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Using Color Wheel Combinations in Your Designs

Using Color Wheel Combinations in Your Designs

Design Process
6 min read

Users unconsciously form impressions about your brand within seconds. Employing colors in designs thoughtfully has the potential to win their favor. However, mishandling color combinations can result in an unfavorable perception. 

A visually pleasing and easily memorable design requires a clear understanding of the foundational principles of color wheel combinations. 

At Arounda, a design agency, we understand how important it is to choose the right colors for branding. We spend a lot of time in this realm and want to share some vital knowledge. It's crucial for anyone who does visual work, like artists and web designers. Let's unravel the answer: How to create and use color combinations.

Exploring Color Theory Through the Color Wheel Combinations

In design, colors aren't just visuals but tools for shaping emotions and experiences. Mastering color theory is essential for fluent visual communication.

The color wheel's spectrum offers endless potential for designers. At the same time, color theory empowers them to create impactful visuals, especially in the digital realm.

Color Theory

Color theory is the essential guidebook for navigating the complexities of color in design. Its basic principles show how colors interact and create visually interesting results. Knowing the basics helps generate color combinations that evoke feelings and establish unique styles.

At its core, color theory equips designers with a roadmap for effortlessly blending and harmonizing shades. Designers choose colors to create different tones, moods, and visual effects that align with their goals.

Color Wheel

The color wheel is an indispensable instrument in design. It is a time-tested tool that has assisted artists and designers. Grasping the fundamentals of the color wheel and color theory aids in conveying your message with clarity. 

The color wheel, also known as the color circle, is constructed by placing the three primary colors (red, blue, and yellow) at equal intervals around the circle. 

The secondary colors—formed by mixing primary colors in equal proportions (purple, green, orange)—are positioned evenly along the circle. Next, add tertiary colors, which bridge the gap between primary and secondary hues. 

Finally, the colors blend seamlessly to create a smooth gradient encircling the wheel. Due to its circular nature, the color wheel encompasses an infinite variety of colors.

Primary Colors 

The primary colors within the modern RGB color wheel—red, green, and blue—are fundamental building blocks. Their unique interplay, combined in varying intensities, generates the spectrum of colors we perceive on digital screens and in the vibrant world around us. 

However, the traditional RYB color wheel considers the primary colors red, yellow, and blue. It highlights their essential role in producing a wide variety of shades.

Secondary Colors

Secondary colors are the result of primary pairs' harmonious combinations. In the RGB system, these manifest as cyan (blue and green), magenta (blue and red), and yellow (red and green).

Similarly, the RYB model births secondary colors like purple (red and blue), orange (red and yellow), and green (yellow and blue), each bringing its unique vibrancy to the artistic canvas.

Tertiary Colors 

A mix of base colors deepens further, with tertiary shades born from the fusion of secondary hues with their adjacent primary counterparts. The RGB palette unfolds a scope of hues—orange, chartreuse green, spring green, azure, violet, and rose—evoking distinct emotions and moods. 

Meanwhile, the RYB arrangement introduces us to red-orange, yellow-orange, yellow-green, blue-green, blue-violet, and red-violet, infusing an added layer of complexity into the artistic toolkit.

Practical Steps for the Best Color Wheel Combinations

Mastering the art of using a color wheel is essential for crafting visually captivating and harmonious designs. To create interesting visual stories, learn how colors relate to each other and affect our feelings. 

This guide explains how using the different color wheel combinations will make your designs creative and purposeful.

Understanding Color Basics

For better design work, you need to comprehend the interplay of color relationships. It includes complementary, analogous, and split complementary connections. Know and use the primary hues: red, green, and blue. Experiment with secondary shades through the mixing of primary colors.

Delving into Color Variation and Harmonious Palettes

Try to find new color wheel combinations by mixing secondary colors with nearby primaries. Sculpt the ideal ambiance by mastering color values, using gentle tints of white to illuminate and deep shades of black to add dimension.

Choose your colors carefully. Look for combinations that create interesting contrasts (complementary) or calming harmony (analogous). Explore monochromatic, similar, and triadic color schemes to create elegant combinations that give visual balance.

Achieving Harmonious Balance

Achieve balance in your design using the 60-30-10 guideline. It means having 60% dominant shades, 30% secondary ones, and 10% accent flair. Prioritize inclusivity by verifying contrast ratios for optimal accessibility.

Find inspiration in art, nature's colors, and digital templates, creating a unique and creative story in your design.

Bringing Concepts to Life and Perfecting Iterations

Every design brings its idea and concept to the world. To enhance this impact, take the time to understand how your users perceive colors. 

Don't hesitate to adjust your color palettes as needed. Gathering feedback on how users interact with your designs and experimenting with new combinations are essential.

Color Wheel Combinations Techniques

Colors are the essence of design, capable of conveying emotions and messages. When exploring color combinations, dive into harmonies and contrasts guided by the color wheel. Explore the numerous design possibilities of diverse mixing schemes, ranging from bold complements to calming monochromes, to infuse vitality into your creations.


Select two colors positioned on opposite ends of the wheel to achieve a compelling contrast and heightened impact.


Play with three shades, tones, and tints of a single base color. This subtle and versatile palette offers a harmonious touch to design projects.


Combine three neighboring colors on the wheel. While versatile, this scheme can be overwhelming. Choose one dominant hue and use others as accents to find balance.


Embrace three equidistant colors on the wheel for bold contrast. More versatile than complementary, this creates vibrant, energetic palettes.


Use four evenly spaced colors on the wheel. For an excellent tetradic color scheme, emphasize one color as the dominant shade, with the others serving as accents to create the most noticeable effect. Balancing becomes more difficult as your palette includes more colors.


Gaining insight into color theory and mastering color wheel combinations is vital for success in the visual domain. It's the foundation for anyone diving into the visual realm. Blending colors can result in positive or negative reactions toward your product.

At Arounda, we consistently craft meaningful design solutions for our clients. We explore the project's core, study users, and design branding that reflects your uniqueness. 

Contact us to start working on your product with the ideal colors for success.


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6 min read
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FAQ on UI/UX design services

What's the Designer's Approach to the Color Wheel?

Designers use color wheel combinations to create captivating visuals that evoke emotions and convey messages. Designers use skillful color blending to create harmonious compositions with bold contrast and analogous hues. Designers use colors from different parts of the color wheel to create good color wheel combinations, pairing opposite colors for impactful results. The 60-30-10 rule ensures balance as dominant, secondary, and accent shades harmoniously coexist. Mastery of color psychology empowers designers to elicit specific feelings and forge emotional connections with audiences. Hierarchies along the color spectrum intuitively guide viewers, enhancing engagement and user experiences. Prioritizing accessibility, designers adhere to contrast ratios for inclusivity. The best color wheel combinations ensure project consistency, harmonizing palettes across elements, platforms, and media.

How to Employ Complementary Colors in Design?

Complementary colors, positioned opposite each other on the color wheel, offer dynamic contrast and visual appeal in design. Contrasting text and backgrounds adds balance, highlights focal points, and improves readability. Beyond balance, complementary colors fuel creativity through color blending, forming gradients that add depth. It strengthens the brand style guide, evokes emotions, and aids content division through color blocking. Speaking about photography on a website, complimentary colors transform visuals, filling them with mood. Effective use requires contextual understanding, resulting in a harmonious symphony of balance, emphasis, and emotional resonance in design.

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