the 12 RGB
C O L O R S
the 3 Primary the 3 Secondary and the 6 Tertiary Colors

Perhaps you have learned in school that the three primary colors are red, yellow and blue. Actually that was based on a system that goes back centuries and even to this day, artists still use these as their primary colors. However, in the 20th century, color theory was examined scientifically and the primary colors are now known to be red, green (actually lime or electric green) and blue because their wavelengths are spread more evenly across the visible light spectrum.

Pictured above is a graphic displaying red, lime and blue as the 3 primary colors (along with their HTML hexadecimal codes). These are called additive primary colors because they are the primary colors of light which explains why mixing any combination of these will always produce a brighter color. Because these are the primary colors of light, these 3 colors are used for televisions and computer monitors.

Incidentally, in HTML, colors are displayed by using 6 digit hexadecimal (base 16) numbers. The first 2 digits control how much red to display, the third and fourth digits are the amount of green and the fifth and sixth digits determine the amount of blue to display. Looking at the above graphic, we see the hexadecimal code for red is FF0000. As we stated, the first 2 digits "FF" control the amount of red. Since "FF" is the largest 2 digit hexadecimal number, that means it will display the full amount of red. The green and blue digits are all zero so that means this displayed color will have zero amounts of green and blue. You can see how this holds true by looking at the other 2 hexadecimal color codes.

You probably noticed that mixing these three colors produces three additional colors (called secondary colors):

 red and lime = yellow red and blue = magenta lime and blue = cyan
 We now will post another graphic showing these 3 secondary colors, with their HTML hexadecimal codes. Subtractive Primary Colors These are called subtractive primary colors because mixing any combination of these will always produce a darker color. These are also known as secondary colors. As a quick example, look at the toner cartridges inside your prtinter. No doubt you saw cartridges for yellow, magenta and cyan (along with a cartridge for black). You probably noticed that mixing these three subtractive primary colors produces the three additive primary colors:

 yellow and magenta = red yellow and cyan = lime cyan and magenta = blue

Now let's see what happens when we combine the above 2 graphics.

The Six Tertiary Colors

Combining the 3 Primary Colors with the 3 Secondary Colors produces 6 tertiary colors:

 red and yellow = orange yellow and lime = chartreuse lime and cyan = spring green cyan and blue = azure blue and magenta = violet magenta and red = bright pink (or rose)
 * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * The two tables below neatly summarize this web page. RGB Primary, Secondary & Tertiary Colors

 Color NameCommentsHEX Code Primary, Secondary and Tertiary Colors    In   The   Following   Order      RED       BRIGHT PINK     MAGENTA     VIOLET           BLUE     AZURE    CYAN     SPRING GREEN     GREEN     CHARTREUSE     YELLOW     ORANGE RED Primary color #FF0000 ROSE / BRIGHT PINK Tertiary color #FF0080 MAGENTA (FUCHSIA) Secondary color #FF00FF VIOLET Tertiary color #8800FF BLUE Primary color #0000FF AZURE Tertiary color #0088FF CYAN (AQUA) Secondary color #00FFFF SPRING GREEN Tertiary color #00FF88 GREEN (LIME) Primary color #00FF00 CHARTREUSE Tertiary color #88FF00 YELLOW Secondary color #FFFF00 ORANGE Tertiary color #FF8800

 Color NameCommentsHEX Code Primary, Secondary and Tertiary Colors    IN   ORDER   BY   HEX   Code    From 0000FF to FFFF00 BLUE Primary color #0000FF AZURE Tertiary color #0088FF GREEN (LIME) Primary color #00FF00 SPRING GREEN Tertiary color #00FF88 CYAN (AQUA) Secondary color #00FFFF VIOLET Tertiary color #8800FF CHARTREUSE Tertiary color #88FF00 RED Primary color #FF0000 ROSE / BRIGHT PINK Tertiary color #FF0088 MAGENTA (FUCHSIA) Secondary color #FF00FF ORANGE Tertiary color #FF8800 YELLOW Secondary color #FFFF00