red and green fashion design

What Color Does Red and Green Make? – A Surprising Color Mix

What will happen if you mix red and green? You might be surprised by the outcome. Not only can results vary according to the color model you use, but it can also depend on the types and brands of red and green paint used. In this article, we are going to dig a little deeper to find out what happens when red and green are combined. Let us get started!



What Color Does Red and Green Make?

The answer to this question can be complicated. To make it easier to understand, it depends on the color model you are using. So, a combination of red and green can either produce a shade of brown or gray, or it can create the color yellow. What colors does red and green make? When dealing with this question, we will be mostly discussing how this is done using the more traditional color mode, which is mainly used for painting. However, we will also briefly look into the other options as well.

So, keeping with this, green and red mixed creates a shade of brown.

However, there are also many different types of browns you can mix. Below is a basic graphic example of a combination of red and green, which might produce colors that look different than if you are mixing paint colors.  

red and green makes brown

Shade Hex CodeCMYK Color Code (%)RGB Color CodeColor
Red#ff00000, 100, 100, 0255, 0, 0 
Green#008000100, 0, 100, 500, 128, 0 
Brown#8040000, 50, 100, 50128, 64, 0 



Red ShadeGreen ShadeMixed Color



Understanding Red and Green As Colors

Before we get into how to mix red and green, let us look at each color separately to see where everything fits in. To do this, you should learn all about color theory. As we have mentioned, we are going to be referring more to the traditional color system, which is what most of us have learned at school when learning to paint. So, you should then know your primary and secondary colors. This includes red, yellow, and blue, and then orange, green, and purple. All these colors can then be placed on a color wheel, which simply helps us visualize the colors. The colors are also placed strategically on the color wheel, and in this manner, you can then see how each color relates to every other color to form color combinations.

Red is a primary color that is important because you cannot blend any other colors to create red. Red is also a warm color, along with yellow, and orange. Green is a secondary hue that is produced by blending two of the primary colors.

So, green is made by blending blue and yellow. Even though yellow forms part of green, in general, green is seen as a cool color along with blue and purple. However, if more yellow is added to the mix, you can produce a warmer green. There are also intermediate colors, also often referred to as tertiary colors, which are a blend of the primary and secondary colors. For example, blue-green or red-orange. There are also many other color terms you might encounter, some of the more common ones include the following.

red and green bedroom design

  • Hue: The word “hue” is a term to describe a specific color. Hue and color are often used interchangeably, but the word “color” is more of a general term.
  • Saturation: This is when the color has intensity, so a highly saturated color will be bright and vibrant. A low saturated hue will be seen as dull.
  • Shade and tint: When black is added to a color to create a darker hue, it creates a shade. Add white to the mix, and you will create a tint.
  • Tone: You can change the tone of a hue by adding gray, which makes the hue seem less vibrant.


Meaning of Red

Red is a warm and fiery color that is often associated with passion, blood, and danger. It is also an energetic color that can be perceived as strong and motivating. Red can also be seen as a stimulating color that is also eye-catching and confident. In places like China, red is seen as a symbol of happiness and luck. On the negative side, red can be seen as aggressive and is associated with anger and revenge.


Meaning of Green

Green is not surprisingly associated with nature, considering all the green trees and leaves. Green is a cool and invigorating color that is also closely associated with health, growth, and new life. Green also symbolizes balance and harmony and is seen as a color for luck and prosperity. Colors do not always mean the same thing in other cultures. For example, green is seen as a symbol of death in certain South American cultures.

Negatively, green is also the color of jealousy and materialism.



Mixing Red and Green Paint

As we have mentioned, there is more than one color model. When mixing paints, it is the traditional color model, which makes use of subtractive color mixing. If you take paint that contains pigments and you mix them on a surface like paper, some colors will be absorbed, while others are reflected.

Green and red mixed create a brown color. How does this happen? When going back to color theory and the color wheel, when looking at the color wheel, red and green fall on different sides. This makes red and green complementary colors. When placed next to each other they create contrast, but when you mix red and green it is a combination of all three primary colors.

We have already said that green and red mixed creates brown. However, it all depends on the types of red and green. So, when creating a combination of red and green, you can also come up with a gray, or even blackish color.

Combination of Red and Green

For example, if you are using mostly cooler tones or a blue-green paint color mixed with red, it should produce a grayish color. However, if you use a warmer green with red, it should produce a warmer brown color. Many paint manufacturers have their own formulas, which is why it is always a good idea to read your paint labels to check what paint pigments are being used. Otherwise, you might be surprised by the colors that come out when you are blending.


Creating Lighter and Darker Shades

As with any hue, you can also create lighter and darker shades of brown. So, you can mix a variety of different types of brown, depending on what you use. If you have already achieved a shade of brown, and you wish to create something darker, the easiest way to do this is to add a little black.

You can also consider adding a dark blue instead of black, which should produce a darker and richer color. Make sure it is done in very small amounts as black can quickly overpower the entire mix.

To lighten the brown, you can include small amounts of white until you have the color you want.

You can also consider first trying to lighten the red to create pink before mixing it with green. Always make sure to create and keep a color palette of the colors you used, and the proportions used when experimenting with color blending. Below are a few of the factors that can influence the color shade.

  • Proportions: When mixing, you can either have more red and less green or vice versa. Mixing a balanced medium brown, you can try an equal ratio. By adding more green, it will lean towards khaki, and by increasing red, you will get something closer to burgundy.
  • Pigment quality: The higher the pigment quality, the more vibrant and consistent the results will be.
  • Transparency: This can depend on what medium you are using. Watercolors provide more transparency, while acrylics are more opaque.

