I’ve been playing with color theory and thought I’d try to organize Stampin’ Up!’s current colors on a color wheel.
When I plan colors I sometimes just use colors I’ve seen in the catalog. I also use the colors in Designer Series Papers whether I’m using the paper or not. Those colors were coordinated by professional artists. A great tool for professional color combinations is the Color Coach. I often use My Digital Studio to suggest colors. Just select “Change Color” and then click on the “Combos” tab. Each time you click on one color and you will be shown different combinations. I think there may be 8-12 combinations for each color. Many people will find a photograph, clothing, or really any product you like and find similar Stampin’ Up! colors. I also look at Pinterest for color inspiration.
I will often use my Paper Sampler to just see what I like.
But you can also use the color wheel. If you search “color wheel” on Google, you will find many sites that will teach you about color theory. Basically, you will learn about the primary and secondary colors, and maybe the tertiary colors. Perhaps you remember in elementary school when you learned to mix paint. The primary colors are red, yellow and blue. The secondary colors are when you mix two of those colors together: red and yellow make the secondary color orange, yellow and blue make the secondary color green, blue and red make the secondary color purple. Tertiary colors are the ones between secondary and primary colors like yellow-orange, etc.
You might think of our color collections as the rings on the wheel. The Brights Collection are more the basic primary and secondary colors. Tints are colors mixed with white, like pink. You will find the tints in the Subtles Collection. Shades are the colors you get when you mix in black and you’ll find these in the Regals collection. And then there is the Neutrals Collection. Black, gray, and white will go with anything. Browns are what you get when you mix colors from all three primary colors. Because browns have “color” in them, you may need to be a little more careful with them. For instance I think our Soft Suede has more yellow in it, so you might need to be careful when using it with orange or green and it looks great with yellows and blues.
Complementary – Colors opposite on the color wheel are very exiting and vibrant. You will often see these during the holidays, in advertisements, or at fast food restaurants. Red and green, yellow and purple (aka violet), blue and orange are complementary colors.
Analogous – Colors next to each other on the color wheel are more relaxing and calm. Blues and greens, yellows and greens, or purples and reds.
Monotone – Designers will also often use shades and tints of (mono) one (tone) color. Yep, the word does sound kind of like “monotonous.” You can avoid a monotony with pattern, shine, or texture. You can make a very lovely card with one color of card stock that has been cut out with one or more Framelits, run through the Big Shot or Texture Boutique in an Textured Embossing folder, stamped with the same color, and then add a coordinating ribbon.
So I tried to fit our colors onto the color wheel. I think Real Red and Daffodil Delight are pretty pure primary colors. Some of the Stampin’ Up! colors weren’t a perfect fit on a basic color wheel and that’s really a good thing. The colors are not basic, rather special. In my opinion, we don’t really have a strong contender for a primary blue. I think Pacific Point is the closest. Pumpkin Pie and Garden Green are basic secondary colors. Perfect Plum is a bit too light and Elegant Eggplant is to dark to really fit on the ring with the other primary colors. We seem to have lots of blue-green colors and not really any yellow-orange or blue-violets. You’ll find those sections blank on the color wheel above.
So how would I use this color wheel? I would tend to keep the colors on the same rings together. In other words, it may be easiest to combine colors from each of the color collections. So if I were planning a project for a child or I wanted a bright exciting card, I might use the colors from the Brights on the ring with Real Red.
Some examples of complementary colors might be Real Red and Garden Green. If I wanted something softer, I might use Pink Pirouette and Pistachio Pudding as complementary tints. Or maybe I might use Cherry Cobbler and Always Artichoke as complementary shades. So what do you think would go with Wisteria Wonder? Using this wheel, I would go with So Saffron.
Play with the color wheel and tell me what you think.