Principles of Contrast Contrast of Hue Value Contrast Intensity Contrast Complementary Contrast Size Contrast
Contrast Simply put, contrast is the difference between two colors. You usually want a high contrast between text and its background color. But too high contrast might give an unsettled and messy impression. Black and white create the highest contrast possible. Colors can contrast in hue, value and saturation, but there are many different types of contrasts that have been defined by color theorists throughout the years.
Contrast of Hue Contrast of hue is what relates most directly to the color wheel combinations described above. The further away from each other two colors are, the higher the contrast. This means that the complementary color combination has the highest contrast, while the analogous combination has the lowest. high contrast low contrast warm/cold contrast HIGH CONTRAST LOW CONTRAST WARM/COLD CONTRAST CONTRAST OF HUE
More on Complementary Colors Complementary colors are right across from each other on the color wheel. Complementary pairs all contain one primary and one secondary color. So, together each complementary pair has all three primary colors! That means complementary pairs contrast because they share no common colors. They are complete opposites! Artists use complements when they want you to notice something. When mixed together, complements make a neutral gray. You can make a color less bright and intense by blending in a small amount of its complement.
Contrast of Value high contrast low contrast HIGH CONTRAST LOW CONTRAST CONTRAST OF VALUE Contrast of value is very efficient in creating large contrasts. The biggest contrast of them all -- black and white -- can be said to be a contrast of value. In general, large differences in lightness are considered to be pleasant for the eye, but low contrasts of value can also be useful for more subtle differences -- for instance, in a background.
Value and Contrast The visibility, and hence the noticeability, of an item depends largely on how much contrast it makes with it's surroundings. Black and white are the extremes of value, the most different items can be from each other. When that extreme is used the contrast makes the item the most visible. When the contrast is lessened, the visibility is reduced so that minimum contrast produced minimum visibility MOST VISIBLE... LESS VISIBLE... LEAST VISIBLE
Contrast of Saturation Contrast of saturation is often best for design aspects that do not require a lot of emphasis. A set of colors with different saturations set against a gray background can be interpreted as transparency. This is something that can be used to interesting effect. high contrast low contrast HIGH CONTRAST LOW CONTRAST CONTRAST OF SATURATION
Cool Color Tricks Stare at the black dot in the yellow circles. Wait for the yellow circles to disappear (about 15 seconds). Then stare at the black dot on white. What do you see?
Did you see the yellow and white shapes flip- flop? You should see yellow where the white spaces used to be. You may even see faint violet circles. Your eye is seeing an after- image of the yellow circles!
Color Tricks… Each band of color seems to shift from light to dark. But each band is actually one solid color! Why? Colors seem to change when placed next to lighter or darker colors because of contrast. A color looks lighter when placed next to a dark color. The same color looks darker when placed next to a light color. See for yourself below!