Color Theory Charts


Color Theory and You
Whether you are looking for a new color combination for yourself or a set of colors that work well together for a group of dancers on one stage, having a basic understanding of color theory can help.


Warm Colors: Yellow, Orange and Red family of colors, convey a feeling of warmth, associated with fire & the sun. Often viewed as powerful or energizing, these hues tend to feel as if they are moving forward toward the viewer and create a sense of closeness.

Yellow

Yellow Orange Orange Red Orange Red Red Violet


Cool Colors: Green, Blue and Violet family of colors, conveys a feeling of coolness, associated with the sea, sky & plants. Often viewed as soothing or calming, these hues tend to feel as if they are moving away from the viewer and create a sense of distance.

Yellow Green

Green Blue Green Blue Blue Violet Violet

 

Color Symbolism: Color Symbolism refers to the conscience or subconscious association of a color with a state of being or a type of person, place or thing. For example, White can symbolizes purity or cleanliness. Red can symbolize power or blood. Symbolism can vary by region, country or religion. For example, to a Westerner, wearing all white conjures up images of a bride or wedding, while to many in the Far East it is a color symbolizing mourning. Of interesting note here, the color white has the same basic meaning in both places, purity. While the Westerner uses the purity of white for a bride, those in the Far East would have the same meaning for the color white, but, instead associate it to the purity of the recently departed soul. Therefore, in the Far East, you would more often see red as a color choice for the bride, due to the color red's association there with good luck. Another example would be the color green and its association to nature in the west (the Green Party, the Green Movement, Green Buildings & Construction), while in places, such as Lebanon, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia, it is viewed as a patriotic color due to its association with the national flag (much in the same way as the colors red, white and blue are identified in the U.S., U. K., France, Thailand & Paraguay as patriotic). Color Symbolism is used in marketing and advertising everyday. Look around at the places you visit. What color choices have they made and what association are they trying to convey? What do you want to say with your colors? Did you know different personalities are more inclined to choose one color over another? It is one of the more interesting aspects of color theory with volumes and volumes of books written on the subject. Check out your local library for more on the subject.

White

  Green   Red White Blue

 

Color Value: Tints, tones and shades are all words used to describe a color's value. A color that is tinted has had white added to it and is a softer more, pastel version of the original color. A color that has had grey added to it is often referred to as a tone and has a more neutral color value. The deeper shades of color are made by adding black. The color value can have a huge impact on a color's symbolism. For example, darker shades of red symbolize power or energy, while the softer tints of red have an association with sweetness and gentle actions. The same goes for blue. Deeper shades are associated with royalty and have a authoritative value, while the softer tints of blue convey a sense of serenity and calmness.

Dark Red

Red Light Red   Dark Blue Blue Light Blue

 

Quantity & Placement: How much of any certain color you use will also effect it's symbolic impact. For instance, adding a few accents of white to a costume's color scheme is unlikely to have your typical western audience member make an association with brides or a wedding, while using an all white costume may. Additionally, how you place your main & accent colors can effect how the color is perceived. Take the samples below. The colored box contained within the yellow appears smaller and darker than the box set within the violet. When this color is extended between both the yellow and violet colors, it becomes clear it is indeed the same size and hue. Therefore, when choosing your accent colors you may want to consider how it is effected by its surrounding colors.

 

     

 

 
                       

 

 

 

 

 

Combining Colors: There are many ways to combine colors. Some combinations create a mood or stimulate the eye. Too much color chaos and the viewer becomes over stimulated and looses focus. On the opposite spectrum, if the colors are too monochromatic and not varied enough, the viewer becomes bored and uninterested. So choosing a good balance and harmony of colors becomes important for professional stage work.

                                     
                                 
                                 

 

 

Color Harmonies 1: Complementary
Each of these colors are opposite of each other on the color wheel and pair nicely when you are looking for a vibrant two color combination for yourself or for dynamic duet costuming. For duet costuming, each dancer could choose one of the two complementary colors, then add her (or his) accent colors based on one of the other color harmony charts. All of the following examples of color harmonies can be tinted, toned or shaded to create a variety of hues.

Yellow

Violet   Blue Green Red Orange
 

Yellow Green

Red Violet   Blue Orange
 

Green

Red   Blue Violet Yellow Orange
 

 

Color Harmonies 2: Triadic
These colors are all spaced equally apart on the color wheel and work well for troupe or individual costume schemes. For an individual costume, choose one color as your main color theme then add the other 2 colors as accents. For troupe costuming, each dancer could choose one of the 3 triadic colors, then choose her (or his) accent color(s) based on one of the other color harmony charts. All of the following examples of color harmonies can be tinted, toned or shaded to create a variety of hues.

Blue

Red Yellow
 

Blue Violet

Red Orange Yellow Green
 

Violet

Orange Green
 

Red Violet

Yellow Orange Blue Green
 

 

Color Harmonies 3: Tetrad
A tetradic scheme is based on 2 sets of complementary colors created by charting out the four points of a rectangle that is set within the color wheel. For troupe costuming, each dancer could choose one of the 4 tetradic colors, then choose her (or his) accent color(s) based on one of the other color harmony charts. All of the following examples of color harmonies can be tinted, toned or shaded to create a variety of hues.

Yellow Orange

Yellow Green

Red Violet

Blue Violet
 
Orange Yellow

Violet

Blue
 
Red Orange Yellow Orange

Blue Violet

Blue Green
 
Red Orange

Blue

Green
 
Red Violet

Red Orange

Blue Green Yellow Green
 
Violet

Red

Green Yellow

 

Color Harmonies 4: Split Complementary
A split complementary scheme represents a color and the two colors next to its complement on the color wheel. For an individual costume, choose one color as your main color theme then add the other 2 colors as accents. For troupe costuming, each dancer could choose one of the 3 split complementary colors, then choose her (or his) accent color(s) based on one of the other color harmony charts. All of the following examples of color harmonies can be tinted, toned or shaded to create a variety of hues.

Red Violet

Yellow

Blue Violet

 
Red Yellow Green

Violet

 
Red Orange Green

Red Violet

 
Orange Blue Green

Red

 
Yellow Orange

Blue

Red Orange
 
Yellow

Blue Violet

Orange
 
Yellow Green

Violet

Yellow Orange
 
Green

Red Violet

Yellow
 
Blue Green Red

Yellow Green

 

Blue

Red Orange Green
 

Blue Violet

Orange Blue Green
 

Violet

Yellow Orange

Blue

 

In Closing...
Use these charts as guides or inspiration... or branch off from these theories and create your own unique look. Some of the greatest artists of our time have used basic theories as spring boards for creating entirely new combinations. So, get out there, express yourself and dance!



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