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5 Examples of Color Saturation

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Saturation is the intensity of a color. This is judged independently of the color's surroundings. The concept of saturation is typically described as a scale that ranges from intense to dull.


Colors that are free of tinting with white or shading with black are fully saturated. Another way to state this is that color saturation is freedom from grey color.

Spectral Color

Spectral colors are colors that correspond to a pure wavelength of light. These are all perfectly saturated and intense.

Color Mixes

When you mix spectral colors, the result can be fully saturated. For example, mixing red and blue can produce a vibrant purple. However, mixing complementary colors that are very dissimilar tends to produce a greyish or brownish color that isn't saturated.

Color Surroundings

Saturation is judged independently of background. For example, yellow is a fully saturated color even through it may not look too colorful on a white background due to its lightness.

Saturation vs Brightness

Saturation is freedom from white and black in a color. Brightness is the actual amount of light reflected by a color. Light colors that have been mixed with white can be extremely bright but are unsaturated. For example, pastel colors are bright but have low color saturation. White itself is the brightest of all colors that perfectly reflects all wavelengths of light but is also perfectly unsaturated.
Overview: Color Saturation
The intensity of a color judged independently of its surroundings.
Intense to Dull
Related Concepts

Color Theory

This is the complete list of articles we have written about color theory.
Analogous Color
Color Combinations
Color Depth
Color Harmony
Color is Real
Color Perception
Color Purity
Color Saturation
Color Scheme
Color Space
Color Symbolism
Color Temperature
Complementary Colors
Corporate Colors
Heat Map
Impossible Colors
Monochromatic Color
Primary Colors
Rainbow Colors
Spectral Color
Tints And Shades
Visible Spectrum
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