Color Matching

Matching Black & White
While we call black and white colors in their own right, they are actually not. Technically speaking, white is the complete absence of color combined with a maximum of lightness. Black, on the other hand, is a combination of all colors with a maximum level of darkness. Both white and black can be combined with any color (even themselves) and work well. These "colors" are considered exceptions to the rules of color matching.

Matching Reds
When matching reds with other colors it is easier to work with darker red shades, such as brick red. Since red has violet and orange as analogous colors, shades of these colors often work well, especially when the colors are kept away from opposing levels of light or dark.

The compliment to red is green, and can make for a reasonable color match so long as you keep the colors muted. Otherwise you create an ugly clash as the colors make one another stand out far too much, or in unpleasant ways.

Be especially cautious in attempting to match red with blues and yellows.

Matching Blues
Matching blues is also better accomplished when you work with darker or more muted shades as opposed to bright shades. Green and violet are the analogous colors for blue and when paired in lighter shades with darker blues create nice matches.

Orange is the complimentary color for blue and when paired with blue will create an intensifying effect in the color, causing it to stand out.

Be especially cautious in attempting to match blue with shades of red and yellow.

Matching Yellows
You should always bear in mind that yellow is always difficult to match because of the tendency of yellows to be bright. It is therefore necessary to make sure to use muted shades of yellow or else stick to pastel shades of yellow. The analogous colors to yellow are green and orange, and should also be muted or soft shades for best effect. Avoid going for dark shades of the analogous color to prevent making the yellow appear even brighter than it is already.

The compliment to yellow is violet, and must be treated with special care because of the intensifying effect of the complimentary color match. In the case of yellow-violet matches, try to keep one color restricted to the status of accent color to prevent either color from being overpowering.

Be especially cautious in attempting to match yellow with red and blue shades.

Matching Greens
As mentioned with other colors, the key to matching green with other colors is selecting the proper shade of green. If you use a shade of green found in nature nearly any color will work with it. The analogous colors of blue and yellow look good paired with green, especially when the colors are paired according to levels of lightness and dark.

The compliment to green is red, and this color also works well, provided the colors remain within the natural spectrum. However, when you attempt to match overly bright or intense shades of these two colors, an unpleasant clash will occur.

The same caution should be used when attempting to match green with violets and oranges.

Matching Violets
Matching violet works along the same lines as matching blue. In other words, you should use darker or more muted shades of violet. The blue and red shades analogous to violet work best when kept at or near the same levels of light and dark, especially when violet is the "darkest" color being used.

Yellow, as a complimentary color to violet, can work when you can keep the yellow shade pale or muted to prevent an unfortunate clash.

Be especially careful when pairing violet with green and orange.

Matching Oranges
Orange is another hazardous color for matching because of its tendency to be bright and somewhat garish. Keeping the shade of orange muted will help. Match orange with pale or muted shades of it analogous colors, red and yellow.

The compliment to orange is blue, and must always be kept subdued to prevent clashing colors.

Be especially cautious in attempting to match orange with green and violet.

Combining Patterns
The basic rules for combining colors and multicolor patterns are simple. The only thing to remember is when you have a pattern containing multiple colors you should only try to match one color in the pattern. If the pattern contains red, yellow and orange, then select one of those colors and match it with a shade of the same color. Sometimes, the multicolored pattern will have a color more strongly represented, and in that case, the strongest color in the pattern should be the one used to matching.

You should never use multiple patterns together. There are current schools of thought regarding fashion that say it's okay to combine different types of stripe, or plaids with stripes or patterns. However, I, personally, have never seen an example of this that was appealing. The problem becomes especially significant when you deal with persons who aren't model thin.


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