Ariel Bennick: Color Property and Harmony

Color properties and harmonies seem to go hand in hand. Color properties are the more basic less subjective way of viewing color, and color harmonies seem to be more dependent on the mood/purpose that is desired in a composition.


-Hue, saturation, value, wavelength, purity, and luminance are important tools for identifying and using color.

-RGB are the additive colors that our eye receptors process and are best for digital purposes. They also are the best for creating different color combinations due to the fact that when mixing, any color on the visible spectrum can be achieved.

-CMY (Transparent) and RYB (Artist’s Primaries, Opaque) are subtractive and create duller colors than additive colors, when mixing.

-Interesting fact: It is impossible for us to process “greenish-red,” “lightish-dark,” and “bluish-yellow.”

-Both digital color creations and physical painted color creations have their pros and cons. When painting you can create lighter colors simply by adding white, but you have a more broad spectrum of colors to work with in the digital world and can make use of CMYK colors more readily.


When trying to create a composition that employs harmony with color, one has to really think about how colors react with one another. This is where all the skills learned from basic color properties become important. Changing the hue, value, and saturation can either hurt or help your compositions when colors are set next to one another. For example, if you have a vibrant red composition with green dots covering it, that might be a headache to look at, but if you put a green with a darker value and use red as an accent, the effect would be more pleasant.

Relationships between color such as analogous, complimentary, triadic, and monochromatic are important to keep in mind when trying to create a specific mood or feeling.

Color Harmony is extremely important to achieve as a designer, because you want to make compositions that communicate the feeling the client desires, or the the mood you are trying to express for your own personal work. It’s all about communication and color is one way you can uniquely and effectively affect how people view your work.