Many students are accustomed to making color choices based on their own senses of what looks good. Sometimes that student’s eye may indeed make good choices. However, there are times when we need to justify our choices, and in those cases, it’s good to have theory supporting our decisions.Dealing with this problem is the whole reason a theory of color has developed.
Primary colors are a good way to introduce the categorizations for the various color types. First, as the name suggests, they are the building blocks for all the other colors. Additionally, thinking about red, blue, and yellow as the primary colors predates current color theory and is therefore an important historical aspect of the topic. Finally, many of us have been introduced to (and likely retained) this concept from basic art courses.The primary colors are: red, blue, and yellow.
This is only one way of representing the color wheel visually. There are a number of different visual interpretations of the color wheel that may be more effective for different people. More complex color wheels show even more colors and set up a way to read them that highlight even more complex relationships. These can easily be found through a Google search; however, this basic color wheel should effectively introduce the concept.
Black text on a white background is a convention that many of us simply write-off as a “it just is.” In other words, we are so accustomed to it that the rhetorical reasoning behind the contrast becomes invisible. In fact, the black/white combination is a purposeful choice based on maximum readability.
Depending on the resolution of the computer on which this slide is displayed, and depending on how far away the audience is from the screen, the red/orange text box may be completely unreadable. This is one of those rare cases where that is actually all right. The impossibility will only further make the point that choosing contrasting colors is a medium and context specific decision.
Beyond aesthetic concerns, the decision to contrast an element of a design should be intimately tied with the communicative purpose of the document. If an item contrasts, it will stand out and draw attention. For what reason do you as the designer want that element to stand out? What is communicated?
This presentation is specifically about color; therefore, color contrast is the primary focus. However, contrast is obviously a more complex idea that this and involves a number of variables. Contrast can come in the form of colors, shapes, movements, fonts, sizes, and more. Learning to use different kinds of contrast together is another important technique in effective visual composing.
This slide provides an opportunity to go back and actually use the color wheel the way it is intended. If we look at where these colors are on the wheel, and if we use the theory of analogous colors, the color wheel will suggest that a flower in a purple shade will provide the most contrast.
Although most people would agree with these associations that come with the color red, it is important to stress that these associations do not HAVE to go with this color. In other words, they are ultimately arbitrary connections that have developed through a history of social meaning making.
“Color in Motion” is an interactive, Flash-based movie tutorial composed by Maria Claudia Cortes. The video was her RIT MFA thesis project in computer graphics design (2003). She currently works for Eastman Kodak Company.
1. Introduction to Color Theory<br />Color & Rhetorical Purpose<br />
2. Color Theory<br />Color Theory is a system of rules and guidance for mixing various colors in order to:<br /><ul><li> Create Aesthetically Pleasing Blends
3. Produce Maximum Readability and Clarity
4. Draw on Cultural Associations to Effect </li></ul> Meaning<br />
5. Why Learn Color Theory?<br />Many people choose not to consult color theory. They think, “Well, I’ve got a good eye for these things.”<br />The “good eye” for color may or may not be true based on who’s thinking it. . .<br />. . . but in order to justify your choices it is good to have some theory to fall back on. Otherwise, all you can say is, “It just looks right!”<br />
6. The Foundation of Color<br />At its core, color is light.<br />Light is composed of many different colors and the various mixtures of light compose the colors that we can see.<br />Colors that can not be created by mixing other colors are called:<br />PRIMARY COLORS<br />
7. Primary Colors<br />
8. Secondary Colors(colors made by mixing primaries)<br />
9. Tertiary Colors(colors that mix primary and secondary)<br />
10. Take Together . . . Color Wheel!<br />
11. Using the Wheel<br />The colors are arranged on the wheel in such a way that purposeful color choices can be made.<br />Choices of color combination depend on what you are trying to accomplish.<br />Such as:<br /><ul><li> Contrast
13. Affect</li></li></ul><li>Using the Wheel<br />Complementary Colors<br />Colors opposite from one another on the wheel.<br />These colors will provide the most visual contrast.<br />Contrast is the noticeable level of difference between two colors. <br />
14. Contrast with Text<br />The more a color contrasts with the colors around it, the more easily visible that color will appear. This fact is extremely important when using different colored texts and backgrounds.<br />This is why black text on a white background is so popular and effective. There’s a high degree of contrast.<br />On the other hand, blue and black offer little contrast. An extended read of this combination could be painful.<br />
15. Contrast with Text<br />But be careful, even though colors may contrast they may not always work well for text and background pairing.<br />“Simultaneous Contrast” occurs when a color like red is fore grounded on blue. Note how the text appears to slightly vibrate. This would get annoying real quick.<br />But simultaneously be aware of extreme lack of contrast in your text and background choices.<br />Honestly, this is just painful. Do not make your readers struggle with this!<br />
16. Rhetorical Color Contrast<br />Contrast draws attention to the item that is most contrasting (or different) among a number of other design elements.<br />Therefore, you can use color contrast to draw attention to an element of your design that is more important, relevant, or immediately pressing.<br />
17. Practical Example<br />Neither of these flyers is completely ineffective and both provide shape contrast with the text box.<br />But the orange box above provides a nice contrast with the blues and grays of the clothes rack.<br />The blue box here, however, is too similar to the clothes’ color palette.<br />
18. Using the Wheel<br />Analogous Colors<br />Colors positioned next to each other on the wheel.<br />These colors have very little contrast; therefore, they will provide harmonious blends.<br />
19. Analogous Colors in Nature<br />Nature offers an excellent<br />look at analogous colors in action.<br />Question: what color of<br />flower could be added to<br />this photo to provide a<br />strong and attention<br />drawing contrast? <br />
20. Color and Cultural Association<br />Color’s often come with feelings, moods, and associations that you can draw from in your work.<br />For example, the color Red is largely associated with danger, aggression, stimulation, and excitement.<br />Red stop signs signify danger if you don’t stop, and stimulates the senses with excitement less you don’t see one coming up!<br />
21. Color and Cultural Association<br />It’s an important to remember that these color associations do not come from the color itself. Without us to interpret it, red is simply light and doesn’t need an interpretive characteristic.<br />Because these associations depend on us, they can differ from culture to culture, and they can also change over time.<br />For example, purple use to be associated with solely belonging to royalty. This PowerPoint could now be beheaded if it weren’t made by the King or Queen!<br />
22. Resources for Color Association<br />There are a number of sources that list and suggest color associations that are commonly agreed upon by many people.<br />A particularly interesting and useful one contains a number of fun Flash videos that illustrate these associations with music and animation.<br />Color in Motion<br />
23. For More Information<br /><ul><li>Contact the Purdue Writing Lab:
24. Drop In: Heavilon 226
25. Call: 765-494-3723
26. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
27. On the web: http://owl.english.purdue.edu</li></li></ul><li>The End<br />