How do you decide on what paint colors to use in designing your space? Some people consider the hue and value while others put attention to the tone and tint. Whatever the decision-making process might be, it is critical to understand why colors matter and how we can become more distinctive with our color choices in educational spaces.
Smashing Magazine's Cameron Chapman (2010) breaks down our decision-making process for choosing the perfect palette:
Monochromatic: Monochromatic color schemes are made up of different tones, shades and tints within a specific hue. These are the simplest color schemes to create, as they’re all taken from the same hue, making it harder to create a jarring or ugly scheme (though both are still possible).Monochromatic schemes are easy to create, but can also be boring when done poorly. Adding in a strong neutral like white or black can help keep things interesting.
Analogous: Analogous color schemes are the next easiest to create. Analogous schemes are created by using three colors that are next to each other on the 12-spoke color wheel. Traditionally, analogous color schemes all have the same chroma level, but by using tones, shades, and tints we can add interest to these schemes and adapt them to our needs for designing websites
Complementary: Complementary schemes are created by combining colors from opposite sides of the color wheel. In their most basic form, these schemes consist of only two colors, but can easily be expanded using tones, tints, and shades.A word of warning, though: using colors that are exact opposites with the same chroma and/or value right next to each other can be visually jarring (they’ll appear to actually vibrate along their border in the most severe uses). This is best avoided (either by leaving negative space or by adding another, transitional color between them).
Split Complementary: Split complementary schemes add more complexity than regular complementary schemes. In this scheme, instead of using colors that are opposites, you use colors on either side of the hue opposite your base hue.
Triadic: Triadic schemes are made up of hues equally spaced around the 12-spoke color wheel. This is one of the more diverse color schemes. They can be difficult to do well, but add a lot of visual interest to a design when they are.
Custom: Custom color schemes are the hardest to create. Instead of following the predefined color schemes discussed above, a custom scheme isn’t based on any formal rules. Keep in mind things like chroma, value, and saturation when creating these kinds of color schemes.
Cameron also discussed the various ways that colors can determine the visual impact of the observer and the space. She acknowledged the diverse perceptions of color and recognized the validity of using color to create intentional moods and purpose. This leads us to the importance using the custom palette when designing. Customizing colors can bridge the worlds of psychology and interior design to make the greatest impact on student learning.
What is your custom palette? Class Me Up's first custom palette is called "The Golden Ruler." This palette includes grays, blues, golds, and whites. Stay tuned for how our first palette can help modernize a teacher's space and workflow.