Form balance and colour are fundamental to the success of a kite design. A useful starting point to creating a harmonious scheme is the twelve part colour circle, opposite. It establishes the development of colours from the primaries - red, yellow, blue; and the secondary colours - violet, green, orange.

In the example below colour harmony has been achieved by using analogous colours - those which lie next to each other on the colour circle.
colour circle
By introducing a strongly contrasting colour from the opposite side of the colour circle, such as blue, the overall effect becomes far more lively. Complementary colours exert the greatest changes in appearance and intensity on each other.

The proportional use of colour, that is the amount of any single colour included within a scheme in comparison to other colours, plays a large part in determining the final appearance.
An achromatic colour scheme, one consisting only of black and white, can have particularly striking qualities. Either by using negative and positive shapes or by creating visual rhythms and graphic illusion.
Subtle hues can be used side by side to create depth. In much the same way as looking at a distant landscape reveals paler hues in contrast to more strongly defined areas nearby. For the kite maker layers of ripstop nylon can be overlapped to create subtle changes. Layering can also result in colours with greater saturation and opacity.
Of real significance is the effect of colour interaction. This is the way in which a hue will appear to change when surrounded by different coloured backgrounds. To understand this place a small area of red on a green background, then observe the same red on a white. You will notice that the red appears to have been modified. This effect is known as simultaneous contrast - the increase or decrease in intensity and hue of colours when they are perceived in adjacent positions.
Working with colour schemes is very subjective and ultimately taste is a matter of personal preference. When designing kites I have drawn inspiration for colour from the work of many artists including Josef Albers, Victor Vasarely, Patrick Heron and Bridget Riley.
night sounds kite
optica kite
Certain colours can create a greater sense of space and depth. For example the changing colours of mountains as they merge into the sky demonstrates the distancing effects of blue, grey and violet. By contrast colours such as red, orange and yellow can appear to advance towards the eye. Generally bright colours foreshorten whilst pale colours give depth.
Colour combinations which include black and/or white achieve dramatic graphic impact. Black can give a kite a strong visual presence in the sky.