The Language of Color

Like all disciplines, color has its own language.  Knowing the terms used to describe color is useful when learning color theory.  While there are many others, these basic terms are a great start.

Terms Used to Describe Color

Color has its own set of descriptive words, so let’s begin our discussion of color by understanding a few simple terms.

Hue – refers to a pure color.  This means a color that appears on the color wheel.

Tint – a hue with white added.  Mixing red and white creates pink, so pink is a tint.  Adding white to a hue desaturates it, thus pastel colors are tints.  Tints have a calmer, quieter feel than a hue.

Shade – a hue with black added.  Mixing red and black creates maroon, thus maroon is a shade.  Shades are a more intense, richer, darker color.  Adding a small amount of black to a hue will achieve a rich feel, while adding more black can product an almost spooky feeling.

Tone – a hue with gray (or black and white) added.  Depending on the amount of black and white added to the hue the tone may be darker or lighter than the original hue.  Dusty rose is an example of a tone.

Mixing Color

Now, let’s look at how to mix every color of the rainbow.

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