The Colour Wheel

The Colour Wheel is a traditional way of grouping subtractive colours together in a visible way that helps to explain the relationship between them. Subtractive colours are formed by mixing colour pigments, in our case printing inks. It is not a perfect system and there are various explanations but the basic theory is described below.

The Colour Wheel is laid out using Primary Colours (red, yellow, blue) which are separated by the Secondary Colours (Orange, Violet & Green) which in turn are separated by Tertiary Colours. All together they form the 12 parts colour wheel.


Primary Colours – Red, Yellow & Blue are the 3 pigment colours that can not be formed or mixed by any combination of other colours. All other colours are derived from these 3 hues.


Secondary Colours – Orange, Green & Violet, are colours formed by mixing 2 Primary Colours. These Secondary Colours sit in between the Primary Colours.


Tertiary Colours – are formed by mixing 2 secondary colours and sit in between the Primary and Secondary colours. There are an endless numbers of tertiary colours that can be created in this way.


Pantone Colours – when Pantone colours are applied to the colour wheel you start to build a workable tool for selecting colours in your artwork.

© 2021 Peppermint Print Ltd