Introduction to Color Theory Basics
Color theory basics center on the color wheel. Most likely, you have traditionally been taught that the three primary colors are red, white, and blue. Mixing these colors in different combinations produces new colors. In graphic design, colors take on new properties.
First, when talking about graphic design, rather than talk about color theory the way an artist might (there are three colors from which all other colors come), colors are discussed as they belong to the light spectrum. The historical development of color theory has changed with the advent of physics. There are seven colors in the light spectrum. These are:
When we see color, what we see is the color that is being reflected back to us. For instance, when you see the color red, what you are really seeing is the reflection of red and the absorption of the other colors in the spectrum. When all the colors are reflected, what you see is white light. When none of the colors are reflected, what you see is black.
When talking about color theory, it's important to understand that there are a few different systems that describe what happens - and color will behave according to different properties depending on whether you are looking at CMYK color theory or RGB color theory - RGB colors send color data to your eye from a device, while CMYK colors are used in printing.