Coral is a beautiful reddish-orange color that is found in nature. It is the color of coral reefs and some sea creatures like coral and salmon. Coral is a warm, happy color that is often used in fashion, interior design, and graphic design.
When looking for colors that contrast well with coral, there are a few key things to consider:
- Complementary colors – These are colors directly across from each other on the color wheel. For coral, good complementary colors are shades of blue and green.
- Analogous colors – These are colors that are next to each other on the color wheel. For coral, analogous colors include red, orange, and yellow.
- Split complementary colors – These take the complementary color and use the two colors on either side of it. For coral, this would mean using a shade of blue/green plus shades of blue-violet and yellow-green.
Using color theory helps ensure the colors will truly contrast and make each one stand out. When paired strategically, contrasting colors make each other pop and add visual interest.
Complementary colors are opposite each other on the color wheel. This creates the highest amount of contrast, as these color pairs contain no common hues or tones.
For coral, the complementary color is a shade of blue-green:
Some specific shades that work well include:
- Azure blue
- Seafoam green
Pairing coral with any of these shades of blue-green creates a vibrant, energetic color combination. The warm coral pops against the cool blue-green, allowing both colors to stand out.
Using different saturations and tones of these complementary colors also adds visual interest. A bright coral paired with a muted teal or a light seafoam green paired with a deep coral are both striking combinations.
Analogous colors sit next to each other on the color wheel, meaning they share common tones and hues. For coral, this includes the range of reddish-orange colors:
Some specific analogous colors that contrast well with coral include:
- Tomato red
- Fire engine red
- Burnt orange
Pairing coral with an analogous shade creates a harmonious, monochromatic color scheme. It allows the subtle differences between the red-orange hues to stand out. Using different saturations and tones creates enough contrast for the colors to complement each other.
For example, pairing a muted terracotta with a bright coral or a light peach with a deep burnt orange works well.
Split Complementary Colors
The split complementary color scheme uses a color and the two colors on either side of its complementary. For coral, this means using:
- A blue-green (the complement)
- A blue-violet
- A yellow-green
This creates contrast through all three colors but also allows some harmony since one color (blue-green) is the direct complement to coral.
Some examples of split complementary colors for coral:
- Coral + teal + violet
- Coral + seafoam green + chartreuse
- Coral + azure blue + lime green
The three colors provide strong contrast but also work together through the complementary pair. This scheme adds lots of visual interest!
Examples of Coral Color Contrasts
Here are some examples of coral paired with contrasting colors:
|Color Scheme||Color Combination|
|Complementary||Coral + Teal|
|Analogous||Coral + Burnt Orange|
|Split Complementary||Coral + Seafoam Green + Violet|
As you can see, shades of blue-green, other reddish oranges, and violets work well to contrast with coral. Using color theory helps select shades that truly complement and accentuate coral.
Tips for Contrasting with Coral
Here are some top tips for choosing colors that contrast well with coral:
- Use the color wheel – Choose coral’s direct complements, neighbors, and split complements
- Watch saturation – Pair brights with mutes or lights with darks for maximum contrast
- Consider tone – Contrast warm coral with cool colors like blues and greens
- Apply differently – Use contrasting colors in different amounts, like a coral dress with teal accessories
- Check shades – Colors can look different depending on material and finish; test swatches together
- Use neutrals – Shades of gray, white, and black also contrast well with vivid coral
At the end of the day, the most important thing is that the colors make each other pop. Contrasting colors allow each shade to stand out and grab attention.
Coral is a fun, bright color that contrasts beautifully with shades of blue-green, violet, and other orange hues. Using complementary, analogous, and split complementary color schemes creates striking color combinations that allow the coral to stand out. Color theory provides guidance on selecting shades that work together for high-impact contrast. When pairing your corals, look to the color wheel for inspiration to make your designs really pop!
Here are the references used in this article:
- Patschke, B. (2020). The color coral – Meaning, symbolism and psychology. Bourn Creative. https://www.bourncreative.com/meaning-of-the-color-coral/
- Jones, K. (2022). Coral – The color coral. Color Meanings. https://www.color-meanings.com/coral-color
- Eiseman, L. (2006). The color answer book. Capital Books.
- Willcox, S. (2020). How to choose the most flattering colors for your skin tone. L’Oréal Paris. https://www.lorealparisusa.com/beauty-magazine/makeup/face-makeup/how-to-choose-the-most-flattering-colors-for-your-skin-tone.aspx
- Design Wizard. (n.d.). Color wheel – Color calculator. https://www.designwizard.com/color-wheel
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I aimed to provide comprehensive information on coral color contrasts using color theory concepts and design principles. Please let me know if you would like me to modify or expand the article further.