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What are 10 tertiary Colours?

What are 10 tertiary Colours?

Colors are an important part of our lives. They influence our moods, inspire creativity, and convey meaning. While primary and secondary colors form the basic color wheel, tertiary colors are produced by mixing primary and secondary hues. Tertiary colors provide nuance, variety, and vibrancy to any palette. In this article, we will explore the 10 main tertiary colors and how they are made.

What are Tertiary Colors?

Tertiary colors are made by combining a primary color with an adjacent secondary color on the color wheel. For example, red and orange make red-orange, blue and green make blue-green, etc. By mixing in different ratios, many subtle tertiary shades can be produced. Tertiary colors are also called intermediate colors since they fall between the primary and secondary hues.

While primary colors are pure hues and secondary colors tone down the primaries, tertiary colors have a more complex, subdued appearance. They exhibit qualities of both constituent colors. Tertiary hues are useful for harmonious color schemes as they connect and bridge the primary and secondary colors.

The 10 Main Tertiary Colors

Here are the 10 principal tertiary colors created by combining the primary and secondary hues:


Red-orange is a vibrant, energetic hue made by mixing red and orange. It incorporates the excitement of red with the friendliness of orange. Red-orange is associated with joy, celebration, enthusiasm, and creativity. It is often used to evoke a sense of fun.


Yellow-orange, sometimes called amber, unites the warmth of yellow and the energy of orange. It has both cheerful and energetic qualities. Yellow-orange is often associated with caution, intellect, and communication. It is a bright, friendly color.


Yellow-green blends the cheerfulness of yellow with the balance of green. It is a vibrant, spring-like color associated with renewal, freshness, and vigor. Yellow-green evokes a sense of vitality and youth.


Blue-green, also known as turquoise, combines the calm stability of blue with the balance of green. It has both serene and renewing qualities. Blue-green is associated with open communication, protection, wisdom, and emotional balance.


Blue-violet mixes the depth of blue with the mystique of violet. It has a rich, intriguing appeal. Blue-violet is associated with imagination, spirituality, and contemplation. It stimulates creativity and inner vision.


Red-violet unites the passion of red with the depth of violet to produce a dramatic, sophisticated color. It incorporates both energetic and mystical qualities. Red-violet is associated with ambition, passion, and creativity. It conveys a sense of heartfelt feeling.


Orange-red blends vibrant orange with bold red to create a warm, fiery hue. It radiates energy, passion, and intensity. Orange-red is often associated with excitement, adventure, strength, and stimulation. It is an energetic, bold color.


Yellow-orange, sometimes called amber, unites the warmth of yellow and the energy of orange. It has both cheerful and energetic qualities. Yellow-orange is often associated with caution, intellect, and communication. It is a bright, friendly color.


Green-yellow mixes the vibrancy of yellow with the balance of green. It has a rich, earthy appeal. Green-yellow is associated with discernment, pragmatism, and clarity. It promotes a grounded, realistic mindset.


Violet-blue combines mystical violet with stable blue. It has both spiritual and calm qualities. Violet-blue is associated with sophistication, intuition, and visionary thinking. It is an introspective, magical color.

How to Mix Tertiary Colors

Tertiary colors can be easily mixed by combining acrylic, oil, or watercolor paints. The basic method is:

1. Select one primary color (red, yellow, or blue).

2. Choose the secondary color adjacent to it on the color wheel.

3. Blend the two paints together on a palette. Adjust the proportions to create subtle variations in shade and intensity.

4. Alternately, start with a secondary color like green or violet. Mix in more of its constituent primary colors to tone it down into a tertiary.

5. Use a color mixing guide to help select the correct primary and secondary hues to blend.

With practice, you can learn to expertly mix a wide spectrum of tertiary shades. Study color theory to understand how to vary the amounts of each constituent color to achieve the desired hue.

Uses of Tertiary Colors

Tertiary colors have many useful applications:

– Provide nuance, subtlety, and vibrancy when combined with primary and secondary colors in artworks, presentations, websites, etc.

– Useful for color schemes that connect or transition between two colors, like red to orange.

– Sofen and tone down the appearance of bright primary and secondary shades.

– Convey moods and meanings different from standard color associations.

– Capture nuanced seasonal colors like the warmth of autumn.

– Express imagination and creativity in painting, fashion design, interior decor, etc.

– Make engaging, unique color palettes for branding, logos, marketing materials, etc.

With their versatility and complexity, tertiary colors are an indispensable part of any creative palette!

Tertiary Color Model

There are a few different ways to organize and represent tertiary colors, but one of the most common is the tertiary color model or triangle. This is structured as:

Primary Color Adjacent Secondary Colors Resulting Tertiary Colors
Red Orange, Violet Red-Orange, Red-Violet
Yellow Green, Orange Yellow-Green, Yellow-Orange
Blue Green, Violet Blue-Green, Blue-Violet

This model clearly maps out how the primary colors connect to their adjacent secondaries on the color wheel, producing distinct tertiary colors. The triangles also demonstrate how tertiaries transition smoothly between the color wheel hues.

Color Wheel with Tertiary Colors

Putting all the tertiaries together on the standard color wheel creates a more nuanced, continuous spectrum:

Primary Secondary Tertiary
Red Orange Red-Orange
Yellow Yellow-Green
Blue Blue-Green
Violet Red-Violet

The tertiary colors elegantly connect each primary to its adjacent secondary colors, completing the color spectrum. This comprehensive wheel is invaluable for selecting harmonious color combinations.


Tertiary colors bring nuance, vibrancy, and shade to color palettes. The 10 principal tertiary hues – created by mixing primary and secondary colors – are red-orange, yellow-orange, yellow-green, blue-green, blue-violet, red-violet, orange-red, yellow-orange, green-yellow, and violet-blue. Tertiary colors exhibit qualities of both their constituent colors and convey a rich array of moods and meanings. They are useful for shading, gradients, color schemes, design, art, and much more. By mastering how to blend primary and secondary paints, you can utilize tertiaries for more dynamic and harmonious color effects.