The two primary colour systems (methods by which colour is produced) are:


Colour theory: RGB

Red, Green and Blue (RGB) -Primary colours. The three colours combine to make white, black is the absence of colour. Additive colour used on screen/web.


Colour theory: CMYK

Cyan, Magenta and Yellow -Secondary colours. The three colours combine to make black, hence CMYK, white is the absence of colour. Subtractive colour is used in print and design.

There are 3 components to colour: hue, brilliance and saturation.

Hue-primary the name and properties of a colour. Red, green etc. the base colour.

Saturation-level of how saturated a colour is, usually in percentage. So 100% is the pure colour descending.

Brilliance-how bright a colour is between light and dark. Black being 0%.

There are also 3 different colours types: primary , secondary and tertiary colours

Primary colours are  the additive colours R G B.

A secondary colour is produced by mixing two  additive colours together

A tertiary colour is the product of mixing  a primary  with a secondary colour.


In the colour wheel, opposite colours are complimentary to each other. For example purple and burnt orange go together, we know this by picking a colour and drawing a line to the opposite complimentary colour.


When using  colour in web design a hex value is used.

The Hex Value is a  six digit reference number, representing the value of a colour digitally, an online code.

For example, black is represented by #000000 and white by #ffffff. The other colours incorporate elements of these two colours depending how light or dark it is, and this is demonstrated in their individual hex numbers.


Hex values are used for screen design and web design whereas in print design the value is done by the percentage out of 100, for example black is 100%, grey is 80% and 20% white.


Colours also have personality and emotions. We associate certain colours with certain feelings, objects and memories. Altering colours enables us to create and change moods.




In journalism we can use colour personality to influence our readers by considering the emotions associated with colours.

Colours can evoke emotions both consciously and unconsciously.

The principles of contrast and balance can also be used to  advantage. For example  using contrasting colours in  articles can provoke different visual responses.

In order to enhance the reader’s experience it is important to establish conventions and use colour consistency. We use colour to enhance aesthetic appeal and user satisfaction

We can also use colour for identification, grouping and emphasis.

It is also important to note that colours have different cultural meanings. In Journalism it is important to think about your captive audience when considering colour choice.


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