Color Matching 101: Finding Complementary Shades

As previously discussed in this blog, colors can play a significant role with branding and how people will remember and perceive a business. They provide visual cues that can influence the purchasing behavior of people.

Evidently, color choice is crucial for your business. However, selecting a color for your brand is not just about picking one shade and utilizing it for all your marketing efforts. Choosing colors also involve creating palettes comprised of complementary shades that will highlight not just your branding materials, but also other crucial business elements such as your office spaces, uniforms, and other textile used in operations.

Aside from making your brand visually stunning, finding the right color combination is crucial because it can create a lasting impact among people, which will foster business growth overall.


How to Find the Right Color Combination

While color choice can be subjective, you can’t just pick two or three shades out of sheer preference or just because they’re your favorites. There’s a proper way of creating color combinations, so that each hue will complement and highlight each other.

Here are essential steps to help you cultivate a skill and develop an eye for matching colors.


  1. Understand the color wheel.

The color wheel, sometimes referred to as the color circle, is a diagram that illustrates the relationships between primary colors and secondary colors. It also serves as a guide that can help you determine which colors will look good together and those that will clash.

The first color wheel came about in 1706 and was arranged by Sir Isaac Newton. He positioned colors yellow, red, blue, indigo, orange, green, and violet on a rotating disc. When it began spinning fast, the colors seemed to mesh together, turned into a blur, and eventually appeared white.

Throughout the years, different variations of the color wheel evolved and presented in different ways such as in charts or tables.

color paletteThe colors on the wheel are placed strategically in order for people to determine which colors will work well together.

  • Primary Colors – red, blue, and yellow
  • Secondary Colors – These are combinations of two primary colors. They are green, orange, and purple.
  • Tertiary colors – These are combinations of primary and secondary colors. They include hues like yellow-orange, red-orange, red-purple, blue-purple, blue-green, and yellow-green.


  1. Determine which colors will work well together.

Using the color wheel, you can determine which shades will complement each other, and which ones will clash. As a general rule, these are the colors that can create a beautiful palette when mixed together:

  • Primary Colors – Red, blue, and yellow will always work well together. However, if they seem to bold or flamboyant, opt to combine just two. Color palettes comprised of primary colors are typically vibrant and will work well for businesses that are geared towards children, sports, etc.
  • Complementary Colors – Complementary colors are shades opposite the color wheel. When combined together in a palette, these shades will help each other stand out and create a cohesive look. Popular combinations that include complementary colors are blue and orange, green and pink, and purple and yellow.


  1. Go monochromatic.

Color combinations are not always made up of two different colors. Sometimes, they are comprised of the different shades of one particular color. Going for a monochromatic theme can create harmony and a beautiful aesthetic that looks clean and crisp.


  1. Know the difference between warm and cool colors.

The color wheel has two sides and these are comprised of the warm and cool colors. Yellow, orange, and red comprise the warm tones. While blue, green, and purple make up the warm hues.

If you want your color matches to be coherent with each other, yet you don’t want to go too monochromatic, go for either warm or cool colors. For instance, if you’re decorating an office space, you can paint the walls cream and add furniture and decorations in orange, yellow, or red to have a warm look. Meanwhile, if you want a room to look cool, you can paint the walls white and accentuate the space with items in blue or green.

While there’s no rule that says that you can’t mix warm shades with cool colors, it still needs to be done with caution. Combining shades from both categories may be over the top or may turn some people off.


  1. Look into using neutral colors.

Neutral colors are muted shades of different colors and they typically go well with most shades. White and black are also included in this category. Neutrals can help highlight the colors or allow some shades pop in your palette, resulting in a better aesthetic.


Tips for Finding the Right Color Match

Color choice for businesses is crucial, because it’s more than just an artistic call, it’s a major decision that influences your brand identity. The first thing to do is determine who you are as a company and find colors that represent those qualities. But when you’re translating those colors into materials like uniforms, furniture, textile, and other essential elements used in your operations, you need to be effective at color matching. Here are some tips to help you.

  • Go for preset palettes. They are usually available in paint and dye shops. These are already conceptualized and rest assured that these colors will work in harmony with each other. They are usually crafted by professionals, so you can be sure of their accuracy.

Meanwhile, if none of the color combinations seem appealing to you or there’s a particular shade or tint you’re looking for, you can talk with the manufacturer and see if they can help you with that.

It’s also important to note that you don’t have to get every color in the palette if there’s a shade  you’re not keen on. If there’s a tint you don’t like, you can simply ask for it to be taken off.    Meanwhile, if there’s a particular color you’re looking for, see if the manufacturer can have it customized for you.

  • Limit color palettes to three shades. Too many tints in one palette can come off too cluttered and can have a negative impact on your branding.
  • Work with professionals. If you want to be sure that you’re choosing the right color palette, ask help from the experts like paint or dye manufacturers. If you’re considering re-dyeing your materials like linens, mats, and sheets, KeyColour can help you. We will assist you in finding the best color matches to use on the different types of textile and fabrics used in your business.

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