Chapter 8


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Chapter 8

  1. 1. Understanding colorChapter 8: Color Harmony
  2. 2. Beauty is the quality of an object orexperience that gives pleasure to one or more of the senses.
  3. 3. A color can be beautiful...
  4. 4. or a sound...
  5. 5. ...or a scent.
  6. 6. Delight in the presence of beauty is as natural to the human condition as breathing.
  7. 7. Harmony is the happy condition that follows when two or more different things are sensed together as a single, pleasing experience.
  8. 8. Harmony is perceived as: complete continuous natural
  9. 9. Harmony is intuitive; a feeling that things are just as they should be.
  10. 10. In a harmonioussituation everythingis in balance;everything belongs.
  11. 11. Happy families live in harmony.
  12. 12. Barbershop quartets sing in harmony.
  13. 13. A hermit lives in harmony with nature.
  14. 14. Harmonious experiences are without gaps or surprises.
  15. 15. Color harmony occurs when two or more colors are sensed together as a single, pleasing, collective impression.
  16. 16. A single color can be beautiful, but it cannot be harmonious.
  17. 17. Harmony requires agrouping of elements.
  18. 18. A key characteristic of harmonious colorings is that they seem effortless and uncontrived.
  19. 19. Not every color in a harmonious relationship has to be a “pleasing” color.
  20. 20. These are not particularly “beautiful” colors...
  21. 21. But your eye needs them to bring harmony to all the competing colors in this art quilt.
  22. 22. In some cases, harmony may not be the goal of your color problem.
  23. 23. In this painting by Ludwig Kirchner, the idea was topresent a scene that seemed a little unsettling. The colors help do that.
  24. 24. Kirchner and Edvard Munchwere both part of a group of paintersfrom the early 20th century called Expressionists that used color to heighten emotional tension.
  25. 25. Color can be usedin all kinds of ways to create various effects called color effects.
  26. 26. Color effects fall into two broad categories: color harmony visual impact
  27. 27. They are really two polar ends to a continuum with many variations in between.
  28. 28. The important thing is to know what your goal is and touse your knowledge about colors to achieve that goal.
  29. 29. Intervals and Harmony
  30. 30. Because ofthe humanneed for logic,evenintervals arethe mostpleasing andharmonioustype of colorintervals touse.
  31. 31. You can forcecolors that seemincompatible toachieve a sort ofharmony bycreating intervalsbetween them.
  32. 32. In this case, intervals were established not just between the two colors but also beyond them.
  33. 33. In this case, intervals were established not just between the two colors but also beyond them.
  34. 34. Creating a series of intervals between unrelated colors is a principal way in which they can be transformed into a harmonious group.
  35. 35. Another wayto useintervals is toenrich asparse colorpalette byaddingintervals.
  36. 36. If colors are similar in value and an overall effect seems flat, adding steps of value (without changing hues) accomplishes this also.
  37. 37. If colors are similar in value and an overall effect seems flat, adding steps of value (without changing hues) accomplishes this also.
  38. 38. The arrangement of intervals is not necessarily important.The progressive intervals are inherently harmonious no matter how the appear in the composition.
  39. 39. Just remember that even intervals of any color quality(hue, value, saturation, or any mixture of these) within the same composition tend to be more pleasing than random intervals no matter how they are arranged.
  40. 40. Hueand Harmony
  41. 41. Historically, the search for color harmony has focusedon the relationship between hues, and more specifically, on the link between harmony and complementary colors.
  42. 42. As Goethefirst said,the eyesfindequilibriumin thepresence ofall threeprimaries.
  43. 43. But not every pleasing palette is made up of complements.
  44. 44. When a single hue is used in a variety of values or saturations, it is called monochromatic and is very harmonious.
  45. 45. Analogous colors (colors next to each other on the color wheel) also create a very harmonious color scheme.
  46. 46. In fact, any hues used together can be harmonious if used correctly.
  47. 47. Learning how to achieve this is what this class is all about!
  48. 48. Valueand Harmony
  49. 49. Although the principal function of value is ascontrast that creates separation between figureand ground, traditional color theory offers threeideas about value and harmony: Even intervals of value are harmonious Middle values are harmonious Equal values in different hues are harmonious
  50. 50. A range of values does not have to extend from the extremes of light to dark to be pleasing, nordoes it have to be arranged in a linear progression.
  51. 51. (...although Professor Haas might give the painting on the left an A+ and the one on the right an A.)
  52. 52. Intervals of value will be seen as harmonious as long as steps are equidistantly spaced.
