Welcome to a new series of posts called “What Was The Question?”! In this series, I’ll be exploring craft-related questions. I hope you find this interesting. Please let me know what you think!
Colour theory, put simply, is something that helps us choose colours that either go well together or contrast each other. A colour wheel is a diagram or model that makes it easy to do this. The colour wheel is to colour theory as the tube map is to the London Underground - it makes understanding it so much simpler!
Around 1670, Sir Isaac Newton started to experiment with prisms and sunlight. He went on to prove that clear white light was composed of several visible colours.
He originally identified only five colours (red, yellow, green, blue and violet). Orange and indigo were added later to make seven (which was a superstitious number at the time). So by 1672, he had discovered the visible light spectrum (the colours of the rainbow) - this is where the acronym ROY-G-BIV comes from.
But how did these science experiments result in a colour wheel? Essentially, Newton looked into the relationship between the seven colours of light to see how they worked together. He did this by likening colour notation to music notation - assigning each colour to a note placed on a circle divided by a musical scale (I can’t quite understand how or why he would have done this - but I guess that was his genius!).
By placing the notes on the circle, he had come up with a model that showed how the colours interacted with each other. And this is what we use today to create great colour palettes in design! We have a lot to thank Sir Isaac Newton for!
Let me know if you find this sort of content interesting! With the amount of research I do, I have lots of crafty fun facts to share!