Computer screens use an additive color system that combines phosphors of red, green, and blue primary colors, which, when added together in various proportions, produce the more than 16 million colors possible on RGB screens. The maximum brightness of all three RGB primaries produces white light on the screen.
In computer graphics you’ll see these common terms used to describe the characteristics of colors, known as the HSB color system (for hue, saturation, and brightness), commonly used in graphics programs like Adobe Photoshop.
Hue is the wavelength of color along the spectrum of visible light. An easy way to think about hue is as a color name: “yellow,” “orange,” or “red.”
Saturation describes the intensity of a color, ranging from pure high-chroma colors to near-gray versions. Saturation is useful to signal depth in displays. In daily life we expect faraway objects to look desaturated and gray because of atmospheric effects (atmospheric perspective) and foreground objects to be more intensely colored. Thus in design we often use desaturated colors for backgrounds and draw attention by using full-saturated colors (sparingly!).
The lightness or darkness of a color or how close to either black or white a given color is.
Four classic formulas for combining colors are used in all forms of design.