What You Need To Know About The Primary. Secondary and Tertiary Colors

Color is the greatest gift of nature and you can feel the sensation of the color when the light enters the eyes. The light waves enter the eyes and focus on the retina by the lens of the eyes when a photo chemical reaction starts. It results in an impulse that transmits along the optic nerve to the concerned receptor of the brain.

The color that the brain observes, perceives, or experiences is dependent on a particular or combination of wavelengths of the light source. The Hue is the common name of the color, value is the lightness or darkness, or tone and shade of the hue and chroma is the depth of the color like dullness, brightness, etc. A web designer can bring all emotions like happiness, sadness, etc with the association of correct colors and produce a brilliant UX Design.

Perception of colors

The perception of the light and color occurs when the light starts focusing on the retina and initiates a photo-chemical reaction on the retina. There are two distinct types of nerve cells called cones and rods on the retina. Cones are the nerve cells that convey the sensation of the color to the brain and respond to bright daylight or strong artificial light.

Rods are the nerve cells that become more prolific when retina moves forward towards the lens of the eye. Rods will come into action during the evening when the illumination is low or there is little light. While rods are responsible for night vision, cones are responsible for day vision or vision with artificial light and cones respond to three main colors that are red, blue and yellow.

It is important to have a clear understanding of the vast subject of color for an UX Designer to make an impressive design. Before stepping on the greater details of the color wheel, it is essential to understand the basics of color and color theory. First of all, you need to understand the primary, secondary and tertiary colors discussed here in the following paragraphs.

Primary colors

Primary colors

Primary colors remain the building block of all colors that are present on the spectrum. There can be a slight change in the primary color combination depending on the application (for example for textile dyes the primary color combination may be different from TV primary color). However, the traditional primary colors used in art and color theory remain red, yellow and blue.

Secondary colors

Secondary colors

Secondary colors are obtained by mixing or adding the primary color and when you add equal parts of primary colors different secondary colors can be there. Knowledge of additive color mixing of primary colors can help to understand the subtractive color mixing. You can find a green color by combining yellow and blue, orange by combining yellow and red, and purple by combining blue and red.

Tertiary colors

Tertiary color

Tertiary colors can be produced by mixing the primary and the secondary colors that can open up various other shades of a particular color. The six major types of tertiary colors are vermilion (orange plus red), magenta (red plus purple), violet (purple plus blue), teal (blue plus green), chartreuse (green plus yellow) and amber (yellow and orange). When an UX Design engineer can grasp the concept of the color combinations, a brilliant design is possible that can bring the best User Experience.


The world of color is vast and fascinating and has many hidden depths that are yet to be discovered. The understanding of the primary, secondary and tertiary colors can create various exciting forms of expression and can be immensely helpful to make brilliant user experience design. Appropriate use of the colors can be very important to influence the mood of the user and to increase traffic.

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