Color immediately attracts attention. It is one of the first things
Very young children will group objects by color instead of size or
An interior designer may use rose-red walls to increase emotional
warmth or use blue walls in a daycare to encourage calm.
BrightYellow and Magenta may make an poster more eye-catching
Color is a very complex but powerful Element of Art & Design .
Color theory is the art and science of color interaction and
In The Art of Color, Johannes Itten lists the following approaches to
The physicist studies electromagnetic wavelength in order to
measure and classify color.
The chemist works with the molecular structure of dyes and
pigments, and seeks to produced highly permanent colors and
excellent paint consistency.
The physiologist investigates the effects of color and light on our
eyes and brain
The psychologist studies the expressive effect of color on our
mind and spirit.
The artist needs to take all of the approaches into consideration
when using color.
Like the physicist, the artist uses color wavelengths to create
Like the chemist, the artist must be aware of the safety and
permanence of dyes and pigments.
When using color to create the illusion of space, the artist puts into
practice theories developed by physiologist.
Communication and Expression are strongly affected by the
psychological effects of color
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The two major color systems we use are:
Additive Colors (RGB)
Created using beams of light
Subtractive colors (RYB)
Created when white light is reflected off a
pigmented or dyed surface
Additive Colors are created using beams of
The primaries of Additive Color are
Red, Green, and Blue.
Green + Blue = Cyan
Red + Green =Yellow
Blue + Red = Magenta
Red + Green + Blue = White
The colors you see on a computer, television
screen, and projection are created by light.
Used by Lighting
Subtractive Color is created when white
light is reflected off a pigmented or dyed
The primaries of subtractive color are
Red, Yellow and Blue.
A Red surface absorbsYellow and Blue Light
and reflects Red.
AYellow surface absorbs Red and Blue Light
A Blue surface absorbs Red andYellow Light
and reflects Blue.
AWhite surface reflects all light.
A Black surface absorbs all light.
Used by Painters, Printmakers, and Illustrators in various media –
acrylic paint, oil paint, pastels, ink, etc.
Each pigment or dye used to make these materials are unique.
Can be transparent or opaque – will affect blending and layering
Adding color overtones and values will increase varieties of color.
ColorOvertones are a secondary hue bias in the primary color.
For example, Alizarin Crimson is a red with violet overtones, while
scarlet is a Red with orange overtones.
Achromatic elements, such as Black andWhite, (non-colors) add
value to colors.
Process colors are a subtractive color system that we use in
The Primaries of Process colors are Cyan (Blue), Magenta
(Red), Yellow, and Black
The process color system is typically used for mass production.
Each color is laid down on the paper through a separate roller.
The final image is created as the colors overlap.
Cyan Magenta Yellow Black
Dots of cyan, magenta, yellow, and
black are layered to create a full
Color interaction is the way colors influence one another.
Colors are never seen in isolation. Depending on the associations
we have with a color, lighting, and the surrounding colors, our
perception of the color is affected.
A blue sheet of paper may remind us of the sky or the ocean.
Incandescent lighting may create a warm orange glow.
A blue sheet of Paper next to an orange sheet seem more vivid.
Simultaneous contrast refers to how the perception of a color is
altered by a surrounding color.
Each Pair of Boxes have the same
color in the center, but the colors
appear different due to the
Hue is the name of a color, determined by its wavelength.
This excludes non-color (black/white)
In the Johannes Itten ColorWheel (for subtractive colors)
Primary colors are Red,Yellow, and Blue
They cannot be created by mixing.
Secondary Colors are Orange, Green, andViolet
They are created by mixing two primary colors.
Tertiary Colors are Red-Violet, Red-Orange,Yellow-Orange,Yellow
Green, Blue-green, and blue-violet
They are created by mixing a primary color and a secondary color that
are next to each other on the color wheel.
The names are a combination of both colors.
The Primary color’s name always comes first!
Primaries (inner triangle)
Secondary (out triangles)
Tertiaries are located between the
Primaries and Secondaries on the
Color temperature is the heat a color generates, physically and
Usually divided intoWarm colors and Cool colors.
Warm Colors – Red-Violet, Red, Orange,Yellow
Cool Colors – Green, Blue, Purple
Value – relative lightness and darkness of a color
Value – relative lightness and darkness of a color
Tint: Hue +White
Tone: Hue + Grey
Shade: Hue + Black
Intensity, Saturation, & Chroma all refer to color purity and affects
how bright the colors are.
The intensity of the color will decline as more colors are mixed.
The primary colors are the usually the most intense.
Mixing opposite colors will make a color more dull.
High intensity colors are used to maximize impact and are best
used when combined with low-intensity colors.