5 Create color palettes
From your base color, you can now create an exciting range of coordinated color palettes. Values can mix. For example, medium blue works with light teal and dark violet.
First are the dark, medium, and light values of the base color. This is a monochromatic palette. It has no color depth, but it provides the contrast of dark, medium, and light that’s so important to good design.
One color step to either side of the base color are its analogous colors. Analogous colors share undertones (here, blue-green, blue, and blue-violet), which create beautiful, low-contrast harmony. Analogous palettes are rich and always easy to work with.
Directly opposite the base color is its complement—in this case, the orange range. What the complement brings is contrast. A color and its complement convey energy, vigor, and excitement. Typically, the complement is used in a smaller amount as an accent; a spot of orange on a blue field, as shown above.
This mixed palette is the same as the split complement but with more color. Its added range yields soft, rich harmony on the warm side and sharp, icy contrast on the cold side, an intense and exciting combination.
One step either way on the wheel are the complement’s own analogous colors. This palette is called a split complement. Its strength is in the low-contrast beauty of analogous colors, plus the added punctuation of an opposite color. In this case, the blue would most likely be used as the accent.
Colors analogous to our base color make cool harmony punctuated by a hot spot of complementary color. Keep in mind that opposites of the same value tend to fight but complement when different (below). This is why you want to eyedropper dark, medium, and light values of each color.