Color scheme

Colors have tremendous power if used in the right way. The color combination that you come out with may bring consistency to the design or it may wreck it. The colors tailor made for the design form a color scheme. Their purpose is to establish style and characteristic or to convey a type of mood. The most primitive color scheme may be built using just two colors that look engaging together.

Color is one of the most crucial things in the creative industry. Finding good colors for palettes is a challenge task as it requires plenty of experimentation. Planning a successful color combination has to be backed by a solid understanding of color relationships.

The color wheel and color schemes


To figure out the ideas behind color schemes, we first have to appreciate the color wheel. It is a circular color diagram invented by Sir Isaac Newton in 1666. It is a visual portray of color hues arranged in a circular manner according to their chromatic relationship.

Color wheel is a starting point for combination of colors. Color schemes are just logical combinations made with knowledge of the color wheel. It is an simple method to visualize the relationships between colors.

Types of color schemes

Monochromatic color scheme

This scheme is composed of different tints, shades of tones of the same color. These color schemes are relatively easy to use and comprehend.


Analogous color scheme

These are colors that are next to each other on the color wheel. They usually match quite well.


Complementary color scheme

Colors located across from each other on a color wheel, for example: blue and orange, yellow and purple. They usually create a vibrant look due to high contrast between them.


Split-Complementary color scheme

It is composed of the base color and two colors adjacent to its complement. That gives it strong visual contrast but without the tension of the complementary color scheme.


Triadic color scheme

This scheme is made of colors that are evenly spaced along the color wheel. A vibrant palette is produced.


Tetradic color scheme

This scheme is composed of four colors comprising of two complementary pairs.


Colours! 颜色!

“The purest and most thoughtful minds are those which love color the most.”
― John Ruskin, The Stones of Venic

To me, colours is more than just light of different wavelengths and frequencies. Each of them is unique in their own ways. Each of them have their own emotional story. And it is our job as designers or artists to uncover such stories and present them to the rest of the world.

Before we look into the different colours and the emotions they represent, here are some general knowledge on colours.

Colour Wheel


A color wheel is an illustrative grouping of color hues in a circle that displays relationships between colours.


Primary colours are sets of colors that can be combined to make a useful range of colors.

Secondary colours are colours made by mixing two primary colors in a given colour space.

Tertiary colours are colours made by mixing either one primary colour with one secondary colour, or two secondary colours, in a given color space.

Now, let’s look at some of the different kinds of colours and the emotions behind each of them.

RED. Physical
Positive: Physical courage, strength, warmth, energy, basic survival, ‘fight or flight’, stimulation, masculinity, excitement.
Negative: Defiance, aggression, visual impact, strain.


BLUE. Intellectual.
Positive: Intelligence, communication, trust, efficiency, serenity, duty, logic, coolness, reflection, calm.
Negative: Coldness, aloofness, lack of emotion, unfriendliness.


YELLOW. Emotional
Positive: Optimism, confidence, self-esteem, extraversion, emotional strength, friendliness, creativity.
Negative: Irrationality, fear, emotional fragility, depression, anxiety, suicide.


GREEN. Balance
Positive: Harmony, balance, refreshment, universal love, rest, restoration, reassurance, environmental awareness, equilibrium, peace.
Negative: Boredom, stagnation, blandness, enervation.


VIOLET. Spiritual
Positive: Spiritual awareness, containment, vision, luxury, authenticity, truth, quality.
Negative: Introversion, decadence, suppression, inferiority.


Positive: Physical comfort, food, warmth, security, sensuality, passion, abundance, fun.
Negative: Deprivation, frustration, frivolity, immaturity.


Positive: Physical tranquillity, nurture, warmth, femininity, love, sexuality, survival of the species.
Negative: Inhibition, emotional claustrophobia, emasculation, physical weakness.


Positive: Psychological neutrality.
Negative: Lack of confidence, dampness, depression, hibernation, lack of energy.


Positive: Sophistication, glamour, security, emotional safety, efficiency, substance.
Negative: Oppression, coldness, menace, heaviness.


The rhymes project.

For this project, I read up on the principles of design to prepare myself beforehand as it requires me to experiment with different compositions using various graphic elements from a variety of rhymes.

Principles of Design basically means the ways that artists use the elements of art in a work of art.

Here is the list of the different definitions of the various design principles and their visual representations.


It is the distribution of the visual weight of objects, colors, texture, and space. If the design was a scale, these elements should be balanced to make a design feel stable. In symmetrical balance, the elements used on one side of the design are similar to those on the other side; in asymmetrical balance, the sides are different but still look balanced. In radial balance, the elements are arranged around a central point and may be similar.



It is the part of the design that catches the viewer’s attention. Usually the artist will make one area stand out by contrasting it with other areas. The area could be different in size, color, texture, shape, etc.



It is the path the viewer’s eye takes through the work of art, often to focal areas. Such movement can be directed along lines, edges, shape, and color within the work of art.



It is the repeating of an object or symbol all over the work of art.



It works with pattern to make the work of art seem active. The repetition of elements of design creates unity within the work of art.



It is the feeling of unity created when all parts (sizes, amounts, or number) relate well with each other. When drawing the human figure, proportion can refer to the size of the head compared to the rest of the body.



It is created when one or more elements of design are used repeatedly to create a feeling of organized movement. Rhythm creates a mood like music or dancing. To keep rhythm exciting and active, variety is essential.



It is the use of several elements of design to hold the viewer’s attention and to guide the viewer’s eye through and around the work of art.



It is the feeling of harmony between all parts of the work of art, which creates a sense of completeness.


Once I familiarized myself with the key ideas of design principles, I looked up for the different graphic resources that are linked to Humpty Dumpty (The rhyme I was assigned.).

english_red_bricks_building_4_20141211_1163181747eggmancranes-05little ponyNSMB2_Mini_MarioONEstormtroopersTHREE TWOwalkers

After stocking up on the graphic resources, I looked into the available rhymes (Humpty Dumpty, The Old Lady Who Lived In A Shoe and Hey Diddle Diddle.) to choose potential lines from them to work with.

I chose the following lines:

  1. Hey diddle diddle the cat and the fiddle
  2. The little dog laughed to see such sport
  3. There was an old woman who lived in a shoe
  4. Whipped them all soundly and put them to bed

Visual references:

eplodingplanet little-planet-example-24513877431_bb747133c6_o



Experimenting with the various compositions and graphic elements:


Final compositions:


Hey diddle diddle the cat and the fiddle:

For this composition, I was inspired by little planet photo presentation concept. By using the cat to form a planet shape with the tails of the fiddles extruding out, it creates a dynamic and explosive visual.


The little dog laughed to see such sport:

The idea is to amplify and enhance the way the dog is shown laughing. By creating sound waves using laughing mouths and ocean waves using pugs, it creates a stirring and humorous effect to the composition. The present of the dog wearing the Vendetta mask further intensify the overall visual presentation.


There was an old woman who lived in a shoe:

The concept is to show the old woman as the boss of an estate empire made up of shoes with shoes raining in the background. It is to bring about a modern touch to a traditional rhyme.


Whipped them all soundly and put them to bed:

The meaning behind this composition is to create graphical forms that are elegant which is represented by the falling flowers by using something that is brutal which is represented by the whip. The children that are involved in the composition also complement the overall composition. The irony forged in the process creates an interesting visual style.