Deb Joseph
Art and Design Educator

Color Theory Project: construction of a personal color wheel.

Project Published 9/2/13 Last updated on 5/30/19

This, Color Theory Project, is part of a series of projects related to the elements and principles of Art and Design.
The Focus is Color. Students examine the nature of subtractive and additive color. Discover the difference between CMYK & RGB color spectrums and their purposes. Students construct a color wheel chart in Adobe Illustrator and customize a color panel to include the following hues: primary, secondary, tertiary, tints, shades, complementary, monochromatic and analogous.

Students also explore the psychological aspects of color and the way we perceive color and it’s meaning, in preparation for a later project.

Age Levels
1+ Week
Custom Standards
CC Key Ideas and Details 3. Follow precisely a complex multistep procedure when carrying out experiments,taking measurements, or performing technical tasks, attending to special cases or exceptions defined in the text. (adjusted for grade levels 9-10; 11-12) CC Craft and Structure 4. Determine the meaning of symbols, key terms and other domain-specific words and phrases as they are used in a specific scientific or technical context relevant to grades 9-10 and grades 11-12.
Research and Information Fluency, Technology Operations and Concepts, Critical Thinking Problem Solving and Decision Making

Computer Lab. 



Adobe Illustrator (created in CS 5)

This is part of a sequential series of projects guiding students through the Elements and Principles of Art and Design or the Art Components. Students are not totally new to Adobe Illustrator when they tackle this color wheel construction chart - This is about 8 weeks into the program. (They've covered Line, Shape, Positive Negative Space, Tessellations (patterns) already)

CC License
5 / 5 • 20 Ratings

Resources (5)

or Join for free to access materials
File Size

Comments (18)

Write a reply...
or Join for free to view all comments and participate in the discussion.

Shafiq Rehman

Posted on 9/1/19 12:31:18 AM Permalink

Great Resource Thanks for Sharing Joseph

William Cortez

Posted on 5/27/19 4:14:00 PM Permalink

Hi Deb! This is a remarkable project. The students will be actively involved in constructing their own color wheel.​

Christof Schnell

Posted on 5/16/19 2:42:22 PM Permalink

Thank you for sharing.

Have a great day.

Carly Manhart

Posted on 4/4/19 6:14:07 AM Permalink

​Hey this is great! Love the idea of having students make a color wheel. I also notice you use Schoology. I use Schoology as well and I totally love it!

Monica Criswell

Posted on 2/18/19 5:12:54 PM Permalink

​I love this lesson plan & plan on using it soon with my graphic design class! Many of the lessons I've seen don't have an actual plan or steps, so I appreciate this one provides those details. My students are learning composition & have been struggling with color theory, so this will be applicable.

Emma Deering

Posted on 11/24/18 7:32:41 AM Permalink

Love this lesson plan, I have just been trying to construct a colour wheel as part of the motion graphics course & I wish I had found this sooner! I will definitely use with my students, thank you​

Javier Piraquive Calderón

Posted on 11/9/18 2:27:24 AM Permalink

Hello Deb, thank you very much for sharing your content class.

George Brooks

Posted on 9/9/18 12:13:32 PM Permalink

I will be using this lesson plan to teach my IA31 Digital Media-I high school students about the many aspect of colors. Thanks for sharing.

Melissa Garcia

Posted on 6/26/18 7:52:45 PM Permalink

​Are there updated instructions for ipad adobe apps??

Tarek Bahaa El Deen

Posted on 9/4/16 10:52:28 AM Permalink

Really it's very helpful resource
I appreciate your work, thank you for sharing

Bola Akintoye

Posted on 9/16/13 6:29:17 PM Permalink

Thank you very much for sharing. I love the way you have incorporated Illustrator. The possibilities for creativity really are endless.

Deb Joseph

Posted on 9/24/13 2:34:00 AM Permalink

Thank you!

marni leikin

Posted on 9/16/13 6:18:24 PM Permalink

thanks so much! love that it incorporates building swatches and palettes. Can you post the worksheet you mention that would be used in conjunction with the great (really fantastic!) web link you included?

Deb Joseph

Posted on 12/8/13 6:31:02 PM Permalink

I'm glad you like it. I just finished the unit in my course a few weeks ago. I thought I could add the handout here... I'll try to add on to the resources above. Thanks!

Matt Cauthron

Posted on 9/14/13 2:35:11 PM Permalink

Looks like a great (and detailed) way to build the wheel and exercise Illustrator skills!

Deb Joseph

Posted on 9/24/13 2:34:55 AM Permalink

Thanks Matt.

Stephen Spicer

Posted on 9/6/13 1:22:07 PM Permalink

Thanks for this, saved me a lot of time.

Deb Joseph

Posted on 9/24/13 2:35:17 AM Permalink

Oh good! Happy for that.