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Color Terminology: Hues, Tints, Shades, and Tones


You may have used the words hue, tint, tone, and shade to describe color, but you might not be aware they each have a very specific meaning. Each of these terms describe individual color mixing processes and they are all vital in understanding the differences between colors.

Hues: Hues describe a pure color that is found on the color wheel and has had nothing added to it to change its properties.

Tints: Tints are created when white is added to any hue on the color wheel. This process lightens and desaturates the hue.

Tones: Tones are created when grey is added to a color. The final tone depends on the amount of black and white used, and tones may be lighter or darker than the original hue.

Shades: Shades are created when black is added to any hue found on the color wheel. This process darkens the hue and creates a more intense color.

Taking the time to learn about the differences in hues, tints, tones, and shades is important for understanding color in design. Dunn Edwards offers a wide variety of paint colors and can help customize a color to meet your specific design needs.

Visit the Dunn Edwards website for more help understanding color in design. We are proud of our commitment to helping homeowners bring their design dreams to life.