Research shows that color is one of the most significant variables affecting customers’ choice of virtually all consumer goods, from the foods we eat to the clothes we wear to the medications we take. Colors are vital to guiding consumer choices — selecting the right combination of hues can be crucial to a product’s success.

As such, understanding how color theory works is essential to your ability to fully harness the potential of color. With appealing color harmonies, you can attract customers, enhance their experiences, and shape customer relationships with your product.

What Is Color Harmony?

Color harmony is the concept in color theory that uses geometric relationships to identify harmonious color combinations. These combinations are found on the color wheel, which places primary, secondary, and tertiary colors in rainbow order.

You can find color harmony by placing geometric shapes on the wheel. Choose your key color — the color in your design you cannot change or want to draw attention to — and locate the different color harmony types on the color wheel to identify the combinations most pleasing to the eye.

Once you have found harmonious colors, you can adjust their saturation, tone, tint, and shade. These factors make colors brighter, darker, or lighter, letting you achieve more hues beyond the standard 12 on the color wheel. Changing these aspects of your colors can give your color scheme the right look or mood for your project.

How Understanding Color Harmony Can Help Enhance Consumer Perception and Experience

Color goes beyond visual appeal — it can affect a person's perceptions and behaviors. Color psychology studies how colors affect human behavior, especially for branding. Your color choices will impact your customers' impression of your brand, including whether they purchase from you.

Colors enhance consumer perception and experience through:

  • Brand recognition: Your colors speak to your brand's personality, so choose colors that speak to the brand image you want to portray. Use the same colors across all your branded materials to make your brand recognizable.
  • Product differentiation: Colors help you stand out from your competitors or differentiate between product types.
  • Associations: Every color is associated with a mood or concept. Use these connections to your advantage to anchor your products to a specific feeling.

Examples of Color Harmony

Color harmony allows you to find visually pleasing combinations. The most common color harmonies include:


Direct harmony can be used to make a visual splash, but it’s important to make sure the effect isn’t too intense. For a softer look, choose split complementary colors. Image Source: Flickr user Linda Hartley

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Direct Harmony

Direct harmony, also known as complementary colors, means pairing your key color with the color sitting on the opposite side of the color wheel. Red and green, blue and yellow, and orange and green are the primary examples of direct harmony. Complementary color pairings contrast with one another for a vibrant look.

Although direct harmony can pack a visual punch, it should be used thoughtfully. Complementary colors can be harsh if overused, but when used correctly, these combinations stand out.

Split Complementary

A split complementary color scheme is a variation of direct harmony, but instead of selecting the color directly opposite of your key color, you select the colors adjacent to the complement. For example, green would be paired with magenta and burnt orange, while red would be paired with turquoise and lime green. This form of color harmony can be as interesting as direct harmony, but because it is slightly less bold, it is less likely to be jarring or overbearing.


Analagous harmony is often found in nature and is pleasing to the eye. Image Source: Flickr user Linda Hartley

Analogous Harmony

Analogous harmony works by combining your key color with colors that sit adjacent to it on the color wheel. Because these colors are closely related, this color scheme is also known as related colors. In contrast to direct harmony, analogous color harmony produces a calming and comfortable look, and most viewers find it pleasing to the eye. Part of the reason we like analogous harmony may be that we are used to seeing it in natural environments, which we associate with serenity.


Triadic harmony is a favorite amongst designers and viewers alike. Image Source: Flickr user Linda Hartley

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Triadic Harmony

Triadic harmony, also known as triads, pairs your key color with the hue two spaces on each side of your color’s complement. In other words, this color scheme draws on colors that are evenly spaced throughout the wheel. Triads can be a highly vibrant and visually appealing strategy and work well with less saturated versions of your colors. To make the most of triadic harmony, choose one hue as the dominant color and use the other two colors for accents.

The Role of Spectrophotometers in Color Harmony

Monitoring colors with a spectrophotometer ensures your hues remain consistent throughout the manufacturing process. This equipment uses sophisticated optical geometries to take accurate and precise color measurements to support quality control efforts.

The spectrophotometers at HunterLab ensure your selected colors are reproduced every time. Our equipment captures detailed and reliable color information from your products to ensure consistency.

Enhance Consumer Perception and Experience With Solutions From HunterLab

HunterLab has the color measurement solutions you need for your application. We are the industry leader in spectrophotometers to obtain consistent and accurate color measurement results. Contact us today for more information about our spectrophotometers.