Encyclopedia of Color Science and Technology

Living Edition
| Editors: Ronnier Luo

Complementary Colors

  • Paul Green-Armytage
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-642-27851-8_264-1



Complementary colors are colors that “complete” each other. This completion can be understood in terms of some physical relationship or in terms of how the colors are related in their appearance. There are different ways of establishing these relationships, two being widely accepted: By one definition, two paints, inks, or colored lights are complementary if their mixture can yield a neutral black, gray, or white. This is a physical relationship that can be demonstrated. By another definition, two colors are complementary if the afterimage of one color has the same hue as the other color. This is a phenomenal relationship that can also be demonstrated. It is also common simply to claim that colors opposite to each other on a color circle are complementary, without further explanation or justification. Complementary relationships can be helpful when mixing paints to produce particular results. Complementary relationships also...


Color Circle Complementary Color Color Combination Complementary Relationship Color Pair 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Design and ArtCurtin University of TechnologyPerthAustralia