Whether you want to mix patterns for a single layout, or as a kit that will coordinate an entire scrapbook album, there are things you should understand about color…
Three Important Things to Understand About Color
A single hue can have many different versions. There are three things that decide how a single hue, such yellow, will actually look. Knowing what these are can help you better understand how to mix and use color.
1. Tonality (tone) – Tone refers to how light or dark a color is. Color is made lighter with white and darker with black. The paper on the far left with the lines of triangles shows a variety of tonalities of the same colors (turquoise, green, and yellow):
See the different versions of yellow? They are the same yellow except in terms of their tone, which changes from light to dark. Same with the turquoise and green.
It’s easy to mix a variety of tones of the same color in your kits without running into any matching difficulties. In fact, variation in tonality is a really good idea, so go ahead and mix lights and darks of the same color.
2) Temperature – The temperature of a color depends on how warm or cool it is, which depends on how much yellow or blue has been blended into it. The pink and mustard stripe on the left in this picture below is very warm. The paper with the spokes on the right is cooler (though not totally cold because it has both warms and cools).
We typically say the warm colors are red, orange, and yellow, and the cool colors are green, blue, and purple, but that is not entirely correct. You can actually get warmer and cooler versions of every color. It is okay to have some cools and some warms together in a single kit, but it’s a little trickier than mixing a variety of tones.
3) Vibrancy – Vibrancy has to do with how bright or muted a color is. It is very hard to mix vibrancy within a color grouping and get it right, so if you are newer at color, it’s easier to stick with colors of the same vibrancy.
The spokes in the paper above are very vibrant, but the blue background is muted. They work well together because their temperatures are similar. The muted blue works well with that tiny bit of eggplant just to the left of it because they have a similar vibrancy and their temperature is not too different. Their tones are very different from each other — remember, it’s good to have a variety of tones.
But the paper with the spokes and the paper with the pink and mustard stripes are horrible together. They have very little in common — their vibrancy is opposite, their temperatures are different. There just aren’t enough similarities to unite them.
It is possible to have both muted and bright colors within a group (as you can see that it works in the paper with the vibrant spokes but muted background color), and the sooner you master temperature, the sooner you’ll be able to mix vibrancy well.
Most Common Color Problems
When scrapbookers come to me with color challenges on their layouts, the most common problem I see is vibrancy mixes that don’t work. The second most common problem is that the colors are not balanced across the page.
You learn it by seeing it.
- Would you like to see me take a big mix of papers from different designers and different years and put them together into a beautiful and exciting kit?
- Want to see examples of papers that work well together and papers that don’t?
- Do you want tips for making the process easier?
- Would it help you to see me create a style-vibe for a kit?
Today we released a new video that takes you through my process of making a coordinated kit for an entire album. You’ll not only see these color principles at work, but you’ll also see the inspiration behind achieving a specific style with variety. You’ll see pattern-mixing, choosing or eliminating papers, and you’ll see me assemble a layout from the new kit.
This video is for Paperclipping Members and is available the Member’s Area.