Color wheel

A color wheel, or color circle, is a chart representing a palette of colors in a circle. A color wheel can display colors identified by two polar coordinates, the angle and the distance from the origin, the circle's center.

Color wheels are convenient for comparing colors expressed in polar or cylindrical coordinates, like hsl(), hwb(), or lch().

In such cases, complementary colors are often found opposite on the same diameter. Similarly, monochromatic colors – colors of the same tone but of different shades – are located on the same radius, and triadic colors – three colors evenly spaced around the color wheel that lead to colors that work well together – are also easy to find.

Color wheels are used in real life when we want to choose between different hues. For example, when selecting wall paint or the color for a piece furniture.

In the digital world, color wheels are used in color pickers, like the default one on macOS: The default color picker on macOS Monterey

See also