In the theory of color harmony, the entire spectrum of colors is represented on the 12-part color wheel. These colors are grouped along with their analogous counterparts. Any three colors that are side by side on the color wheel are considered to be analogous, while one of those three colors tends to dominate compared to the other two.

Analogous Colors

The other half of the theory of color harmony represents complementary colors. These are two colors that are directly opposite of each other on the color wheel. These two colors are very different in hue, but they work together very, very well. This is a tool that designers and color experts use to determine what colors to use together, because opposing colors create maximum contrast.

Complementary Colors

How Does Light Become Color?

When you see an object that appears to be a certain color, it is not because the substance is actually that color. In actuality, the color you perceive is the colors of the wavelengths reflected by the object.  

The reason an object appears to be a certain color is because they absorb some color wavelengths and reflect or transmit others. The color wavelengths that it reflects or transmit give it the hue that you perceive. 

Can Your Surroundings Affect Color?

Because our perception of color is dependent upon how our brains process it, the visual perception of color can be relative to many factors and not absolute. See the graphic below: all of the squares inside the rectangle are the same color but appear to be different depending on the surrounding color. 

If you look closely, you will see that this is indeed the case. However, at the first glance, you might perceive that there are four different-colored squares inside the rectangle due to their environmental surroundings. This is a very important factor to consider in tandem with your knowledge of analogous colors and complementary colors in the twelve-part color wheel. 

What Causes Color Blindness?

When an individual suffers from color blindness, the cones in their eye do not accurately record certain opposing hues. The most common affliction is red-or-green perception, which afflicts approximately 1/3 of men. When considering using colors for differentiation, consider this illustration of how a person with colorblindness would perceive this color spectrum. 

A simple way to test yourself is to look at the graphic below. An individual with standard color vision will see the number 74, while those with color blindness will see the number 21 or even no number at all, depending on the type of color blindness.