Types of Color, Chemistry tutorial


The science of colour is sometimes termed chromatics. It comprises the perception of colour through the human eye and brain, the origin of colour in substances,  colour  theory  in  art,  and   the  physics  of  electromagnetic radiation in the observable range (that is, what we usually refer to merely as  light). The recognizable colours of the rainbow in the spectrum - named using the Latin word for appearance or apparition via Isaac Newton in the year 1671 - contain all those colours that can be generated through visible light of a single wavelength only, the pure spectral or monochromatic colours.

Types of Colours

There are essentially 3 kinds, namely primary, secondary and tertiary colours

Primary colour

Contrary to popular belief, there are in fact 2 techniques of producing colours. They are the Additive and Subtractive Colour. To generate all the colours of the rainbow, both procedures utilize primary colours that are colours that can't be generated via mixing other colours.

Additive primary colours

Additive colours are colours that are connected through emitted light openly from a source before an object reflects the light. Such colours are red, green and blue. Such are the colours we are probably most familiar through that are connected via television, and computer displays.

If all 3 of the additive colours were joined mutually in the form of light, they would generate white. Several instances where additive primary colours are used include television, theatrical lighting and computer monitors. The additive colour theory was 1st described by James Clark Maxwell in the mid 1800s. When equal amounts of red, green and blue light are combined, they produce white light. By adding the colours mutually to generate white, we call such additive colours. Red, green and blue are the 'primary' colours of white light. This is termed colour via addition and is a straight way to prove that all of such 3 colours do indeed come from white light.

Subtractive primary colours

Subtractive colours are colours that are connected through reflected light. In this case the subtractive colours are blue, red and yellow. Such are the colours we are probably most recognizable by as primary colours in school. Such colours are associated by the subtraction of light and utilized in pigments for making paints, inks, coloured fabrics, and common coloured coatings that we see and utilize every day. If all 3 of the subtractive primary colours are combined mutually, they will generate black. By adding the colours together to generate black, we call such subtractive colours.

The subtractive primary colours utilized in the printing procedure are cyan, magenta and yellow.  Black is as well utilized. All printing processes employ subtractive colours in the form of cyan (blue), magenta (red), yellow, and sometimes black. This is recognized as CMYK for short (cyan, magenta, yellow, black) the K stands for black in the printing process. Such colours: cyan, magenta and yellow are a set of subtractive primaries and are generally utilized via printers. They are generally termed to as the 'printing primaries'. It is hard to attain a good black from just these colour pigments so printers sometimes as well utilize black. The reason that printers use this set of primaries as resisted to the painting primaries of blue, red and yellow, is that they give way far better consequences. If we are using such colours for painting though, we will find that mixing them is far less intuitive than when mixing the painting primaries.

Several instances where subtractive primary colours are utilized: textiles, clothes, furnishings, printing, paints and coloured coatings.

Secondary colours

If 2 of the primary colours are combined mutually, a secondary colour is created. As more colours are mixed, the selection of colours produces. The subsequent colours can be generated:

Violet/Purple - mixing of Blue and Red

Orange - mixing of Red and Yellow

Green - mixing of Blue and yellow

Black - mixing of Blue, Red and Yellow

These colours that are created from mixing the primary colours are called secondary colours.

Additive secondary colours

Secondary additive colours are produced by mixing 2 additive primary colours mutually. The additive primary colours are red, green and blue. When such additive colours are blended, they produce 3 secondary colours. Such are: cyan, magenta and yellow.

Subtractive secondary colours

Secondary subtractive colours are generated via mixing 2 subtractive primary colours mutually. The additive primary colours are red, green and blue. When such subtractive colours are blended, they generate 3 secondary colours. Such are: Violet/purple, Orange and green.

