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The Power of Complementary Colors


By Tom Nixon

Simply put, complementary colors are color opposites. They reside opposite each other on the color wheel like orange and blue, green and red, and yellow and violet. Combinations of complementary colors stand out. Life rafts are yellow-orange because they will be easily noticed in a blue sea.

Being opposites, like people, these color combinations can convey energy, excitement, and quite often, tension. But sometimes these energetic combinations can be too distracting. Their energy can be overwhelming to the viewer when placed immediately next to each other in equal strengths and proportions. To capture their excitement without going over the top try using one of the colors in a large area while keeping the other small. Another way, is to subdue one of the colors by making it lighter or darker in tone (adding white or black).

With the power of complementary colors comes great responsibility — use them to brighten up your visuals while keeping their aggressive tendencies under control.

Tom Nixon has over 3 decades of experience assisting clients with meaningful business communications. Contact Tom to see how he can work with your business leaders and subject matter experts to create stunning visual presentations (PowerPoint, Keynote, etc.) and enhance their on-stage delivery.