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Color Theory

By: Roberta Hughes
Posted: June 23, 2008, from the April 2006 issue of Skin Inc. magazine.

page 4 of 6

Color value. The degree of lightness or darkness of a color is indicated by its value. Each pure hue on the Color Wheel has an assigned value. For instance, yellow is naturally light, while violet is darker. A color can be a tint, tone or shade, depending on the level of white, gray or black mixed with it. Tints are considered high-value colors because they are lighter than their natural color and reflect more light with the white that has been added. For instance, adding white to the pure color blue creates a lighter tint called baby blue. Colors containing gray, such as slate blue, are considered a tone. A shade, such as midnight blue, has a low value because it appears darker than the natural blue color, and black has been added, which absorbs more light.

Tips. Mix tints, tones and shades with various color values to create dramatic contrast or to complement subtly.

• Close color value contrasts in tones or shades have a sophisticated flair, are calming to work in and do not tire the eye. Strong value contrasts fight for visual attention, can become irritating over time, and are best used as accent colors and in smaller proportions.

• Tints have a stimulating effect on the mind and body, and uplift the mood. To make a room appear larger and to add visual interest, accent with decorations in various tints, or consider painting one wall in a tint while covering the other walls with a tone or shade.

• Tones are neutral in color, harmonize well and do not call attention to themselves. Flooring or clothing pieces often are designed in tones for this reason.