Newton’s Colour Wheel is a scientific tool used to explore the relationships between different colours, and it’s been used by interior designers for centuries to create visually exciting interiors. In this blog post, we’ll explore what the colour wheel is, how it works, and how you can use it to help create exciting interiors in your own home.
The origins of the Newton’s Colour Wheel was first realised by Sir Isaac Newton in 1666. His experiments with refraction of light resulted in the discovery of seven spectral colours: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and violet. He arranged these colours around the edge of a circle, creating the first known colour wheel. Today, you can use colour wheel resources to help you explore the science behind colours and their relationships.
The three primary colours in Newton’s Colour Wheel
The colour wheel consists of three primary colours: red, blue, and yellow. These are the fundamental building blocks of any colour combination. By mixing these three primaries, you can create a range of secondary colours and tertiary hues. It’s important to note that mixing two primary colours will create a secondary colour while mixing two secondary colours will create a tertiary colour.
To get started with our Newton’s Colour Wheel, you first need to practice spinning the wheel on a hard, smooth surface – such as a desk or table. Remove all of the paper discs until just the wheel alone is ready. Hold the raised knurl between your thumb and forefinger and move them quickly with your thumb moving towards the centre of your body and the forefinger moving in the opposite direction while also applying downward force. As soon as the disc begins to move then release it from your grip. The finger and thumb movement will set the disk spinning and the downforce will keep it spinning in one place. Practise a few times until you can spin the disk well clockwise and anti-clockwise. Now you are ready to use the different disc patterns that are supplied.
What is ‘Sheridan’s Disc’
We would suggest that you begin with our unique ‘Sheridan’s Disc’ designed and conceived in-house. It is the one where the primary colours of art are found next to each other. Green will be missing as this is an art primary colour but not a science primary colour. Green will quickly return as other secondary colours to the art spectrum also appear. Watch the primary colours return as the disc spin rate slows.
Why are the Primary Colours of Art and Science Different?
The primary colours of art pre-date the scientific discoveries of Newton and are officially known as the Pigment Primary Colours. Early artists found the easiest way to get green was to mix blue and yellow. You would, at first think, that it is strange as green is probably the most common in the natural world. However, if you fall on grass in your new white shorts the stain is yellow and blue – perhaps edged with green but not in any way the main colour created.
The primary colours of science come from the discovery that we just have three colour cones in our eyes – red, green and blue. They can be found in the back of the eye in an area called Fovea.
An interesting effect that can be observed with our Newton’s Colour Wheel proves the veracity of RGB as the true primary colours. This can be observed when you spin the RGB disc fast – with resultant colour of white – whereas the same spin rate on the RYB disc has a resultant colour of pale yellow.
What you See is not What you Get (A non-verbal reasoning test)
You will have already seen that what our see is often what is printed on the disc. There is almost no greater proof of this than by spinning the disc with the straight lines. The resultant shapes produced are not what most people expect – some can guess right – the ones with exceptional non-verbal reasoning skills. You are going have to order your own to try this one.
Can There Be More?
Yes there can be more. There are eight different discs that we have printed each with a slightly different effect but we are aware that one these will be your least favourite and we invite you to create your own design and create your own version of ‘Sheridan’s Disc’. Post it and tag us @sciencemeetsmagic to win prizes.