Triads are made up of three colors that are evenly spaced around the color wheel. The most common triadic color combination is a set of hues that are equally spaced at 120 degrees from each other, making them technically semi-triadic colors, or simply “triadic.”

Triadic color schemes usually consist of one primary color, one secondary color, and one tertiary (or intermediate) color.

These color combinations have been used in art for hundreds of years and have been proven to improve how we think and how we feel.

If you’re looking for ways to increase creativity at your company, you might want to consider looking into triadic color schemes.

triadic color scheme

What Is a triadic color scheme in film?

Triadic color schemes are used in art, design, and fashion. They consist of three colors that are equidistant from one another on the color wheel. This means they form a triangle.

The combination of colors used in triadic schemes is considered to be very balanced and harmonious.

They work well together, especially when one color is dominant, with the other two being used for accents.

Triadic color combinations create interest and drama without being too overwhelming or attention-grabbing. This makes them perfect for a variety of projects: logos, websites, posters, book covers, and more.


What Are Triadic Colors?

Although there is no hard evidence connecting the history of the color wheel with triadic color schemes, most historians agree that this theory comes from the work done by Sir Isaac Newton and his work on light refraction.

He believed that a prism could separate white light into its component parts. These components were red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo and violet.

The artist Johannes Itten began developing his own theories about using these six colors in his artwork in 1917. He was a Swiss painter.

What Is The Triadic Color Scheme?

The Triadic color scheme is based on three colors that are evenly spaced around the color wheel. 

Triadic colors have equally spaced hues in the same color family, but they are not directly across from one another. The most common triadic colors are red-orange-yellow, blue-green-violet and red-green-blue.

Analogous colors are often used for trim, or for accent pieces that tie into a home’s existing palette, where the aim is to create harmony. In contrast, a triadic color scheme is bold and dramatic, especially when placed side by side.

This color scheme can be very effective in large spaces where you want a lot of visual impact. It’s also good for creating high drama in small spaces as well–just use very bright colors to get the most powerful effect.

There may be a reason why you see some websites using the same colors. The Triadic Color Scheme is a type of color scheme that is currently in use. It is based on a combination of three colors: one primary color, one secondary color, and one tertiary color.

Tetradic color schemes are inherently vibrant, but this can be overpowering for certain projects.

The soft contrast found in triadic color schemes creates a much more subtle effect, creating beauty and harmony rather than shock.

What Triadic Color Schemes Aren’t

Triadic color schemes should not be confused with:

Tetradic Color Schemes

The Tetradic scheme is made up of four colors arranged in two complementary pairs. 

The Tetradic scheme often creates vibrant and lively palettes because you have two pairs of contrasting colors.

The Tetradic scheme is very popular in nature because it is how many flowers are naturally colored.

Analogous Color Schemes

Analogous colors are those that sit next to each other on the color wheel. You can create a monochromatic analogous scheme by choosing hues from across the color wheel which are similar in value (lightness).

You can also create analogous schemes by choosing a primary, secondary, and tertiary color and using different shades of those colors as your design’s palette.

Complementary Color Schemes

Complementary colors sit opposite one another on the color wheel. This is arguably the most popular type of scheme and using complements effectively can really make your designs stand out.

How To Use Triadic Color Schemes

Triadic color schemes are simple to create, but they have a very dynamic effect on your designs. 

Let’s take a look at how to use them in your next project.

Triadic Color Scheme

Triadic color schemes are very basic, yet they can create very vibrant and energetic palettes. 

If you’re designing for children or teenagers, using this type of color scheme is a great choice because it naturally draws attention and creates visual interest in an otherwise chaotic environment. 

It’s also a good choice if you’re designing for corporate environments because it presents as professional and organized.

Here are some tips on how to use triadic color schmes when creating your designs:

Using these complimentary colors that form triads will automatically fill up the entire color wheel. You can then use other hues to accentuate certain aspects of your design. For example, the image below uses orange as the accent color to complement the overall.

Don’t Shy Away From Triadic Colors

Sometimes the best way to improve your design is to break some of the rules you’ve heard about color theory.

