Color Vocabulary

A brief overview of colors pertaining to design.

Color terms are very commonly misused but just by knowing a few simple definitions you can better describe that particular color you are looking for.

Hue: The name of a color as it appears on the color wheel: red, orange, yellow, red-violet, ect.

Tint: Hue plus white. If you say you want more tint you are saying you want that color to be lighter.


Shade: Hue plus black. So you will be getting a darker color.


Tone: A tone is created when a color is added with its complimentary color. If you want to tone down a red, you would add green. If you wanted to tone down a blue you would add orange.


Intensity: The purity of a hue. a hue at its highest intensity has no other color mixed with it. a hue loses its intensity as another color or gray is added to it.


Value: The natural lightness or darkness of a hue or the amount of white or black in a color. Pink is a light value of red, navy-blue is a dark value of blue. So you change the value by changing the tint or shade.

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