What Are Complementary Colors

Complementary Colors: What They Are & How To Use Them

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What are complementary colors? Complementary colors are two colors which are found on the opposite side of the color wheel.

Generally complementary colors consist of a primary color and a secondary color.

What’s a secondary color? Secondary colors are formed by mixing two primary colors. In a color wheel you will find that the secondary colors are found between two primary colors.

For example, Orange is a secondary color which is formed when red and yellow are mixed together. If you’ll look at the color wheel you will find out that orange is in between red and yellow.

If you’re an artist, knowing the complementary colors might be handy for you in the sense that you won’t have trouble making color decisions.

The complementary colors can be used together to make each of the colors look brighter. Or they can also be blended together to create a shadow effect. They can be mixed in order to create a natural hue.

What Is The Complementary Color Of Red?

What Is The Complementary Color Of Red?

The complementary color to red is green which is a mix of blue and yellow. However, the Brigtside has a color guide which suggests that each shade of red has its own separate complementary color. Look at the following table to see which colors of red have which complementary colors,


Shades Of Red
   
Complementary Colors   
   
Cherry Red   
   
Grey, beige, sandy, azure, pale yellow and   light orange   
   
Primary Red   
   
Green, black, blue, yellow, tawny orange and   white   
   
Raspberry Red   
   
Damask rose, white and black   
   
Tomato Red   
   
Mint green, grey, cyan, creamy white and   sand   

What Is The Complementary Color Of Blue?

What Is The Complementary Color Of Blue?

The complementary color to blue is orange which is a mix of red and yellow. But just like red, different shades of blue too have their own separate colors.

   
Shades Of Blue   
   
Complementary Colors   
   
Slate blue   
   
Rust   
   
Midnight blue   
   
Black and white   
   
Navy blue   
   
Mustard   
   
Primary blue   
   
Orange, green and grey   
   
Pale blue   
   
Mint green and bright yellow   
   
Sky blue   
   
Moss green   
   
Deep blue   
   
Olive green   
   
Jewel toned blue   
   
Purple   
   
Yves Klein blue   
   
Black   
   
Dark Blue   
   
Hot pink   

What Is The Complementary Color Of Green?

What Is The Complementary Color Of Green?

The complementary color to green is red. Following are the complementary color that go with different shades of green.

   
Shades of Green   
   
Complementary Color   
   
Fern   
   
Tangerine   
   
Kelly Green   
   
Pink   
   
Lime   
   
Turquoise   
   
Mint   
   
Lavender   
   
Emerald   
   
White   
   
Lichen   
   
Taupe   
   
Chartreuse   
   
Black   
   
Moss   
   
Brass   
   
Pistachio   
   
Aubergine   
   
Leaf   
   
Royal Blue   
   
Sage   
   
Nantucket Red   
   
Hunter   
   
Marigold   
   
Pear   
   
Navy   
   
Jade   
   
Magenta   

What Is The Complementary Color Of Yellow?

What Is The Complementary Color Of Yellow?

The complementary color of yellow is purple which is a mix of red and blue. Yellow too like the above different primary color can have different complementary colors for different shades,


Yellow Shades
   
Complementary Colors   
   
Sunny Yellow   
   
White   
   
Marigold    
   
Mint   
   
Butter Yellow   
   
Blue   
   
Neon Yellow   
   
Pink   
   
Dandelion   
   
Cinnamon Red   
   
Banana Yellow   
   
Off White   
   
Mustard   
   
Jade   
   
Flaxen Yellow   
   
Brown   
   
Yellow   
   
Turquoise, purple   
   
Pineapple    
   
Black   
   
Dandelion   
   
Cinnamon Red   
   
Banana Yellow   
   
Off White   
   
Mustard   
   
Jade   
   
Flaxen Yellow   
   
Brown   
   
Yellow   
   
Turquoise, purple   
   
Pineapple    
   
Black   

Do Tertiary Colors Have Complementary Colors?

Yes, tertiary colors do have complementary colors. In order to find the complementary colors of the tertiary colors you’ll have to find the color directly across from it in a color wheel.

Tertiary colors are made up of one secondary color and one primary color. Here are some tertiary colors and their complements.

   
Tertiary Colors   
   
Complements   
   
yellow-orange   
   
blue-purple (indigo)   
   
orange-red   
   
blue-green (aqua)   
   
red-purple (pink)   
   
green-yellow   

In this way, the color wheel can be divided into an infinite number of colors and their complements. One thing will always remain the same; no matter what the shade or hue it is, its complementary color will always be found directly across from it.

What Are Complementary Colors Used For Anyways?

Complementary colors are used to make each other pop. You may have noticed that every set of complementary colors are made up of one warm color and one cold color.

Warm Colors: Warm colors are those colors which remind us of the warmth of the sun or remind us of fire. Red, orange and yellow are warm colors.

Cold Colors: Cold colors are those colors which remind us of water or the grass. Green, blue and purple are cold colors.

What is meant by simultaneous contrast? Using a warm color in order to complement a cold color is termed as simultaneous contrasting. These are termed as the highest contrast available on the color wheel.

Simultaneous contrast is like a natural illusion occurring when you put two colors that complement each other side to side. Both colors start to look brighter and help to catch the viewer’s eye.

But you also need to be a little careful when using both of these colors together. Both the colors make each other look more vivid and brighter and may cause both of them to clash together.

The colors are polar opposite and have similar strength and properties and so they compete with each other in certain situations and the end result may look quite loud.

Mixing Complementary Colors Together

If we’re talking about paint, then mixing complementary colors can give a pretty interesting result. When mixing them together, they can make the hue less vibrant and can also create a new shade. The more color you will add, the more neutral it will become.

For example, if you add a hint of green color into dark red, then it will create a color much similar to burnt sienna. If you add an equal amount of green to equal amount of red, then you will get dark brown.

Artists use the concept of simultaneous contrast all the time. For example, when painting or drawing sunsets, deep blue to bright orange gradients can seem more eye-catching due to this concept.

Final Verdict:

If you’re looking for a color that you can mix together, then complementary colors are perfect for this job.

Play around the color wheel a little. Experiment mixing the complementary colors and make swatch just to see how many colors you can explore.

As long as you stick to the original complementary colors, you’ll like the results very much. You can use them to create vivid effects or use them in those paintings which need a popping effect.

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