via blue (cool colours).
  • The colour wheel is made of three various type of colour; primaries, secondaries and tertiaries. The three primary colours being; red, yellow and blue. While the three secondary colours being; orange, green and violet. Each secondary colour is created by mixing together two equal amounts of two primary colours. There are six tertiary colours that fall between all the primary and secondary colours these being; yellow-orange, red-orange, red-violet, blue-violet, blue-green and yellow-green. These are all made by mixing together a primary colour with its nearest secondary colour of each side.


  • Complementary colours– are found directly opposite each other on the colour wheel. I have also created a mixture band combining blue and orange together to create ‘in-between’ colours.


  • Grey scale- is commonly perceived to be just from black to white, but there is a lot more to it. Coloured grey scales exist by mixing all three primary colours and adding a tint. A variety of coloured grey scales can be made by adding more of one primary colour to another (1 x red, 1 x yellow and 2 x blue).
  • Tints and Shades- a tint is the addition of white to any hue. Opposite to this, a shade is the addition to black or grey to any hue.


  • Harmonies- a simple harmony is created when I place any colour next to its neighbour colour in a scheme for example I used blue supported by blue-violet and blue-green.
  • Tinted harmonies are created when groups of harmonious colours have had white added to them.
  • Shaded harmonies are created when black or grey are added to them instead of white.


  • Contrasting colours– are colours which when placed side by side ‘intensify’ each other (red next to yellow will appear more of a rosy red while the yellow will look a lot brighter than on its own).


  • Discord colours- occur when the ‘natural order’ of the colour wheel is reverse (in the natural order red is lighter than violet, but if the violet is lightened by the addition of white to become a pale violet it we be discordant with the red)


  • Cold and warm colours- the coldest colour in the colour while is blue-green, while the hottest colour in the colour circle is red-orange. To make cold colours warmer, add reds. To make hot colours cooler, add blues.


I’m am very unpleased with how the colours has transferred onto my laptop via pictures. To do these colour techniques justice, they really do need to be seen in real life as the lighting in the pictures as well as transferring them onto my laptop has adjusting the real colour and it does lose it’s wow factor.

After completing these tasks, I am feeling a lot more confident when it comes to colour. I have decided that I am going to revisit my colour board and improved it using my new-found knowledge. I want to complete a complementary band between my contrasting colours that I have already chosen to see if I can find some new and exciting colours and shades that I have previously not considered using. Furthermore, I am looking forward to experimenting further is discord colour which I think will fit my theme of menswear perfectly. As I have not come across discord previously in my studies, I am very excited to dive into this aspect of colour theory and see what exciting new colours I can discover and add to my colour board to lease new life into my project.



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First every blog!! I want to explore and share my experience of my BA in textiles.

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