DRAFT: This module has unpublished changes.

Contrast of Hue/Contrast of Extension


Contrast: A distinct difference between two or more things. 


Polar Contrast: Contrast of a maximum degree. 


Color theorist Johannes Itten discussed 7 kinds of color contrasts that are all very different from one another. When studying the characteristics of color, these 7 contrasts provide a resource for color design. 


The seven kinds of color contrast are: 

1. Contrast of Hue

2. Light/Dark Contrast

3. Cool/Warm Contrast

4. Complementary Contrast

5. Simultaneous Contrast

6. Contrast of Saturation

7. Contrast of Extension


Contrast of Hue: The use of 3 or more unrelated hues. A color scheme based upon hue contrast is the opposite of analogous colors. Analogous colors are in close proximity to one another on the color wheel. They are characterized by their family relationship. If you placed an equilateral triangle in the middle of a 12 step color wheel the colors at the tips of the triangle would demonstrate contrast of hue. This sort of color scheme is known as a triad. 


The primary colors, red/yellow/blue, provide the strongest example of contrast of hue. 


Some other combinations are: red/blue/green; blue/yellow/violet;violet/green/blue/orange


The above colors are either primary or secondary colors. These provide the stronger contrast of hue. Intermediate colors are more diluted and thus provide a weaker contrast of hue. 


Contrast of Extension: A contrast in proportion using two or more colors. It is the contrast between much and little or great and small. 


According to Itten, colors may be assembled in areas of any size, but we should ask what quantitative proportion between the colors may be said to be in balance, with no one of the colors used more prominently than another. 


Two factors determine the force of a pure color, the brilliance and how much it is used. 


The lighter a pure color, the more force or brilliance it has. Numbers have been assigned to show the light values of colors by philosopher/theorist Goethe. 


Yellow:9 Orange:8 Red:6 Violet:3 Blue:4 Green:6


Harmonious areas for complementary colors are: 

Yellow: Violet = 1/4:3/4

Orange: Blue = 1/3:2/3

Red: Green = 1/2:1/2


Harmonic areas yeild static, quiet effects. If other than harmonious proportions are used, thus allowing one color to dominate, the effect obtained is expressive. 


Contrast of Extention Exercise: 


The ratios work only when the colors used are pure. If the purity changes, the impact on the equilibrium changes. 


Use only primary and secondary colors in pure form. 


(1) Do a composition where the color proportions are harmonious and stable. 


(2) Do a composition where contrast of extension creates an expressive, lively effect. 


Use the templates provided to establish your compostion. 

DRAFT: This module has unpublished changes.