Understanding Color

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Color theory is a branch of art theory that deals with the effect of color, and of course, some of the basics and applications of color. It is one of the most important parts of both fine- and commercial arts because color can be used to produce desired effects or communicate ideas. Understanding Color: A blog about color theory and how color works is the best site to understand color in art.

The site was created by Kelly Goto, a consultant for Adobe Systems – the company that makes Photoshop, Illustrator and other computer graphics software. Goto has an extensive background in color through her own art education and research in psychology, perception, visual discrimination, neuroscience and physiology. She also offers workshops on using Adobe Illustrator to create works for commercial use (how to use Illustrator for business) as well as for personal artworks (using Illustrator for personal artwork).

The blog started in 2005 with a focus on understanding color, but has since expanded into other areas related to both fine-art and commercial uses of color, such as:

How we see color – understanding perception & visual discrimination;

Basic knowledge – understanding how light works;

Business – in terms of how to use color appropriately within commercial artwork;

How-to – information on how to use

Color is an enigma. It is everywhere, but we don’t really understand it. There are many reasons for that, but one of them is that we have never had a shared language for talking about color. Without a common language, color remains mysterious and elusive.

In other areas of art and design, there has been a revolution in the way we think about the element being discussed. We no longer see typography as “putting words on paper” or sculpture as “building things out of stone.” Instead, we speak of typefaces and type sizes and word spacing, and we talk about negative spaces and positive forms. Likewise, there has been a revolution in the way we think about color.

This website is an attempt to record how I think about color. It’s not intended to be a complete theory of the subject; just a way of thinking about it that I find helpful and that might be useful to others as well.*’

Color is a very complicated subject. Most people don’t have a good grasp of it, but that doesn’t keep them from making decisions about which colors to use and how to use them. Understanding color is essential to creating great art and design.

The best way to understand color is to learn about the principles of color theory. Color theory is the study of how colors interact with each other and with other elements such as shape and texture. There are many different color theories, but they all stem from three central ideas: the subtractive primary colors, complementary colors, and the color wheel.

Toning down an overly bright design by adding in some neutral colors can help improve its appeal and make it seem more luxurious or expensive. However, adding too many neutral colors can start looking bland and uninteresting, so you’ll want to be careful not to overdo it. If you add in too many neutral colors, you may also begin to lose some of the intensity of your original colors. Be sure you’re using only as many neutrals as are necessary for your design.

Color is an important part of art and design. Color creates mood and draws the viewer’s attention. It can be used to illustrate a concept or tell a story. Understanding the meaning of color allows you to use it to your best advantage when creating your own designs, illustrations, or other forms of art.

There are no hard rules for color theory, only guidelines that create a framework for combining colors harmoniously. The guidelines are based on color wheel , which displays how colors relate to each other based on their position around the wheel.

The primary colors are red, blue and yellow; these are the “purest” colors from which all other colors are derived. The secondary colors are orange, green and purple; these are created by mixing two primary colors together. Tertiary colors are created by blending together a primary and secondary color (e.g., yellow-orange).

Color theory also takes into consideration complementary colors – those that sit directly across from each other on the color wheel – as well as analogous (or harmonious) colors – those next to each other on the color wheel. Analogous color combinations create harmony and balance in designs, while complementary colors create contrast.”*

The color wheel you learned in school was wrong, and it was wrong in a way that’s useful to understand. As its name suggests, the standard color wheel is circular. But a circle is the wrong shape for a color wheel. A circle mixes all the colors together; it has no structure.

The standard color wheel mixes all the colors together, as if they were one big box of crayons. That’s why it’s so hard to remember which color goes with which letter on the color wheel. It’s like trying to remember how to spell “orange” or “fuchsia” when you can’t remember whether the word starts with an o or a f.

Color is not one-dimensional. It has a second dimension: brightness, or value. The best way to represent that visually is by a rectangle (a rhombus). The rectangle represents all the different values, from black through white and everything in between. The rectangle makes each color easier to remember as a unique combination of hue and lightness.

Color is one of the most important ways we experience art. It is a very powerful tool that can evoke different feelings and emotions, as well as telling stories. The many meanings of color are what make it so powerful in art. Color theory is a complex topic, but here are some basics to get you started.


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