1. LIM WEI YE BRYAN (071487C17) ADM (VISUAL COMMUNICATION)
HW101 CRAFT OF WRITING
“I did not get the job? Why not?” I asked in shock. The voice on the other line calmly
replied, “The answer lies in what you wore during your interview.” Never quite figured out
the answer as a fresh graduate out of secondary school, it was only during one of my
foundation classes here in NTU that the answer dawned upon me. The horrifying colours of
dark red and marine blue I wore on the day of the interview, had transgressed the many
principles within, what artists and designers know as, the colour theory. In visual
communication, colour theory serves as a guiding principle in the mixing of colours and the
effect of certain colour combination.
German minister and poet, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe first derived the primordial
subtractive colour model in 1810. A subtractive colour model demonstrates the mixture of
different colour pigments (in paint, dyes and inks) that results in a variety of colours. Each
colour is caused by the reflection and absorption of the light wavelength into our eyes. He
identified red, yellow and blue-violet to be the primary colours.
By the mixing of these three colours, all other colours could be achieved. When placed
equidistant in a colour wheel, red, yellow and blue-violet form the primary colour triad. [P]
Mixing the neighbouring colours in the primary triad, the secondary triad of violet, orange
and green colour is derived. The colour wheel comes full circle by the mixing of the
neighbouring colours of the secondary triad, forming the tertiary triad of yellow-orange,
red-orange, red-purple, blue-purple, blue-green and yellow-green.
Within this wheel, psychological relationships between colours, known as colour harmony,
emerges. In any visual experience, harmony between colours pleases the eye of the viewer.
[C] The viewer is engaged by the colour harmony, through the visual balance and order,
making the visual experience pleasing. Several colour formulas can help create colour
2. LIM WEI YE BRYAN (071487C17) ADM (VISUAL COMMUNICATION)
harmony relationships, each with its own effect and undertones. These include the
monochromatic colour scheme, analogous colour scheme, complementary colour scheme
and the clash colour scheme. The monochromatic colour scheme uses a single colour in its
tints and hues. Its results are soothing and balanced but sometimes boring. The analogous
colour scheme is a selection of three adjacent colours on the colour wheel, with one
dominant colour and the other two as accents. Similar to the monochromatic scheme, the
analogous scheme offers a little more subtlety and depth. The complementary colour
scheme is based on two colours directly opposite each other in the colour wheel. What is
achieved is a good contrast that balances each colour out. [C] The clash colour scheme pairs
one colour with another on its left or right complement, creates maximum contrast and
impact, as the name suggests. It commands a lot of attention and creates visual chaos.
[P] Different colours communicate different messages causing varying responses in people –
this is the principle of colour symbolism. Professor Jill Morton, expert on colour psychology
said that, “Successful design requires an awareness of how and why colours communicate
meaning.” It is apparent that the colour choices I made for that interview caused some
negative responses in the interviewer. By common colour association, the red and blue
probably said [B] I was vindictive and wise but also calm and fearful.
On hindsight, the clash colour scheme of red and blue undeniably seek a little too much
attention from my interviewer. On top of being visually discomforting, the colours each
spoke of contrasting messages that probably gave him mixed messages about me as a
potential employee. Understanding colour theory made me understand what went wrong
in my failed interview.
3. LIM WEI YE BRYAN (071487C17) ADM (VISUAL COMMUNICATION)
Feisner, Edith Anderson. Colour: how to use colour in art and design. London: Lawrence
Simmons, Christopher. Color harmony logos: More than 1,000 colorways for logo that
work. Beverly, Rockport Publisher, 2006
Wikipedia. “Colour Theory” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Colour_theory (accessed 8th