Tertiary colours

Tertiary colours are combinations of primary and secondary colours. There are 6 tertiary colours; red-orange, yellow-orange, yellow-green, blue-green, blue-violet, and red-violet. An easy way to remember such names  is  to  place  the  primary  name  before  the  other  colour.  For example, the tertiary colour generated when mixing the primary colour blue through the secondary colour green, is called 'blue-green'

Colours in the Home

There are many variations of the essential colours. The paler versions that are sometimes more suitable for covering the walls within our homes, provide us the similar qualities as the bold colour but in a gentler way. When decorating an area - the complementary colours, and their variations, should be memorized and joined through our main choice of colour via way of soft furnishings, pictures and so on.

It is as well asset full to obtain in to account the aspect of a room. For instance, should we require a calming atmosphere in a north facing room that might well be one of the colder rooms in  our house, remember to use some  warm  colours  (for example variations of  the  warm  colours  of  yellow, orange and red) to avoid the room feeling colder.

Using Colours in the Home

When using colour in the home environment, we all have our own personal choices. A Particular colour choice can assist towards providing a precise "feeling" for a space. Below are several suggested utilizes of colour in the home, workplace and diverse environments, and the consequences such colours can generate.

Table: Colours, Features and Uses



Suggested Area of Use


Calming  for  body  and


Good for  meditation

and prayer.

Enhances purpose  and


Heightens our

awareness and helps us

to give our very best.


Places of worship

Entry areas to clinics and


Festival areas

Pale violet in bedrooms.



Helps to  open  up  our


The colour of divine

knowledge   and  the

higher mind.

Not suitable for  areas  for

entertainment but for more

'quiet' places


Treatment rooms

Some people find indigo is

helpful for studying so this

colour   could   be   used  as

part of the decor of a

library or study.


Calming,  relaxing  and


Not as sedating as

indigo. Also the colour

of communication.

Any  rooms  except  those

used   for  physical  activity

or play.


Balancing, harmonising

and encourages

tolerance  and


Depending upon the shade,

can be used for most areas

Useful    for  any rooms

except  those  used  for

physical activity or play. It

can   be   used   with    other

colours/colour  as  well  to

avoid  the  balance and

harmony  becoming  more

like total inactivity and



Stimulates mental


Promotes feeling of


Helpful for study as  it

helps us to stay alert.

Activity rooms

Entrance halls

Not for bedrooms as

yellow  can  interfere  with

sleep since it tends to keep

our minds "switched on"

Not ideal for areas of

possible stress.


Warming and


Can stimulate creativity

Orange is the colour of

fun and sociability.

Any activity area and

creative areas Not ideal for bedrooms or

areas of possible stress.


Energizing, exciting the


Stimulates appetite.

Any  activity area  but  red

needs  careful   choice  of

tone   and   depth  and  the

space in which  it  is  to  be

used as it can make a space

look smaller and can be

claustrophobic   or

oppressive. Though, used

well,  red and its variations

can make a space feel

warm and cosy. Often used

in restaurants.


Magenta  is  the  eighth

colour in    the colour

spectrum and   is a

combination  of  red  and

violet,  it  combines  our

earthly  self  and  spiritual

self, thus balancing spirit

and matter.

It is uplifting and helps

us  to  gain  a  feeling  of

completeness and


Lecture spaces

Chapels halls etc

Not ideal for play rooms or

activity rooms


White  contains  all  the

colours.  It  emphasises

purity   and  illuminates

our thoughts,  giving us


Any room, but it can be a

little  intimidating to some.

Needs to be broken up with

another  colour or with




Black used with another

colour enhances the

energy  of  that  second


Black gives us the

space for reflection  and

inner searching.

Not ideal  as a single

colour, but when used with

care,can enhance  and

complement  other  colours

in almost any situation.


This colour soothes and nurtures

It helps to dissolve

anger and  encourages

unconditional love.

Ideal for a baby's or child's bedroom.


Cool and  calming  and

good   for  the  nervous

system and immune


Any room except it is not

ideal for activity areas.

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