Triadic colors are colors that are evenly spaced around the color wheel. Triadic colors have been used in design for centuries, but there are many designers who believe that triadic colors can be used together without looking as “clashing” as non-triadic colors. While this may seem like a bold statement, it is actually backed by psychological research.

In his book, Visual Language: The Structure and Use of Color in Communication, Johannes Itten states, “Tetradic harmonies are more impressive than those based on dyads. They appear particularly forceful when they are composed of three strong contrasting colors.”

This is because a triad can be thought of as a “color chord” where all three colors relate to each other in tension and harmony. 

A classic example of this is the color combination of red, yellow, and blue. Red and blue are complementary colors (opposite from each other on the color wheel), while yellow is an intermediate color between red and blue. 

Because these three colors are evenly spaced around the color wheel, it can create a strong visual impact when used together as opposed.

Using Triadic Colors Equally

Every color wheel has a balancing point. This is referred to as the Triadic Color. It is the combination of one Primary Color and one Secondary Color on either side.

The primary colors are Red, Blue, and Yellow; and the secondary colors are Orange, Green, and Purple.


When using triadic colors equally in your design, you need to use each of them once in the same design concept.

Let’s say we want to use a triad of yellow, orange, and red. If you were designing a brochure with this concept, you would put the yellow on the cover then put orange on the inside cover and red on the back cover. By doing this, it would be considered “Using Triadic Colors Equally”.

If you do not use all three equally, then your design will not look harmonious or balanced. For example: say if you had only used Yellow and Red on your brochure.Then, when people looked at it, they would have thought that it was unbalanced because there was more of one color than another.

You don’t want that type of reaction from someone who looks at your design! You want them to think about how great it looks and for them to remember it! So always remember to use all three equally.

Using Triadic Colors Toned Down

Triadic color schemes are something you’ll see a lot of in nature. It’s no accident that the colors of fall leaves often mimic the triadic scheme, with one color taking center stage and being flanked by two others.

Triadic schemes tend to be fairly vibrant, with one color dominating the palette. These schemes make it easy to find complimentary colors for other elements of your design, such as using green for your money section and red for your call to action text.

Pink is a triadic color scheme done right! The pink really stands out against the darker grays and greens used on this site.

These schemes can also be very effective when used in tandem with complementary colors, which we’ll cover next.

Analogous Colors

Analogous color schemes use three colors that are adjacent to each other on the color wheel*. For example, blue, blue-green, and green would all be analogous colors. Analogous color schemes are generally softer than triadic color schemes.

Analogous designs will have one of the three main colors as a dominant hue and the other two used more sparingly throughout the design.

The analogous color scheme here is well done in my opinion because it does not require too much contrast between hues for differentiation purposes.

Triadic Colors In Set Design

Color harmony is a matter of aesthetics, but it is also a science. Color harmony is the principle of color relationships and combinations. Color harmony is achieved when there is unity, order and balance in color schemes or palettes.

Triadic color harmony refers to the use of three colors that are evenly spaced around the color wheel. Triadic harmony creates vivid contrasts while still being balanced and having an overall pleasing effect on the viewer’s eyes.

The term “triad” means a group of three, so triadic colors are evenly spaced around the wheel in groups of three.

The reason why triadic color harmonies are very popular in set design, especially for film sets and TV sets, is that they provide a high impact visual look and feel without being too jarring or disturbing to the viewer’s eye.

A triadic film set design uses three primary colors evenly spaced around the wheel (blue-yellow-red). Primary colors are those that cannot be created by mixing other colors together. The primary colors are red, blue, yellow and green (RGB).

Triadic Colors are often overlooked when designing sets, but they have the potential to make your set look more vibrant and lively. Use triadic colors in moderation because too many can be overpowering. You can use them in the backdrop or props.

Photography And Triadic Colors

If you’re looking to shoot some beautiful pictures, then you’ve surely heard of the term “triadic colors”. Triadic colors are a type of color scheme that is made up of three colors: two complimentary colors and one neutral color.

The idea behind this color theory is that it gives you more variety in your photos and allows you to put emphasis on certain points within your photos. However, some people might find it difficult to figure out which complementary colors to use for their triadic schemes. If you’re having a hard time trying to figure out what pairs of colors work best together, then this article will help!

