Flick through virtually any magazine at the moment and you will see swathes of highly saturated blocks of colour. The new season has unleashed a zealous appetite for “bolder the better” punchy, highly chromatic colours feeding our need for something new for spring.
However, you will discover that if you work with a selection of unrelated hues your brain will take a moment or two to digest the information it views. So tricky in fact that your eye will go back for a second or third time to scan the palette. This effect leaves the brain feeling a little uncomfortable and the palette feels disjointed and somehow wrong.
Don’t worry though because you can stabilize the palette by simply repeating one of the hues (as often as possible) which allows the brain to make sense of your selection much faster. Repeating a hue seems to create order and allows the brain to feel at ease. It is exactly the same trick a composer uses when writing an orchestral piece. A melody or chorus will be repeated throughout the composition to give it order and allow the piece to flow.
Repeating a neutral throughout your scheme of strong hues will also serve as a unifying vehicle throughout the project and is the best way to rest the eye amongst the vibrant colours.
I find that a true neutral grey i.e an achromatic grey (one devoid of chroma) allows you to go pretty wild with your colour selection while at the same time retaining that all important sense of order.