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What is the opposite of teal on the color wheel?

What is the opposite of teal on the color wheel?

The opposite of any color on the color wheel is the color located directly across from it. The color wheel arranges colors into a circle based on their hue and relationship to each other. Complementary colors are color pairs that are opposite each other on the wheel. When placed side-by-side, complementary colors create a strong contrast and make each other appear more vibrant. This contrast is an important design principle in color theory. So to find the opposite of teal, we just need to look at the color wheel and find the color on the opposite side.

Locating Teal on the Color Wheel

Teal is a blue-green color that falls somewhere between blue and green on the color wheel. More specifically, it falls around the area where the cool blues transition into the brighter greens. The exact position of teal can vary slightly depending on the specific hue. But in general, it lands close to the 180° mark when the wheel is oriented with red at 0° and the rest of the rainbow colors following in order.

So if teal falls near 180°, its complement will be located close to 0°, on the opposite side of the wheel in the red-orange range. The precise complementary color is called vermilion.

Vermilion – The Complement of Teal

Vermilion sits almost exactly opposite teal at approximately 0° to 5° on the color wheel. It is a warm, vibrant red-orange that provides a striking contrast against the cool blue-green teal.

Vermilion is sometimes likened to cinnabar, the natural red-orange mineral mercury sulfide. This semi-precious stone has been used historically as a pigment to create the bold vermilion color.

The name “vermilion” dates back thousands of years and comes from the Latin word “vermiculus”, meaning little worm. This refers to the red-orange color of the Kermes dye that was produced from scale insects that fed on oak trees.

So in summary, vermilion is the direct complement of teal on the color wheel. It contrasts beautifully with teal due to its vivid reddish-orange hue.

Key Characteristics of Vermilion

Let’s look more closely at some of the key characteristics that define the vermilion color:

  • Hue – Red-orange
  • Hex Code – #E34234
  • RGB values – (227, 66, 52)
  • CMYK values – (0, 71, 77, 11)
  • Warm, saturated, and highly intense
  • Located at 0° to 5° on the color wheel
  • Direct complement to teal on opposite side of wheel
  • Creates strong contrast when paired with teal
  • Has historical ties as a pigment color

These specifications help precisely define the vermilion shade that complements teal. The hex code, RGB, and CMYK values provide the exact color mix. And its position opposite teal on the wheel along with the striking visual contrast between the two colors confirms that vermilion is the true complementary color.

Showing the Color Contrast

Here is a table showing squares of teal and vermilion side-by-side to demonstrate the strong visual contrast created by these complementary colors:

Teal Vermilion

You can clearly see how the warm, intense vermilion makes the cool teal appear even more vibrant and saturated. This type of color contrast is very useful in design. Complementary color schemes help certain elements stand out and create eye-catching compositions.

Using Teal and Vermilion Together

There are several ways these complementary colors can be used together effectively:

  • Using vermilion accents on a teal background
  • Teal headers or titles on vermilion backgrounds
  • Bordered elements with teal borders on vermilion and vice versa
  • Signage using opposite colors for maximum contrast
  • Complementary colored patterns and decorative elements

Vermilion draws attention and livens up teal when used sparingly as an accent color. Teal has a stabilizing effect and makes vermilion pop when used as a frame or border. Together, they create a bold, lively color scheme.

Other Complementary Color Schemes

Teal and vermilion demonstrate just one example of a complementary color scheme. Other common pairs include:

  • Red and green
  • Orange and blue
  • Yellow and purple

These also represent vivid color contrasts from opposite sides of the color wheel. For example, orange at about 30° complements blue at 210°. Mixing together complementary colors actually produces a neutral gray color. So these color opposites counterbalance each other.

Designers should consider complementary schemes when a vibrant look is desired. But be aware these bold color contrasts can be jarring when overused. Complementary colors are best when balanced with neutrals and used thoughtfully in moderation.

The Psychology of Complementary Colors

Complementary color pairing isn’t just visually striking – it also creates an interesting psychological effect. The contrast seems to produce a vibrating optical effect that grabs attention.

Using complementaries also elicits both halves of the brain simultaneously. The colors are processed by opposite hemispheres. This creates sense of whole-brain stimulation that viewers find pleasing.

And color theory suggests viewing complementaries helps the eyes and brain “reset”, relieving visual tension. The opposites counterbalance rather than compete with each other.

So vermilion and teal have a psychologically stimulating and attention-getting effect when combined. This reinforces the importance of color theory in design.

Alternatives to Strict Complements

While true complements provide the maximum contrast, analogous variants can also work well. Analagous colors sit next to each other on the color wheel, providing less contrast but more harmony.

For teal, analogous alternatives to vermilion include:

  • Red-violet
  • Magenta
  • Rose

These analogous complements will be less jarring but still complement teal nicely. Color harmony and tone should guide complementary color choices for a specific design.


In summary, the direct complement to teal on the color wheel is vermilion. This vivid red-orange color contrasts strongly with teal to create eye-catching compositions. Vermilion makes an ideal accent when combined carefully with teal backgrounds or frames.

Complementary color schemes provide bold visual contrast by pairing direct opposites. Besides teal and vermilion, common complements include red/green and orange/blue. Mixing complements actually produces gray.

And complementary colors have a psychologically stimulating effect, engaging both halves of the brain. But bold complements should be balanced with plenty of neutrals for best results. With thoughtful use, they can make designs really pop!