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If you would like to work with your own colour theme, the colour wheels below show the principles of colour theory to help you choose visually effective colour combinations. Reasons for using your own colour combinations could be because of a dominant colour present in photographs you may use or simply because you are unable to find colour themes that appeal to you in Microsoft applications. The following guidelines will help you use colour effectively. The principles of each of these colour wheels is explained after the graphic.


Complementary colours are at opposite sides of the colour wheel. One colour should be the main colour and the other colour should be an accent. For example, you might have mostly yellow in your poster, with little bits of purple. 


The word triad is related to three (3). Divide the colour wheel in thirds and create a theme from there. This colour combination pattern creates a lot of excitement on the graphic.

Split Complement Triads

This colour pattern has a modern feel to it. For this pattern, pick a colour on the wheel and then find its complement (opposite colour on the wheel), then pick the two colours on either side of the complement. Play around with the different combinations to find a combination you like.

Analogous Colours

This is a colour combination that is very different than the Triad combination. Choose three colours that are next to each other on the colour wheel. If the Triad is exciting and playful, the analogous colour combination is relaxing.