Difference between Hue and Color

It is certainly not an easy job to tell the difference between hue and colour. Though, they are the same to some extent but still some basic differences set them apart. However, most of the people get confused and fail to differentiate. Only those who have deeper knowledge of basic colour cycle can tell the actual difference.

No matter if you are a painter, a visual artist or a designer, you must know the properties and characteristics of these things. You should know what the primary colours are and which one falls in the category of secondary colours. Similarly, you must know the difference between colour, hue, shade, tone etc.

Hue is the basic element of the colour wheel. It refers to a pure colour that does not have any shade or tint. On the other hand, colours can be divided into different categories such as primary, secondary and tertiary colours. To simplify it, you can say that hue is the root colour whereas a simple colour can be a by product of a blend.

Every colour has a value which is the relative lightness or darkness of the colour. Though, hue also has value but it is less than a colour. Hue makes it easy for a designer to define colour quality. You can give someone else the exact idea of the colour even if you are not in front of that person. However, you must know the system to classify the hue.


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    The Oxford dictionary defines colour as “sensation produced on eye by rays of light when resolved as by prism into different wavelengths.” To simplify it, we may say that a colour is appearance of an object due to the rays of light. All colours are divided into three basic categories, primary, secondary and tertiary. Red, Blue and Yellow belong to former category and if you mix these colours in right proportion then we will get secondary colours. Similarly, if you will mix primary and secondary colours then the product will be a tertiary colour. The experts of this field have been working on their psychological implications and they have developed a theory on that. For instance, Red represents passion, emotion and excitement. Yellow carry the energy, modernism and optimism whereas orange is colour of warmness, friendliness and openness. Designers, painters and other visual artists keep these things in mind while creating a piece of art.

    - Image Courtesy: designingfortheweb.co.uk

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    As described earlier, Hue is referred as the basic colour which does not have any shade or tint. Technically speaking, it has a lower value.

    - Image Courtesy: designingfortheweb.co.uk

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