I am not a designer, just an average man with no business in graphic design. But sometimes I see two colors in an ad or in the clothing shop and I can say that they are a perfect match. As if they have the same strength.

My question is how, using some computer program, transform e.g. red color into green color of the same strength? (so they match)


2 Answers 2


Strength = Saturation + Brightness

When you say "strength" I assume you mean saturation or the purity of the hue. On a mathematical level, you can simply match the brightness and saturation values in HSB color mode.

Not so fast

But equal luminosity doesn't necessarily result in equal strength or dominance. Color theorists Johannes Itten and Josef Albers both prescribed lessons for their students that dealt specifically with this problem as a way to train one's eye for color.

You can see in this color wheel (Itten's rendition), that all the colors are presented at full saturation (allowing for the abilities of digital display). Despite their equality in this respect some are stronger than others. Yellow and red clearly make their presence known, while blue seems subtle in comparison.

Color wheel by Johannes Itten

Bringing balance to the force

This page from Itten's book balances the strength of colors (focusing on compliments) using scale. Notice that the warm range holds a lot of power, but green brings some punch to the party too.

Page of exercises from The Elements of Color

The painter JMW Turner is a highly regarded for his use of color strength to create tension and drama in his work.

JMW Turner painting

Piet Mondrian, on the other hand, worked to flatten color and balance the impact of various hues.

Piet Mondrian, Composition A, 1923

Related color issues

I've commented elsewhere about
The way colors can change one another, making three colors appear as four.
Albert Munsell's concept of carefully wielding strong colors.


This question is pretty diffuse. Considering it is hard to know just quite what you mean I think you've gotten a fairly good answer off the bat but there are still tricks to align colors even better.

Using the trained eye to select some colors that you'd like to use in a theme, aligning these can be done by choosing a mixin color and overlaying it over the other colors to align them towards a common goal.

A video tutorial of this technique can be found here: http://methodandcraft.com/videos/creating-harmonious-color-schemes

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