Below are some examples of the different types of brown you can get. Tan is a lighter shade of brown, while khaki has more green than red paint in it. You can also go for a darker color like taupe, which can be described as a dark brown gray.

Mix Red and Green Shades

Shade Hex CodeCMYK Color Code (%)RGB Color CodeColor
Brown#8040000, 50, 100, 50128, 64, 0 
Tan#d2b48c0, 14, 33, 18210, 180, 140 
Khaki#c3b0910, 10, 26, 24195, 176, 145 
Taupe#483c320, 17, 31, 7272, 60, 50 


Meaning of Brown

Brown is an earth color that is seen as grounding, stable, comforting, and reliable. It is also associated with honesty, warmth, wisdom, and appreciation. In some Eastern countries, brown is associated with mourning. On the negative side, brown can be seen as timid, boring, predictable, and dull.



Understanding Red and Green in Other Color Models

One of the more widely used color models today is the RGB color system, which is used on your cellphone and laptop screens. Additive color mixing is used for this, as it is the blending of different color lights. Light colors all have wavelengths, so when you blend different color lights like red and green, you are layering the two different wavelengths. If you happen to layer all the colors, it will produce white light.

In this model, you have different primary and secondary colors to that of the traditional color model.

Here you use red, green, and blue, which are your primary colors. The secondary colors are cyan, magenta, and yellow. So, when you apply a combination of red and green, you are using two primary colors. When these overlap, they will produce a yellow color. The yellow below in the table shows that it is created with 100 percent red and 95 percent green.

Mix Red and Green Paint

Shade Hex CodeCMYK Color Code (%)RGB Color CodeColor
Red#ff00000, 100, 100, 0255, 0, 0 
Green#008000100, 0, 100, 500, 128, 0 
Yellow#fff2000, 5, 100, 0255, 242, 0 


Printing Color Model

When it comes to printing that uses ink, another color model is used. This is the CMYK color model that has cyan, magenta, and yellow as the primary colors and red, green, and blue as the secondary colors. Similar to the traditional color model, the subtractive mixing method is also used in this case. To produce colors, the printer overlaps the various ink colors in different proportions or percentages.

Light travels through these overlapping colors and reflects off the paper or substrate. Your eye then perceives the color that was printed.



Best Uses for Red and Green in Art and Design

Red and green by themselves have many uses that include creating beautiful pieces of art, graphic designs, fashion items, and interior designs. When you mix red and green, you can also create a variety of shades of brown. We know that brown is the color of the earth, so in art, brown can bring warmth and depth into a painting.

It is also a representation of nature, such as mountains and leaves, among other things. The different shades of brown can also be used in all kinds of other design projects. Let us take a quick look at a few of these ideas where you can use the color brown.


Graphic Design

Brown can easily be used for both graphic design and branding purposes. The various shades can be employed in visually captivating websites, they can be used as a background, or they can be used to create an accent color. The color can even be used to create various typography. When choosing branding colors or colors for your website, it is essential to understand the meaning of a color. The meaning should represent what message or emotion you wish to convey to your clients.

red and brown graphic design

Brown is associated with reliability and earthiness, so an environmental brand can do well with this. However, there are many shades you can choose that might have slightly different meanings.


Fashion Design

All shades of brown have been admired and used in fashion for years. It is versatile and matches easily with most other colors. Brown is a warm color, so it is naturally a good choice for knitted items that provide a cozy look. You can wear different shades of brown to create a layered look or combine brown with blue and green for pops of color. Keep it warm by combining it with fall colors like red, yellow, and orange.

A versatile color that can be used in both casual and formal wear.

red and green fashion design


Interior Design

Brown is considered a neutral color, so you can use it on the walls, or you can simply bring it in as an accent using furniture or other accessories and decorative items. Using brown helps to create a warm, comfortable, and welcoming feel to a space. You can also consider bringing in natural brown elements like wood. Keep the color scheme neutral by pairing it with other colors like white, beige, tan, black, and gray, or add touches of color for a more exciting and eye-catching look.

Brown is so versatile, with many different shades, it can fit into any style or color palette.

red and green bedroom design


When mixing paint colors like red and green, it can produce anything from brown to gray. However, it works a little different when blending red and green light. When mixing colors for something like online graphics, it will give you a surprising yellow. The more you work with colors, the more fascinating it becomes!




Frequently Asked Questions


Does Mixing Red and Green Make Yellow?

When using a specific color model like the RGB color system, a combination of red and green will make yellow. This is not like the traditional RYB color system for paints and pigments that produces brown, as it uses the overlaying of colored lights.


Does Red Go Well With Green?

Red and green can both be found on the color wheel and are positioned on opposite sides. This makes red and green complementary colors. These colors go well when paired if you are looking to create a contrasting look.


Does Mixing Red and Green Make Gray?

Green and red mixed can be done using a variety of different shades and types or brands of either paint color. So, depending on the specific color you choose, the resulting color can be either a dark gray or a dark brown. Choosing the ideal complementary match should give you a gray color, meaning that a standard red and blue or pure paint colors will produce a dark gray.


Cite this Article

Charlene, Lewis, “What Color Does Red and Green Make? – A Surprising Color Mix.” Art in Context. November 9, 2023. URL:

Lewis, C. (2023, 9 November). What Color Does Red and Green Make? – A Surprising Color Mix. Art in Context.

Lewis, Charlene. “What Color Does Red and Green Make? – A Surprising Color Mix.” Art in Context, November 9, 2023.

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