color wheel

What color matches blue?

What’s your favorite color?

Chances are good that you chose a shade of blue, a favorite of both women and men. And because of that, you may have chosen blue for an upcoming event.

But what color matches blue? Are you having a hard time creating a palette?

We talk about colors and palettes all the time, so I thought it might be fun to share a little color theory (yes, flashbacks to art class coming right up) and some examples of favors with different color schemes and palettes.

The color wheel

The color wheel (shown above) is a way of organizing hues that shows how to mix them to create other colors and combine them to create palettes. The primary colors are red, yellow, and blue. These hues can’t be created from other colors, but other colors are made by mixing them. For example, the secondary colors are created by combining two primary colors; they are orange, green, and purple. And the tertiary colors are created by mixing secondary and primary colors together. The wheel above shows the relationship between the primary, secondary, and tertiary colors.

How does this help us choose “matching” colors?

Colors on the wheel can be paired or grouped based on their position on the wheel to create different color schemes. We choose certain colors to achieve color harmony and visual balance. For a bold, vibrant color palette, you might choose Complementary colors. These colors sit directly across the color wheel from each other, like red and green or purple and yellow.

Orange is blue’s complementary color, but which blue are we talking about? We tend to consider “blue” as any of those hues from teal to violet. The complementary hues also have a range, from vermillion to amber. You can choose complementary pairs from any point, as shown below.


Color Palette Examples

If your main color is blue and you’d like to select a complementary color to go with it, your event colors might look something like this:

orange color matches blue in complementary scheme

A tint of blue is created by adding white to it; the complementary color for a tint of teal would be vermillion, and we’ve added another tint with this coral:

scarlet and coral color matches blue in complementary color palette

Colors that are next to each other on the color wheel are called analogous colors. These palettes are usually less vibrant than complementary colors, and can be much more visually soothing! Starting your palette with blue, you could move in one direction on the color wheel and choose purples for your analogous colors:

purple color matches blue in analogous color scheme

Or move the other way and choose greens:

green color matches blue in analogous color palette

Here’s another example of analogous colors, between turquoise blue and teal. We’ve also added a tint of the teal, adding white to it to create a Tiffany blue:

teal color matches blue in analogous color scheme

Another type of color scheme is called triadic, which uses three colors on the color wheel that are equal distance apart. The navy, berry, and gold color combination is one example, similar to the three primary colors. This next example uses two primary colors, plus a tint:

yellow color matches blue in triadic color scheme

This next would be a perfect triad with the addition of gold. Instead it’s two from the triad along with a shade of the blue:

hot pink color matches blue in triadic color scheme

Split-complementary (also called compound harmony) color schemes combine one color with the colors on each side of its complement. In this example, coral’s complement, teal, is between blue and green on the color wheel. We’ve chosen a shade of blue and a tint of green along with the coral for this palette:

mint and coral color matches blue in split complementary color palette

Whew! Was that too much? I shared a much simpler way to know if colors “go” in a quick video you can watch on Youtube. Short version: if you’ve seen the colors in your garden, you know they’ll look perfect together.

Here is some of the best inspiration for palette ideas inspired by nature. You can choose by color so start with the blue you’re planning to use.

And here are some more links to information about color theory, and some online tools to help you pick color that matches blue. (I think Paletton’s is really fun.):

Intro to Color Theory
Adobe’s color wheel tool
Paletton color scheme creator

What do you think? What are your favorite colors to match with blue?