How To Choose The Right Complementary Colors

Here are a few tips to help you pick out the perfect triadic color scheme for your next photo shoot:

Try using the same temperature for all three colors. Basically, try making sure that all three of your triadic colors have the same level of warmth or coolness. 

This will give your photos a sense of continuity. You can also find complementary color schemes that are split into two different tones as well as full-blown triadic schemes.

Choose two opposing hues as your neutral color and one bold hue as your primary color.

Tips For Using Triadic Color Schemes

Triadic color schemes are the ones that have three colorsevenly spaced on the color wheel. In other words, they consist of three hues that are positioned at 120 degrees to each other. These color schemes are very vibrant and provide a harmonious overall effect.

Classical triadic color schemes:

I use the same color palette in my new collection of digital scrapbooking kits! I’m using similar colors as you can see in my new kit called “Fairytale Garden” – a combination of yellow/green, blue, pink, and orange colors.

I used these colors because, when we were kids, we were fascinated with fairies and their magical gardens. The flowers were so colorful and beautiful! Sometimes, it feels like I’ve just stepped into one of those fairy tales. 🙂

When working with triadic color schemes, you should try to avoid monochromatic colors. You need to add some variety for your design to look more appealing. 

If you want to achieve a natural look, then you can use shades of a single hue rather than different hues altogether. But if you want more contrast, then you can use different hues from the triad.

Color triads work best when they are soft and not too bright or bold.

Famous Brands That Use Triadic Color Schemes

Color schemes are an important part of any design project, and the three-color triadic color scheme is a classic. Triads can be used to brand corporations, create visual identities and to arouse the viewer’s emotions.

Triadic color schemes consist of three hues equally spaced around a color wheel. A triad is made up of one primary color (typically red, yellow or blue), a secondary color (green, orange or purple), and an accent color (any other hue).

Below are some famous brands that use this type of color scheme in their logos:


Coca-Cola has one of the most recognizable logos in the world. It’s simple but effective, using red as the accent color to separate itself from the white background. 

The company also uses red for its holiday cans and bottles each year.


Cadbury is another brand that utilizes this type of color scheme in their logo. The logo features green as its primary color, with purple as its secondary hue and white as its accent color.

The red shell symbolizes passion and energy while the purple swirl represents seduction.

Another major brand that uses a triadic color scheme is New York University (NYU).

Uses Of Triadic Color Schemes In Films

Color is used in films to dictate a mood, show time and place, or even dictate what type of film it is. In a triad, three colors are equally spaced on the color wheel.

They are normally equidistant from each other, however, there is no law that states that all three colors must be equidistant from each other.

It is very common for these three colors to be primary colors (red, blue, and yellow).

The most common triadic color scheme that you will find in films is Red, Green and Blue (RGB) or its opposite cyan-magenta-yellow (CMYK). 

The RGB triad is most commonly found in films because it has the most contrast between hues; R isthe most visually stimulating color while B tends to give a sense of calming.

Red, Green and Blue are also used in digital displays such as computers, TVs, mobile phones, etc… This means that there are more chances for these colors to come into contact with the audience which, therefore, increases the chance of an audience member connecting those colors with filmmaking.

Triadic Color Scheme – Wrapping Up

Triadic color schemes are a bit more divergent than the previous schemes we’ve looked at, as they can make use of any three colors. These combinations are often great for conveying a greater sense of balance, while still retaining some sense of tension that is necessary to keep things interesting.

The key here is variety, as you’ll often want to pick one color to highlight and use the other two in accent capacities. This is especially true if you’re dealing with a lot of different pieces (i.e. multiple backgrounds and text colors).

So, what kinds of color schemes are available? Here’s a breakdown:

  1. Triadic schemes are comprised of three colors equally spaced around the color wheel.
  2. Split-Complementary schemes place a primary color on one side of the color wheel and two secondary colors that sit between the primary and its complement on the other side.
  3. Analogous schemes utilize three colors that sit next to each other on the color wheel.

What’s going to work best for your design really depends on what you’re using this scheme for.

This scheme tends to be the most balanced overall, since it mixes warm and cool tones without sacrificing any particular hue or shade.