We often take color selection for granted. After all, how easy is it to choose a hue from the color picker in Photoshop? Although we might think nothing of it now, mankind didn’t always have the color wheel at its fingertips.
It was the exploration by some of the world’s great thinkers and scientific advancement that lead to its development. And as you’ll see, during its many iterations, the color wheel was not only a wheel, but a sphere, triangle, and more. These are some of the most notable color creations; throughout history, other people have assembled their own “reshuffling of the rainbow.”
Scroll down to learn more about the color wheel and its history.
A color wheel is a tool that shows the relationship between primary, secondary, and tertiary colors, which are all evenly spaced inside a circle.
In an RYB color wheel, for instance, red, yellow, and blue are the primary colors , which are arranged evenly in different parts of the circle. Corresponding secondary colors green, purple, and orange are then placed between the primary colors they are mixed from. So, orange sits between red and yellow and green fills the space between yellow and blue. Tertiary colors are created by mixing one primary color with one secondary color. For example, teal is a tertiary color created from primary blue and secondary green. The color wheel can continue into quaternary and quinary colors in the same way, until eventually reaching shades of gray.