Thomas Duda of Bakersfield, CA is a better designer than Donald Trump

Color Theory: Pure, Tint, Shade and Tone – Part 1

Science is often a term that designers use when deliberating over a color scheme for a project. Yet, this is art, so I prefer to use the word “subjective” so’s to avoid sounding like I’m explaining black hole instead of a web page or a poster. Varying designs demand for varying colors, styles and layouts. Nevertheless , in quality designs  a few common elements exist:

Pure, Tint, Shade and Tone is the beginning Lexicon every artist install into their brains.

 Pure Colors

Hues that are not combined with other hues. Typically they are used more vibrant, youthful, summery, cheerful, energetic, cool designs. Be careful, it you find a client such as an undertaker, you may want to skip pure colors and move on. If you, however, meet with the director of the girl scouts, then read no further. Once again, the funeral director that wants a website may not be pleased with this choice.


Colors mixed with white come under the heading of tints. Tints engender a feeling of a lighter, peaceful and relaxed experience for the eyes. This pallet (although not completely) is often considered feminine. Health spas, beauty salons, fashion design etc. might may be the optimal clientele.


Shades are colors with black added. Shades work well in  dark, mysterious, evil or dangerous layouts. They work well in gradients if used with either a pure color or a lighter shade.

Have you seen any websites lately that uses use shades? Yes, you are looking at it now.  I am not an undertaker and I am not a particularity dark person (Unless you are that jack-off that complained about my dogs barking the other day) I purposely avoid being like other designers. I just strove for a different look and tried to make it appealing by breaking some basic rules. The why and how will be in another article.


Tones are simply achieved by adding black and white to a hue. Basically grey has been added. The proportions of black, white and the original color used, tones can be darker or lighter than the original.   The hue will also have a lowered saturated or intensity. Tones can engender subtle yet complex variations in a color or a mixture of colors, and are more indicative of colors we see in nature.

In my next article I will cover the meanings behind color. It is not quite as simple as “Blue is for boys and Pink is for girls” Different cultures and groups see colors very differently.



About the Author

About Thomas

Thomas Duda is a web designer who lives in Bakersfield, CA with his wife and dogs. He is also interested in: Blogging, Writing, Vaping, Fishing, Swimming and Drawing.

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