When designing apparel, footwear, or accessories of any kind, color theory is one of the most crucial aspects to keep in mind.

Your designs can either be brought to life by color or they can be brought down by color, leaving you with things that are unsold. When creating clothing, it is essential to have a solid understanding of which color combinations work well, how to generate those color combinations and the color nomenclature used in the fashion business.

Within the realm of fashion design, the relevance of color theory is going to be explored all throughout this blog post by Avish Educom.

What exactly is Colour Theory?

Color theory is a set of rules and criteria that designers employ to communicate with consumers through visually appealing color schemes in visual interfaces.

Designers employ a color wheel and considerable accumulated knowledge about human optical ability, psychology, culture, and more to select the optimal colors every time.

Color theory encompasses both the science and the art of color usage. It describes how humans perceive colour and the visual consequences of how colors blend, complement, or contrast.

Color is in the Eyes of the Beholder

Color is subjective. Our eyes see something (such as the sky), and info transmitted from our eyes to our brains tells us what hue it is (blue). Objects reflect light in a variety of wavelength combinations. Our brains interpret these wavelength combinations as the phenomenon we refer to as color.

Sir Isaac Newton founded color theory in 1666 when he constructed the color wheel. Newton viewed colors as human perceptions, not absolute properties, of light’s wavelengths. By systematically classifying colors, he identified three categories:

  • Primary (red, blue, yellow)
  • Secondary (mixes of primary colors)
  • Tertiary (or intermediate – blends of primary and secondary hues.

In the wake of Newton’s discoveries, the study of color expanded to encompass the qualities of color in its two forms i.e., print/paint and screen/light, and in a wide range of disciplines, from art to astronomy. A color’s qualities are:

  • Hue – How it appears (e.g., “is green”).
  • Chroma – How pure it is, i.e. if it includes tints (white added), shades (black added), or tones (grey added).
  • Lighting – Whether an object appears pale or saturated.

User experience (UX) design requires a solid understanding of color theory in order to create harmonious, relevant designs for users.

Fashion Color Theory- Distinctions between Primary Colors

A color wheel is an essential tool for fashion designers, and you will return to it frequently while deciding on the color palette for your designs.

The color wheel, which is either a circle or a wheel, illustrates the spectrum of colors and their relationships. The normal number of hues on a color wheel is 12, however, some use as many as 24.

You could be acquainted with primary colors or you might not. Red, Yellow, and Blue are the classic primary colors.

There is controversy and debate regarding why red, blue, and yellow are not the main colors. CMYK (Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, and Black, commonly known as Key) is favored by some as the primary color.

What Hues constitute the Color Wheel?

In addition to the main colors RYB (red, yellow, and blue), the color wheel has secondary and tertiary hues. Violet (or purple), green, and orange are the secondary colors, which are created by mixing the basic colors.

The tertiary colors are created by combining the main and secondary hues: blue-green, yellow-green, yellow-orange, red-orange, red-violet, and blue-violet. These twelve hues comprise the color wheel.

Tints, Shades, Tones, and Saturations of Color

Using tints, hues, tones, and mutes, designers can desaturate and create new colors. These can soften, lighten, darken, dullen, or muffle a hue.

  • Tints = color + white
  • Shades = color + black
  • Tones = color + gray
  • Mutes = color + its complement color

Depending on the coolness or warmth of the white, black, grey, and complementary hues, the undertone of tints, shades, tones, and mutes might vary. If you are attempting to create a warm orange, you should utilize a warm undertone.

A Brief Overview of Color Schemes

There are six typical color palettes:

  • Complementary Colors

On the color wheel, a complimentary is the opposite color of a given hue. For instance, the complementary color of green is red.

  • Split Complementary Colors

This scheme takes a color and instead of using its complement, it uses the adjacent colors. Given that red is the complement of green, a split complementary scheme would consist of green, red-orange, and red-violet.

  • Triadic

A triadic color scheme consists of three colors evenly spaced apart on the color wheel. The color schemes blue, red, and yellow are triadic.

  • Tetradic

This color scheme, often known as Square, uses four colors evenly spaced on the color wheel.

  • Analogous

This scheme often consists of three or more colors that are similar to one another. The color scheme of green, blue/green, and blue is comparable.

  • Monochromatic

In this scheme, a single color is combined with any number of tints, tones, shades, and neutrals.


By having a basic understanding of color theory, you will be able to analyze your work more effectively and determine if and why something is off.

Especially if you’re planning on working with fashion illustrator software, the preceding material is a good color theory basis for you to use in your designs.

Practicing color mixing, experimenting, and having fun with color creation is one of the finest methods to learn more about color theory.

Enroll in a fashion designing course at Avish Educom to learn how to efficiently make and design clothes with bespoke dyes, washes, and other elements.

Avish Educom is a well-known organization that promotes education, culture, and human values with an emphasis on providing high-quality education to the nation’s youth.

The institute focuses on providing a holistic education that combines modernity with classical grace, scientific and professional expertise, and humanistic compassion at affordable costs to prepare India for future opportunities in education, research, and training.

This we achieve by focusing on:

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