NHS Designs

Graphic Design Color Theory


  1. Download the color theory worksheet (right-click, save link as).
  2. Save the file in your home folder.
  3. Rename the file lastnamefirstinitial_color-theory-worksheet.doc.
  4. Complete the worksheet in MS Word, using the pages in this Web site section;
    1. Introduction (below)
    2. Color Wheel
    3. Color Combinations
    4. Tints, Shades & Neutrals
    5. Emotional Content
  5. Save your file and close it.
  6. Copy the file in your home folder and paste it into the Inbox.


There are millions of colors at the designer's disposal (16.8 million in modern personal computers.) There are almost infinite ways of combining them.

Color can be said to differ in three significant ways: hue, value and saturation.


Hue is what distinguishes one color from another. In effect it is the generic name for the color - red, say, as opposed to blue.









Value, otherwise known as tone, is the relative lightness or darkness of a color. A color with added white is called a tint and a color with added black is called a shade.

Blue from a light to a dark value:








Saturation, also known as chroma, is roughly equivalent to brightness. Two colors can be of the same hue but be of differing intensities.

Blue from pure saturation to very low saturation (near-gray):






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