Color Harmony

It is important to develop a color scheme, a set of colors that work well together for the project at hand. How do we choose colors that work in harmony? The following color harmonies are based on geometric relationships found on the colour wheel.

A complementary color scheme uses two opposite colors on the wheel

A triadic color scheme uses three evenly spaced colors on the wheel

A monochromatic color scheme uses three different values of the same color

Split complements color scheme uses a color and two adjacent tertiary colors of its complement

An analogous color scheme uses three adjacent colors on the wheel

A tetradic color scheme uses two complementary pairs

Color Contrast

Swiss expressionist painter, designer and teacher Johannes Itten (Nov 1888 - March 1967) created a color wheel to show relationships between colors. The colors are presented as such.


  • Primary : Red, Yellow, Blue

  • Secondary: Orange, Green, Violet

  • Complementary: Red-Orange, Red-Violet, Yellow-Orange, Yellow-Green, Blue-Violet, Blue-Green.


Knowing how colours work in relation to each other is a crucial first step in deeloping a color scheme for your signage. Secondary colors are created by mixing primary colors whereas tertiary colors are created by mixing primary and secondary colors.

You want to pay extra special attention to the colors you give to your text simply because it is the message that you want to send out. It has to get a good contrast with the background. Therefore, consider using a lighter color as the background and a dark color for the text. Take note that if colored text is used on bright background, the contrast will not be optimal.


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