Fashion Style: How To Use The Fashion Colour Wheel To Combine Colours For Your Outfits As A Fashion Designer
Have you ever gotten a fabric from a client in a particular colour, or maybe even purchased a pretty fabric from the market in a particular colour, and been unsure of what other colours to combine it with in the process of designing? If you have then trust me, you are not alone.
Not everyone is naturally gifted with the ability to combine colours breathtakingly and fabulously and that's okay, the colour wheel is here to help us out with that.
What is the Colour Wheel?
The colour wheel is a representation of colours showing the different hues, tints, tones, and shades of these colours. It has been used over the years by creative and artistic people to make their designs pop.
The Basics of the Colour Wheel
Let's talk a bit about the colours in the colour wheel, shall we? Every colour in the world can be put into three segments - primary colours, secondary colours, and tertiary colours.
- Primary Colours: These colours are the basis of every other colour in the world i.e. every other colour was derived from these colours. The primary colours are red, yellow and blue.
- Secondary Colours: These are colours that were derived from the mixture of two primary colours, you get orange from red and yellow, you get green from blue and yellow, and you get violet from red and blue. Orange, green, and violet are therefore the secondary colours.
- Tertiary Colours: These colours are a combination of primary and secondary colours. Colours like coral, mint, aqua, blue-violet, etc are tertiary colours.
Now, every colour has tints and shades that give them variations. A tint is the variation of a particular colour when mixed with white while a shade is the variation of that colour when mixed with black. Generally, though, you do not need to worry about tints and shades too much.
What you do need to concern yourself with as a fashion designer are warm, cool, and neutral colours. These colours convey different emotions; warm colours convey energy, vibrancy, and joy, (for example, red, yellow, orange), while cool colours convey calmness, relaxation, and peace (for example blue, purple green).
How to Match Colours in Designing Clothes
Based on the colour wheel, there are some basic rules for matching colours in clothing outfits. Here they are;
1. Complementary Colours:
Complementary colours are colours on opposite sides of the colour wheel (for example blue and orange, red and green, yellow and purple). They are contrasting colours and work well together, giving off a bold look.
In combining these colours though, you have to be careful so as not to design clothes that come off looking like a hot colour mess.
2. Split Complementary Colours:
To get split complementary colours, pick a colour then find the two colours next to its complementary colour. These colour combinations are usually pleasing to the eyes and still give off a contrasting effect but in a toned-down manner.
These colour combinations are hard to mess up and so are a good choice for beginners. Colours combinations such as red, violet, yellow-green; blue green-red orange; and violet, yellow-orange, yellow-green are good examples of split complementary colours.
3. Analogous Colours:
Analogous colours are any three continuous colours on the colour wheel. Combining these colours always gives off a striking and stylish outcome because they blend well together.
The analogous colour combination might not give off the vibrancy and high contrast that complementary colours give but the combination is rich, harmonious, and soothing. Examples of analogous colours are orange, yellow-orange, and yellow; red, orange-yellow, orange.
4. Triadic Colours:
Triadic colours are colours that are equally spaced apart on the colour wheel and they usually form a triangle across the wheel. Triadic colours go well together and are typically very vibrant. They also give off a high-contrast when combined.
Examples of triadic colours are yellow-orange, blue-green, red-violet; red-orange, yellow-green, blue-violet; and red, yellow, blue.
5. Tetradic or Double Complementary Colours
Tetradic or double complementary colours use four colours - two sets of complementary colours. These colours are chosen from opposite sides of the colour wheel and form a rectangle across the wheel.
The colours used here are wider than in any other combination and so this colour scheme is the hardest to balance. In designing outfits using this colour combination, it's best to pick out a particular colour to be the dominant colour while you tone down the rest.
Other colour combinations include achromatic and monochromatic colour combinations.
Other Colour Guidelines
Here are a few other tips to help you in matching colours together when designing outfits and even when styling them on mannequins.
- Keep Colours in the same family together.
- The Monochrome look works very well too.
- Balance out your colours.
Combining colours for designing your outfits doesn't have to be a difficult task, practicing colour combinations using the guide above and the colour wheel will help you along the way. Now, with your new-found knowledge, go out and make fabulous designs.