Triadic Color Schemes Explained

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Triadic Color Schemes Explained

An example packed guide to using triadic color schemes

In this article we’ll explain what a triadic color scheme is and how, when & where to use triadic color schemes and color palettes in your designs, layouts & photography.

We’ve also gathered 25 examples of Triadic color schemes in photography, design & fashion

Whether you’re a photographer, designer or creative of any kind, understanding what triadic color schemes are and when to use them will help you create better, more cohesive color palettes.

Triadic Color Scheme Examples 11 min

Triadic Color Scheme Definition:

A triadic color scheme is any color palette made of three colors that are equally apart on the color wheel. For example, red, yellow and blue. Typically one color will act as the dominant color, while the other two work as accents.

Th easiest way to explain and understand triadic color palettes is simply to use the color wheel. Find any 3 colors that are equally spaced apart and voila, you’ve just created your first triadic color palette!

triadic Color Wheel Color Scheme Palette Selection Example copy

Triadic Colors List

Here is a reference list of different combinations of triadic colors:

  • Red, Yellow, Blue.
  • Red-orange, Yellow-green, Blue-violet.
  • Orange, Green, Violet.
  • Yellow-orange, Blue-green, Red-violet.

Triadic Color Scheme Feelings

It’s a known fact that color effects our emotions. So which triadic color palettes make you feel which emotions?

The emotional feeling of your color scheme will be driven by the most dominant color in your color palette. 

Here is an example with a triadic color scheme of Red, Yellow & Blue:

  • Red dominant, yellow & blue accent: Super high energy, passion, love or anger (Intense motions)
  • Yellow dominant, red & blue accent: Medium energy, warm, intimate (Depending on shade)
  • Blue dominant, red & yellow accent: Low energy, calming, serene, soft

This quick chart shows the dominant emotions of color:

different emotions of colors explained in a simple chart

Tips for using triadic color schemes

Here are some handy tips for using triadic colors:

  • Start by asking what kind of emotional response you want your color palette to illicit. Make your selection with your end goal in mind.
  • Choose one dominant color to be the primary color.
  • Use your other two colors as accents – Lower the saturation in these colors for a more cohesive blend with your dominant color.
  • Pastel variations will give your color scheme a more unified, calming appearance
  • Bold saturated colors will create a high intensity, striking appearance

Triadic Color Scheme Examples

The best way to understand how to use triadic color palettes is by seeing great examples.

In real life colors are rarely perfectly separated into 3 groups, but the closer you get to a perfect triadic color palette, the stronger and more unified the image becomes.

Here are 19 great examples of triadic color schemes:

Triadic Color Scheme Examples 9 minTriadic Color Scheme Examples 1 minTriadic Color Scheme Examples 3 minTriadic Color Scheme Examples 6 minTriadic Color Scheme Examples 7 minTriadic Color Scheme Examples 8 minTriadic Color Scheme Examples 10 minTriadic Color Scheme Examples 12 minTriadic Color Scheme Examples 15 minTriadic Color Scheme Examples 2 minTriadic Color Scheme Examples 18 minTriadic Color Scheme Examples 5 minTriadic Color Scheme Examples 17 minTriadic Color Scheme Examples 16 min


Triadic Color Palette Wrap Up

Triadic color scheme examples in real life are rarely as technically perfect as in nature as they are when you’re painting a room or doing graphic design. But as you can see, they do happen all around you!

Hopefully these examples of triadic color palettes have sparked your imagination and shown you how to use triadic color schemes in your design, photography & creative life.

If  you found this article helpful, can you do me a huge favor?

Pin this article to one of your pinterest boards and help others learn about using different color schemes!

Until next time, go create something awesome!

– Ryan


Want to learn even more about color? Check out these articles:

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