Color Theory And Its Impact On Printing

Color Theory And Its Impact On Printing

In many decisions we make in life, we make color choices based on viewing pleasure. Thus, we try to create harmony with different colors. How about getting support from science when choosing colors? With the color theory developed by scientists who have worked in a wide variety of sciences for centuries, you can achieve perfect visual harmony in all areas of your life. In this post, we are going to find out more about it. Let’s get started.

Color Theory: All You Need To Know

What is Color Theory?

As we can remember from what we learned in school, Newton reflected the light he passed through a triangular glass prism in a dark room onto a white screen and saw seven different colors on the screen.

These colors are violet, indigo, blue, green, yellow, orange and red (VIBGYOR), which we see in the rainbow, respectively. This order is determined by the angle of refraction of the light. Also, in this experiment, Newton discovered that the combination of these 7 colors resulted in white.

Many scientists such as French physicist and priest Edme Mariotte, painter Jacob Christoph Le Blon, painter Claude Boutet, English entomologist and engraver Moses Harris, entomologist Ignaz Schiffermüller, Swiss mathematician Johann Heinrich Lambert, famous German writers Johann Wolfgang von Goethe and Friedrich von Schiller and the artist worked and produced works on color theory.

While Le Blon determined the primary and secondary colors, Harris created the first color wheel. With a completely different approach, Lambert created a color pyramid with white at the top.

How did Color theory develop?

First put forward by Isaac Newton, the theory was repeatedly studied and developed until the 19th century. Over time, the harmony of colors with each other from different angles and their psychological effects on people were added to scientific research.

It is not possible to talk about a single color theory today. When color theory is mentioned, all the theories put forward in this field such as physical properties of colors, psychological effects, and color harmony are implied.

Today, especially in the promotion and marketing sector, the psychological effects of colors are based on product designs, packaging, product labels, posters, website designs, interior architecture, cinema and many other areas to convey certain emotions to the target audience.

What is the Color Wheel?

The color wheel is a standard infographic where colors are ordered by wavelength. The color wheel is used so that the colors can be seen together in a systematic way and their relations with each other can be perceived more easily. On the color wheel, primary, intermediate and complementary colors can be seen together.

Color Models

Color models based on the color wheel are specific models developed to describe colors in an abstract environment with a numerical expression. The most well-known color models are RGB and CMYK, which we frequently encounter in our daily lives with the widespread use of computers.

The name of the RGB color model consists of the initials of the English equivalents of red (red), green (green), and blue (blue). It is used to define the colors obtained by combining these three colors in different proportions on a black background. The RGB model is used in monitors such as computers and televisions.

The CMYK color model, on the other hand, takes its name from the English initials of the colors cyan (cyan), red-violet (magenta), and yellow (yellow). The letter K represents black. The CMYK model is used in printing technologies.

All printed materials you can think of; books, newspapers and magazines, photographs, product packaging and boxes, signs, bank cards, tickets, bags, canvas prints, and printed textile products are colored with the CMYK model.

Primary Colors

There are 3 primary colors naturally found in the universe: red, yellow and blue. All other colors are formed from mixtures of these primary colors.


Orange is formed by the mixture of red and yellow, purple is formed by the mixture of red and blue, and green is formed by the mixture of blue and yellow. They form the mid-tones/secondary/intermediate colors.

Warm Colors

Colors in shades of red, orange and yellow are warm colors. Objects in which these colors are used appear closer and larger to our eyes.

Cool Colors

Colors in shades of blue, green and purple are warm colors. Contrary to warm colors, objects in these colors appear farther and smaller.

Achromatic (Neutral) Colors

In fact, black and white, which are not considered colors, and shades of gray, which are their combinations, are called achromatic colors.

What is Color Harmony?

Color harmony is a term that expresses the harmony of colors with each other. Color combinations created within certain rules attract attention, appeal to the eye and are more preferred. This color match can be achieved in various ways. The color wheel is used when creating color harmonies.

Analog Color Harmony

The harmony created by the three color groups standing side by side on the color wheel is called analog color harmony. For example, the colors blue, blue-green, and green form an analogous color harmony.

Monochrome Harmony

It is a color harmony created with tones obtained by adding black or white to a color. Monochrome harmony is also known as monochrome color harmony.

Binary Harmony

The color opposite a color on the color wheel is called a complementary color. Binary harmony is created with complementary colors. Colors that are opposite of each other appear brighter when used together. When these colors are mixed with each other, gray color is obtained.

Triple Harmony

It is the harmony created by the colors corresponding to the vertices of an equilateral triangle placed on the color wheel. The main and intermediate color groups, which are equidistant from each other on the circle, can be given as an example of triple harmony.

Quadruple Harmony

It is the harmony formed by the colors corresponding to the corners of a rectangle or square placed on the color wheel. Quadruple harmony consists of 2 complementary color groups due to the structure of the color wheel.

What is Canvas Printing?

Canvas printing is a printing technique applied on various materials such as canvas cloth. There are numerous digital machines, techniques and application surfaces for canvas printing. Each variable ensures that the quality of the resulting print is different. Canvas printing is a type of painting obtained by digital printing on canvas. The quality of these tables varies directly with both the quality of the printing technique and the quality of the printing surface. After printing on the cloth known as canvas cloth, an elegant painting is obtained with the printing mounted on a wooden frame.

The inks used in printings that can be made easily in different sizes are also specific to the printing machine. The area where the printing will be made is plastered with a special mixture and this mixture prevents the dispersion of the printed ink. Transfer printing, which is one of the most used techniques for canvas painting printing, draws attention with its advantages. 

What is Transfer Printing? How is it done?

Transfer printing is a type of printing that has been used extensively especially in the field of textiles since the 1950s and has been renewed with today’s technology and expanded its usage area. The quality of transfer prints, the vividness of colors and artistic images cause these prints to be used in the printing of products such as paintings, t-shirts and bags.

This printing technique is also known as hot and dry. A dye is used that is transferred to printing paper. The feature of this paint is that it evaporates with heat. This material, known as sublimation dyestuff, is transferred to the fabric by applying heat and pressure. Patterns and designs printed on paper with dyestuffs are easily transferred to the fabric.

The hot and dry technique is much more advantageous than the existing wet printing techniques. This method, which has a very high print quality, is also very successful in detail. The technology of the technique allows even mixed designs and colors to be printed perfectly. In textile printing, rotogravure technology, which is used only in transfer printing, is one of the most important features that distinguish printing from others.

Print Quality

It is necessary to pay attention to the factors that determine the quality of art painting or special design transfer prints. Among these elements, ink, printing surface and design resolution are the elements that always make remarkable differences in terms of quality. The quality of the ink determines the long-lasting quality of the print. No disintegration at the first printing, transferring every detail of the design to the surface, and then quality ink should be used so that the colors do not fade. The printing surface is just as important for quality as the ink. If the print surface is not of good quality to absorb the ink, the print may scatter. While poor quality surfaces cause the paint to be removed over time, they do not offer long-lasting solutions because they will wear out more easily.

The resolution of the design in print quality is always the determinant of the quality. No matter how good the material and technique are, if the resolution of the design is not sufficient, the print will not be of good quality. Digital photos may look very high quality, but the resolution of most of them is 72 dpi, which is not sufficient for printing.

In order for a design to appear in print in a quality manner, its resolution must be at least 300 dpi. Resolution-related problems can be solved in a short time by means of design programs. The important thing here is to take care to make the resolution setting at the required levels before printing.

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