Is RYB and the color wheel
relevant for modern times?
The RYB color wheel, rooted in historical pigment limitations,
does not capture the entire color spectrum.
The RYB color wheel, a staple in traditional art, may be outdated for contemporary design. Today's digital and print media benefit from advanced color spaces which can represent the full color spectrum visible to the human eye.
Constrained by Pigments
Since inception, artists have been constrained by the pigments they could get their hands on. This lead to the adoption of RYB as primary colors in art and education, since nearly any color can be mixed out of them. However, RYB fails to reflect the full spectrum of colors, and mixing often dulls their vibrancy. Special pigments are still required for flashy colors, and new ones continue to be discovered today.
CMYK — the uncredited successor to RYB?
Even deciding what constitutes a true red, yellow or blue can be problematic. The CMYK model, utilizing specific cyan, magenta, yellow, and black inks, emerges as a more accurate alternative to RYB. CMYK aligns closer with the true primary colors for subtractive color mixing, enabling a broader and more precise color spectrum for physical mediums, vital for complex designs and photorealistic prints.
The Color Wheel Is A Good Start
RYB and the color wheel are great introductory tools, and the color wheel can still be useful as a visual aid for exploring relationships between colors. However, advancing to modern models is essential for greater accuracy and versatility.
Modern color models break down colors into precise measures like hue, saturation, chroma, luminance, etc. They enable accurate color reproduction and facilitate more precise color matching, mixing and manipulation.
In the next lesson, we will start to look into newer color spaces and how they can benefit your designs.