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Open Access What is the “Opposite” of “Blue”? The Language of Color Wheels

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Abstract

A color wheel is a tool for ordering and understanding hue. Different color wheels differ in the spacing of the colors around the wheel. The opponent-color theory, Munsell’s color system, the standard printer’s primaries, the artist’s primaries, and Newton’s rainbow all present different variations of the color wheel. I show that some of this variation is owing to imprecise use of language, based on Berlin and Kay’s theory of basic color names. I also show that the artist’s color wheel is an outlier that does not match well to the technical color wheels because its principal colors are so strongly connected to the basic color names.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: June 1, 2019

This article was made available online on May 21, 2019 as a Fast Track article with title: "What is the ‘‘Opposite’’ of ‘‘Blue’’? The Language of Color Wheels".

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