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Colors, Colors, Colors

Photos & Internet do Colors NO Justice.

Do you know what happens to a photo or image when you constantly move it around?


Well, when you are moving a photo or image from one device to another, it loses resolution. Then when you move the photo or image from one folder to another, that is even more resolution lost. The more a photo or image is moved around the more resolution is lost, meaning the more pixelated an image will get.


Also, each device may use a different method to render an image. Therefore without any sort of color translations, images that look fine on one device may have drastic color shifts when viewed on another.


Color Theory

Color theory is the collection of rules and guidelines which designers use to communicate with users through appealing color schemes in visual interfaces.


Primary Colors: “Original Colors” - Red, Yellow, Blue

Secondary Colors: When you mix two (2) Primary Colors - Green, Orange, and Purple

Tertiary: When you mix one (1) Primary and one (1) Secondary Color - Amber, Vermillion, Magenta, Violet, Teal, and Chartreuse


Color Properties: Warm, Cool, Saturated, Desaturated, Bright, Dark, and Monochrome


Color Harmonies: Analogous, Complementary, Triad, Split Complementary, Tetrad, Monochromatic, and Square.

Hue: could also be called “root” or “source” color. The hue is always one of the 12 key color places on the basic color wheel.


Value: The value of a color is always going to be compared against a basic palette of white, gray or black. A color’s value is expressed in terms of “lightness” or “darkness” in relation to each of these three basic colors.


Temperature: is perhaps the most subjective of the four basic color qualities. It is also in this quality where it is easiest to see the emotional relationship.


Color Context

How color behaves in relation to other colors and shapes is a complex area of color theory. Compare the contrast effects of different color backgrounds for the same red square. The red squares are the same size and color.



Red appears more brilliant against a black background and somewhat duller against the white background. In contrast with orange, the red appears lifeless; in contrast with blue-green, it exhibits brilliance. Notice that the red square appears larger on black than on other background colors.


Different Readings of the Same Color


If your computer has sufficient color stability and gamma correction you will see that the small purple rectangle on the left appears to have a red-purple tinge when compared to the small purple rectangle on the right. They are both the same color as seen in the illustration below. This demonstrates how three colors can be perceived as four colors.



Observing the effects colors have on each other is the starting point for understanding the relativity of color. The relationship of values, saturations and the warmth or coolness of respective hues can cause noticeable differences in our perception of color.


These are the reasons why we ask customers to come into our shop to talk about colors. A customer may see one color and we may see another color.


Stay tuned for an article that goes in depth about Mike, Jordan, and Allie went to 3M in Minnesota for Color Management training. In that article, it will go a little more in depth of color and printing custom colors.



A. VanHaren & J. Thienel




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update: November 2023


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