This is a repost of an article I published on Tumblr in 2017. As many things I publish there, it was written somewhat extemporaneously, but it stood out as something I wanted to eventually import here.
There are really two color theories, the scientific theory of color perception, and the aesthetic theory of choosing color palettes.
The former is quite interesting, containing some surprising facts: yellow is the brightest color, many shades of green can’t be produced by modern displays, white is defined arbitrarily.
The latter is a hodgepodge of various historical ideas and a collection of overgeneralized advice. When I’ve read about aesthetic color theory online my impression is that much of it is either already taught to children or else it is not very good. Here is my attempt to identify some non-bullshit principles of color theory.