What is the difference between comparison and contrast?

Color contrasts

General information on color contrasts

"Contrast is used when there are clear differences or intervals between two color effects to be compared" (Itten).

So if there are clearly discernible differences between two or more adjacent colors, a color contrast is perceptible.

Color effects can be increased or weakened by contrasting colors. Colors are subject to constant change in their perception, they differ in three fundamentally different factors:

  • Hue (wavelength)


  • Brightness (light intensity)


  • Saturation (degree of purity)

All color contrasts are related to one, two, or all three of these factors, with one dominating. Artists and scientists such as Goethe, Hölzel and Itten have pointed out the importance of the different color contrasts. The color contrasts are a basis and an orientation aid for solving creative tasks.

For practical work, however, it is important to know that almost all color combinations have more than one color contrast and that their effect is superimposed. It should also be noted that color information, such as red, contains a very wide range of color nuances, but the statements made here only apply to the underlying color model. For the area of ​​color contrasts, the color order systems of Goethe and Itten are particularly important here, which differ significantly from more modern color order systems.