  53. 53. Only the oak leaf changes value intervals.All other leaves are identical on both compositions.
  54. 54. When the sameimage isillustrated usingwell-spacedsteps of valueand again withirregular steps,the even-intervalversion willalmost invariablybe chosen aspreferable.
  55. 55. This is justanother exampleof how EVENintervals arealways goingto be moreharmonious thanuneven ones.
  56. 56. All four of thesecompositionsuse evenintervals ofvalue. All createa certain senseof harmony nomatter how theyare arranged inthe composition.
  57. 57. The second premise, that “middle values areharmonious,” implies that hues at the extremes of light or dark are unpleasing.
  58. 58. But remember that middle values include everything but the very ends of the value spectrum.
  59. 59. There is plentyof light and darkvariation in themiddle valuerange.
  60. 60. In addition to theactual valuerange of “middle”values, there areinherentdifferences invalue betweenthe differenthues (likeviolet/dark andyellow/light).
  61. 61. It is true that middle values are often selectedas preferable over their much darker or lighter variations.
  62. 62. Middle values areeasy to see and easyto identify. Viewerswill always select firstthose colors that canbe discriminatedfrom others with aminimum of effort.
  63. 63. It is more correctto say that middlevalues arepreferred.
  64. 64. All values, including extreme darks and lights, are equal in their potential to create harmonious palettes.
  65. 65. The final premise, that “equal values are harmonious,” has two distinctly different aspects:
  66. 66. First, hues of close or equal value can be pleasing whenthey are used as carried colors against a contrasting darker or lighter ground.
  67. 67. You lose the forward and back impression that is associatedwith the contrastof dark and light,but the presence of many colorsoffers a different kind of interest and liveliness.
  68. 68. Hues of close or equal value also create elegant harmonies without a contrastingground when no image is intended.
  69. 69. If your intention is to create a pleasing background, you can’t do better than different hues of similar value.
  70. 70. saturation and Harmony
  71. 71. Color compositions tend to be mostsuccessful when the overall level of saturation is relatively constant.
  72. 72. This doesn’t meanthat every color hasthe same saturation,but that the differentsaturations arebalanced toproduce an overalleffect.
  73. 73. When a singlesaturation isdifferent andisolated, it tends tobecome the focalpoint.
  74. 74. Complex compositions that include different levels of saturation call for a studied balance between vivid and muted elements.
  75. 75. Bright and dull elements are composed together to create a single, cumulative effect that isbrighter or more muted.
  76. 76. When a single pure color is inserted into amuted palette, it will pop forward.
  77. 77. As in all instances of the use of color, it isimportant to remember your goal. Rememberthat more saturated colors spring forward and make less saturated colors appear duller by comparison.
  78. 78. Usesaturation todraw attentionto your mainsubject.
  79. 79. Use saturation wisely!
  80. 80. It has been argued that muted colors are naturally moreharmonious than saturated colors because the eye is at rest in the presence of muted color.
  81. 81. Brilliant colors are exciting and muted ones are calming,but neither is inherently more harmonious than the other.
  82. 82. Only the relationship between colors creates color harmony, not the colors themselves. Harmonious compositions are possible with colors at any level of saturation.
  83. 83. Professor Haas contends that muted colors are moreoften seen in nature and are therefore more calming to us.
  84. 84. major and minor themes
  85. 85. Many complex colorings have an additional characteristic: a dominant hue family enlivened by smaller areas of the complement.
  86. 86. Color compositions in which two or morehue families compete for equal attentionare often less successful than those with major-minor hue relationships.
  87. 87. Some harmonious conclusions
  88. 88. A central feature of successful harmonies is completeness.
  89. 89. The ground is often the largest single area in a composition, and that idea of completeness includesconsideration of the color of the ground, even when it is simply white.
  90. 90. Remember that even white is not absolute; all whites have undertones of some other hue in them.
  91. 91. Blacks and grays, too, carry undertones. There are green- blacks, blue-blacks, violet-blacks, and brown-blacks.
  92. 92. A well-chosen ground means the difference between afully realized color harmony and a less satisfying one.
  93. 93. Following the guidelines for color harmony does not guarantee that aparticular colorway willhave universal appeal because there is always an element of personal bias in color preference.
  94. 94. However, it is true that a great deal of what we findharmonious originates as involuntary responses of theeyes and mind. The brain has a built-in bias for certain kinds of combinations.
  95. 95. A person’sperception ofharmony isinfluenced by theeye’s need forequilibrium...
