Tria Colour Space

Download your Printable Colour Chart Here
Tria Colour WheelThe Tria Colour Space is based on a universally accepted colour model - HSL.

HSL stands for Hue, Saturation and Luminosity - the three basic elements used for determining any colour.

These elements can be shown as a three dimensional diagram. The Hue scale goes around the outer edge, with Saturation on the horizontal axis and Luminosity on the vertical.

HSL uses the same bases as human colour perception. It's naturally intuitive - a way to actually navigate and manipulate colour.

Colour SwatchesTria colours are easy to identify and control - each reference tells you the HSL levels for that colour. There's no guess work, you know exactly what you're going to get.

One of the best ways to understand Tria Colour References is to use the markers themselves - see for yourself how different values give different results.

Using HSL to select Tria Markers
Colour Picker

Before we get to the numbers, the most important part of the Tria reference is the alpha/letter at the beggning. The alpha reference tells you which colour group the marker is in: Red, Yellow, Green, Cyan, Blue, Violet or Magenta.

Colour WheelAfter the alpha reference there are three numbers. The first number you see in the reference identifies the Hue - You can use the colour wheel (available to download below) to clearly identify where the reference sits within the colour wheel. In the illustrated example we can see the lower the first number - the closer to magenta the red becomes, and the higher the number - the closer to orange the red appears. If you were looking for a strong red you would need to look for the first reference number to sit in the middle, for example R555
Colour PickerThe second number shows the colour saturation. By keeping this number the same (or simular) in your choice of Tria markers you will keep the 'depth' or 'mood' of your illustration the same.

In the adjacent example you can see by choosing a marker with a low second number the colour appears more dull and almost 'grey' (de-saturated). The second colour appears very strong or vivid because it is more highly saturated.

Colour PickerThe final number in the Tria reference is probably the reference most of us are familiar with - this digit determines how light or dark the colour is, known as the 'luminosity'.

In the example we can see how a low number appears dark and 'dirty', whereas a high number makes the colour very pale or 'pastel'.

Now we're familiar with Tria referencing we can easily see in this example that the colours look a little dull (they don't 'pop' like the R666 reference above!) - meaning that the saturation must be low, the reference shows the colour saturation is only '3'. We can also see that the two colour dots look a little pink, this must mean that they have a low hue? - looking at the reference numbers inside the colour dots we can confirm that they only have a hue number '4' putting the colour closer to the Magenta segment on the colour wheel. Now you understand the Tria HSL referencing system you're ready to choose your own colour palette ...


Colour ReferenceThe Tria Colour Wheel explains Tria Colour Referencing more fully.

Download your Printable Colour Wheel here

Colour PickerHSL is represented as numerical values - meaning accurate colour specification that can be interpreted by a computer.

Most graphic software applications use HSL, so by sharing this method, the Tria colour space works alongside the digital design process.

Download your digital Tria Swatch. The Tria swatch is compatible with Illustrator PC/MAC and Adobe Photoshop PC/MAC.

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