The theory of colours

The theory of colours comprises aesthetic or scientific  theories about the function and effect of colours on humans, nature in general and animals. It is a theory about colours and not about colour agents (pigments, colouring substances). In the literary world there are no uniform, homogenous colour theories but a variety of colour hypotheses.

In what colour world do you live? Do you prefer harmony? Contrast? Or tone-in-tone? Whatever you like, you will find what you need in the paint spray range.

The colours used appear differently on each screen and, for technical reasons, are not binding as far as the colour tone is concerned.

Light-dark contrast

This refers to the use of the various levels of brightness and tones of the colours. All colours can be lightened using white or darkened with black. The light-dark contrast prevails not only among the achromatic colours black, white and grey, but also among the chromatic colours. The same level of brightness makes colours related whilst strong light-dark contrasts creates plasticity as light colours come to the fore whilst dark colours move into the background.

Cold-warm contrast

The cold-warm contrast defines the different ways people react to colours: Orange-red is seen as the most warm, blue-green the coldest colour. Tests have shown that blue rooms are perceived as ‘cold’, whilst orange-red rooms are considered to be pleasantly ‘warm’ even when they have the same room temperature. The colours on the left half of the colour circle, i.e. from blue-violet to yellow-green, are generally perceived as cold whilst those on the right side, i.e. yellow to red-violet as warm. In landscape painting, the cold-warm contrast is used to give pictures a spatial element as the colours furthest away move toward blue, i.e. become cold.

Colour-in-itself contrast

The colour-in-itself contrast is the simplest of all colour contrasts. It occurs almost automatically as soon as colours are used and defines the contrast between the colours. A stronger colour-in-itself contrast (i.e. two strong colours directly next to each other) is usually colourful, loud, strong and decisive. When the brightness is reduced and mixed with other colours, the colour-in-itself contrast becomes weaker. The colour-in-itself contrast is at its strongest when the pure colours yellow, red, blue are used together.

Quality contrast

The quality contrast occurs between saturated, bright colours and dull broken colours, i.e. differences in the colour quality. The radiation and illuminating effect of the colours can be changed by adding white, black, grey or mixing the complementary colours. The quality contrast can be affected by neighbouring colours, for example veiled colour tones still appear bright and intensive next to a neutral grey.

Quantity contrast

Contrary to the quality contrast, the quantity contrast is based on the differently sized coloured areas. If these have certain proportions, the visual effect of the colours is equally intensive and is therefore deemed harmonious. For example, one part orange corresponds to two parts blue. One part yellow corresponds to three parts violet.   Red and green on the other hand need the same surface area.

Complementary contrast

The complementary contrast describes the effect of two colours that have the greatest difference to each other as colours.  The complementary colours lie diametrically opposite each other on the colour circle. The fact that they are so different means that they mutually enhance each other. When placed directly next to each other, complementary colour achieve excellent illumination levels and colour effects in which each colour develops its full effect.

Simultaneous contrast

Its effect is based on the complementary law which states that every pure colour physiologically demands a  counter colour. If this colour is missing, the human sense of vision simultaneously creates the complementary colour. An intensive green makes an adjacent neutral grey appear red whilst a saturated red makes the same grey appear green. For any given colour, the human perception simultaneously forms the complementary colour and causes a change to the adjacent colour areas.