  96. 96. ...the comfort level of vision,
  97. 97. ...the humanneed for logic inperception,
  98. 98. ...and eachindividual’semotionalresponse.
  99. 99. An instinct for what is harmonious can be trustedbecause the eyes dictate boundaries of comfort.
  100. 100. We enjoy the accidental beauties of nature, but indesign, harmony is not accidental; it is deliberate.
  101. 101. The designer createseach new palette, andthe designer’s intent determines whether that palette is harmonious or otherwise.
  102. 102. Hopefully, allthese “guidelines” for creating harmony won’t stifle your own creative spirit.No new idea evergrew from sticking to the rules.
  103. 103. What does make sense is toconsider some observations about color harmony:
  104. 104. 1. No single factor determines color harmony.
  105. 105. 2. The complementary relationship between hues is a strong basis for harmony, but it is not the only basis. Any hues used together can be harmonious.
  106. 106. 3. Even intervals between colors contribute toharmony. Even intervals are pleasing whether they exist between hue, value, saturation, or any combination of these.
  107. 107. 4. Color compositions tend to be harmoniouswhen the level of saturation is relatively constant.
  108. 108. 5. Compositions of many colors tend to be mostsuccessful when a dominant family of analogous hues is supported by smaller areas of their complements.
  109. 109. beyond harmony: dissonant colors
  110. 110. If color harmony is the “good child” of design,its polar opposite is disharmony, or dissonance.
  111. 111. Dissonant colorways are disturbing.Colors do not seem to belong with each other.
  112. 112. Disharmonycommunicatesimbalance,unease,edginess, chaos;a sense thatsomething ismissing or is off-kilter.
  113. 113. Dissonantcolorings can bedynamic andexciting–notpleasing perhaps,but certainly away to drawattention.
  114. 114. When the guidelines of color harmony aredeliberately ignored, the result may startle or repel, but it may also be memorable.
  115. 115. Unpleasingcolorways have their own stengths.
  116. 116. high-impact color
  117. 117. Some design problems call for colors orcombinations that will draw instant attention.
  118. 118. The strongest images are created by high value contrastalone, a graphic power thatrequires no hue.
  119. 119. The addition (notthe substitution) ofbrilliant color to an already powerful image does not change the strength of the image. It only affects how long it takes to capture the viewer’s attention.
  120. 120. Colors that are both hue-intensive and light-reflecting, like a strong tint of red-violet, or a saturated yellow-green, have an eye-catching immediacy.
  121. 121. Only a few saturated hues are truly high-impact.
  122. 122. The range of violets, for example, is not light-reflecting enough to drawimmediate attention.
  123. 123. For instance, when ahighly visible violet is called for, a strong tint is used.
  124. 124. Working with high- impact colors is not necessarily an alternative to colorharmony. Coloringscan be both brilliant and harmonious.
  125. 125. Brilliant colors used together without some interveningvalue contrast are likely to vibrate, so although they draw immediate attention, they are poor candidates for good readability.
  126. 126. However, when these colors contrast sharply with theirsurroundings, they are useful in communicating nonverbal warnings.
  127. 127. The Occupational Safetyand Health Administration (OSHA) uses high-impactcolors symbolically to alert for specific dangers–a tintof violet for radiation, vivid orange for hazardous situations.
  128. 128. Fluorescent colors, sometimes called neon or“DayGlo” colors, are an extreme of high-impact color.
  129. 129. They include acolorant thatabsorbswavelengths of lightfrom the UV range(non-visible light) ofthe spectrum and re-emits it as visiblelight.
  130. 130. High-impact color can also be used to direct attention.An area of brilliant color set into a more muted palette injects an element of surprise into a composition.
  131. 131. It draws attention toitself and away from the composition as a whole.
  132. 132. Surfaceand Harmony
  133. 133. In the natural world, brilliant and subtly muted colorscoexist. The colors of nature are also fragmented andcould be better described as optical mixes than as flat color.
  134. 134. Broken color, suggesting texture, invites a tactile response as well as a visual one.
  135. 135. Fragmented color responds to the human need for connection to the natural world.
  136. 136. Flat color has its own purpose and place in design. Where broken color suggest nature, hard-edged, flat colors are dramatic and compelling.
  137. 137. Flat color has a discipline that responds to anentirely different human need: the need to control.
  138. 138. The designer of a new electronic device is unlikely to specify coloring that suggests the texture of autumn leaves.
  139. 139. A surface that is flat, sleek, and flawless offers an impression of precision.
  140. 140. The decision to use flat or broken color is a small but meaningful side trip on the road to successful color choices.