Colour with Confidence 02
27 / 05 / 20

using colour with confidence

Inspiration Team

Applying basic colour theory to create great colour combo’s

Vibrant reds, cool blues, summery yellows - creating a colour scheme for a room can seem like a daunting process, but applying a little bit of colour theory can take you far and let you take, what would have previously seemed bold decisions with confidence.

In this two part series we’ll look to take you through the background and principles behind the colour wheel and then we’ll take a look at how you can apply this to schemes for your interiors.

a brief history of colour theory

Colour theory is routed in the Colour Wheel. This graphical representation was first proposed by Sir Issac Newton in 1666 as a way to present the principle colours that light can be split into (think of the 7 colours of the rainbow)

Issac Newton Colour Wheel

Many theorists after him continued to develop this tool further, but of particular note was Johannes Itten, one of the first masters of the Bauhaus School, who is now widely considered to be the father of the modern day principles of colour theory.

It was Itten who constructed a colour wheel using 12 principle colours – The, now famous, 3 Primary Colours of red, blue and yellow, 3 Secondary Colours and 6 Tertiary Colours

Itten Colour Wheel

Besides giving rise to the terms ‘warm’ and ‘cool’ to describe colours, He also went on to propose the terms ‘Hue’, to describe these 12 colours, ‘Contrast’, to describe the effects when placing different Hues together and ‘Saturation’, to describe the intensity of the Hue when mixed with white or black.

the development of Itten’s colour wheel

Whilst today’s wheel is still based around 12 principles hue, it now also incorporates 3 rings to its structure that allow it to describe levels of saturation known as tints, tones and shades.

  • Tints are lighter versions of the Hue when blended with white
  • Tones are created when a Hue is mixed with grey
  • Shades are made by adding black to the Hue

Whilst there can be an infinite variance of Tint, Tone and Shade we use a 50% mix of the Hue and the associated white, grey or black on the wheel as a reminder of our options.

Colour Wheel

creating our own colours

During the initial development of the core set of Pantone colours that we offer our products in we worked directly with talented interior designers and architects skilled in the art of colour theory. It’s no surprise then that we offer you 12 Pantone colours to choose from and that each one represents a tinted, toned or shaded variant of the Principle Hues from Itten’s Colour Wheel.

In the second part to this series we will look at how to apply Itten’s science to your selection process and in doing so create your own sensational customized taps and showers and rooms to put them in.

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