Tertiary Colors: The Key to Adding Interest

Tertiary colors are in the middle of primary and secondary colors. They create a sense of serenity and elevate the elements of art and design.

Professionals use tertiary colors to add depth to sketches, graphics, or paintings. There are six primary tertiary colors available, each with a distinct effect.

What Are Tertiary Colors?

Tertiary Colors

Tertiary or intermediate colors are a blend of primary and secondary colors. To make a tertiary color, artists combine equal parts of one primary and one secondary color. The combination gives a tertiary color its intended luminosity, hue, and intensity.

Tertiary colors have either a warm or cool tone. Using a color wheel is one of the common ways to create a tertiary color. Besides graphic design, fashion and textile industries often use tertiary colors.

Tertiary colors are less intense than primary or secondary colors. They create a cohesive color palette and enhance the striking effect in graphic design. In textiles, tertiary colors help create different fabric patterns and hues.

Examples of Tertiary Colors and Their Effects

Common tertiary colors on the wheel are blue-green, blue-violet, red-violet, yellow-orange, red-orange, and yellow-green. Others include yellow-magenta, blue-magenta, yellow-brown, and red-brown.

  • Red-violet: The color is rich, warm, and associated with luxury, elegance, and mystery. It evokes feelings of sophistication and richness.
  • Blue-violet: It creates a feeling of elegance and luxury. It’s often used in interior design, advertising, and fashion.
  • Yellow-orange: Yellow-orange is a warm and cheerful color representing happiness and optimism. It’s also associated with the sun and warmth.
  • Red-orange: It’s a warm and energetic color that evokes energy, warmth, and enthusiasm. Red-orange is also associated with autumn and fall. The tertiary color creates a sense of drama and excitement.
  • Blue-green: A cool and soothing hue associated with the forest, nature, and the ocean. It brings the element of serenity and tranquility.
  • Yellow-green: Yellow-green is a refreshing tertiary color linked to health, growth, and renewal.

Tertiary colors create a more natural look when closer to their base color. Tertiary colors’ varied shades make them suitable for highlighting a primary or secondary color.

In interior design, tertiary colors help evoke a sense of warmth, comfort, and elegance. They’re more vivid and help create a dramatic, exciting tone in a room. They also create a sense of contrast in fashion.

Mixing Tertiary Colors

The amount of each color primary or secondary color affects the appearance of the tertiary color. Experimenting with different primary and secondary color ratios helps achieve the tertiary shade of your choice.

Tertiary Colors for Healing Therapy

Tertiary colors create a range of emotions and healing effects in color therapy. In holistic medicine, the colors form a radiating, healing energy that reduces stress and physical pain.

Red color therapy, for instance, creates a sense of relaxation, stimulation, and vitality. Tertiary colors using red as their primary connect the heart and throat chakras.

Those made of yellow and blue stimulate the mind. Softer combinations like blue-green provide a relaxing effect to the body. Some believe these colors cleanse the immune system, reduce inflammation, and relieve headaches.

Tertiary Colors in Art and Design

In art and design, tertiary colors add depth and contrast. They create a sense of harmony since they’re not as overpowering as primary or secondary colors. Artists mix various colors to see how they appear in different lighting or devices.

Some tertiary colors appear darker or lighter when viewed on a mobile device versus in person.

Designers use tertiary colors in their artistic works to create a balance and enhance the visual appeal. Tertiary colors provide an illusion of depth in a 2-dimensional space. While warm colors appear closer, cool colors such as blue-purple or blue-green recede.

In graphic design, tertiary colors create a sense of hierarchy and visual interest. Digital artists use them to draw attention to specific elements.

Tertiary Colors in Interior Design

Tertiary colors create mute and subtle hues that complement other colors in interior design. Interior designers may use these colors to create a dramatic but calming atmosphere. They help accessorize contemporary décor without having to use too many colors.

Consider the color scheme, saturation level, and temperature before choosing a tertiary color.