The colour wheel was created by Sir Isaac Newton who, in joining together the two ends of the colour spectrum, produced the first circular diagram of logically presented colours. At Stitched, we recognise how useful the colour wheel can be in creating a scheme and include one in every sample pack.
All colours on the wheel originate from the three primaries - red, yellow and blue. By mixing together two of these, you get the secondary colours of orange, green and violet. These can then be mixed together to create tertiary colours and so on and so on.
White, grey and black do not appear on the colour wheel because they are achromatic, ie technically not colours, but they can be added to any colour on the wheel in varying degrees to create myriad tints, tones and shades.
Complementary colours, such as blue and orange, sit directly opposite on the colour wheel and when used together will make each appear more vibrant and dynamic. If complementary colours are used in equal proportion in a space, the effect can be uncomfortable so the answer is to use them in different measures, separate with a neutral or reduce the intensity of colour by using versions of the hues where white, grey or black have been added.
A harmonious scheme will comprise colours that sit next to each other on the colour wheel. These colours can be light or dark, intense or almost neutral but work best together when the intensity of each is the same. As with a complementary scheme, it’s best to allow one colour to dominate and use neutrals to provide balance.