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Triadic and Tetradic Colors

Triadic and tetradic color schemes offer a vibrant and sophisticated palette. Whether you are working in print design, web design or interior decoration, triadic and tetradic color schemes are two types of palettes you should be familiar with. They are easier to apply than they sound and when used effectively, they are guaranteed to convey your message. So what is a triadic color scheme? What is the definition of tetradic colors? And what are the tips for applying these two color schemes?

What Are Triadic Colors?

Triadic colors are three colors which are equally spaced within the same color wheel. A triadic color scheme will always have three colors. Technically speaking, such a scheme would consist of one base color and two other colors that are 120 degrees and 240 degrees distanced from this base. Triadic color schemes are also known as a variation of the split-complementary color scheme.

What are the Benefits of Using Triadic Colors?

Examples of Triadic Colors

Common combinations of triadic color are as follows:

Tips for Using Triadic Color Schemes

What Are Tetradic Colors?

Similar to triadic colors, tetradic colors are somewhat equally apart colors on a given color wheel. However, they are formed by four colors instead of three. As they consist of four colors equally distanced on the color wheel, tetradic color schemes have two opposing sets of complementary colors. This is why they are sometimes called double complementary. The fact that they contain two sets of opposite colors is the defining aspect of tetradic colors.

Tetradic color schemes can be formed in two ways. One is the rectangle approach and the other is the square approach.

Rectangle Tetradic Color Scheme

Place a rectangle on a color wheel and notice the four colors on each corner. These four colors would be the hues in a rectangle tetradic scheme. The rectangle scheme has one base color with the other three colors distanced at the every 60th degree on the wheel (60 degrees, 180 degrees and 240 degrees).

Square Tetradic Color Scheme

A four color palette based on the square tetradic scheme consists of a base color and the three colors every 90 degrees apart from the base.

Examples of Tetradic Colors:

Common combinations of tetradic color are as follows:

What are the Benefits of Using Tetradic Colors?

Tips for Using Tetradic Color Schemes


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