Hues are pure colours like red, yellow, blue
Tints are hue + white, reducing saturation.
Shades are hue + black, reducing saturation.
Tones are hue + grey, reducing saturation.
Value is the lightness or darkness of a colour
Saturation the the brightness/dullness.
Complementary Analogous Triadic
Colours Colours Harmonies
are Opposites are next to each are three colours
on the other on the that are
Colour Wheel Colour Wheel equidistant
is a single hue with tints and shades.
Colours + Associations
According to Swiss psychologist Max Luesche,
colours have particular associations, tempered by
context and application.
Blue is digniﬁed • Violet is Meditative
Green is persistent • Black is Surrender
Red is Assertive • Gray is a Barrier
Brown is Passive
RGB Model CMYK Model
Additive Colour. Subtractive Colour.
White Light by White created
adding Red Green when no ink is
and Blue. added.
Colours associated with power centres in the body.
• Colours that are used together create a
colour composition: a group of colours
meant to be sensed as a whole.
A group of colours selected for use
together is called a palette, a colourway,
a colour story, depending on the
industry or design discipline.
Ground and Carried Colours
• The background of a colour composition is
Colours laid on a ground are carried colours.
Ground established the visual reference
point for carried colours and is determined
by composition not by colour.
Visual cues and the arrangement of forms
determine which parts of a composition are
image or pattern and which part is
understood as background.
What is the
colour of this
What is the
colour of the
Ground and Graphic Quality
• Graphic quality is the “readability” of a
composition, or how clearly images can be
seen against their background.
• Dierences in value -- contrasts between light
and dark -- separate images from their
background. Black+white most value contrast.
• High contrast images are not always desirable.
Scale of design
• The distance from which something is
experienced is an important factor in design. ie
magazine vs wallpaper vs highway billboards.
• In graphic design, “image” is a picture, “pattern”
is an image or motif repeated against a ground.
• Optical mixes result when images or motifs
converge to create a new colour or texture.
• Whether a design is seen as an image, pattern,
or texture depends on the scale of its design
elements relative to viewing distance.
Colour printing as example
• Dots of ink on
paper merge in
the eye to create
a colour image.
• Vibration occurs strongly with complementary
• The struggle to focus on edge, added to the
struggle to reach equilibrium can be a tough
• Vibration can also result from poor scale in a
pattern relative to viewing distance. “Op art” is
an aesthetic experiment in vibration causing
Transparency and Illusion
• True transparency can be illustrated by the fact
that coee in a pot is very dark but when spilled
in a saucer is light coloured. Josef Albers
describes this as “volume colour.”
• Perceptual transparency is the phenonmenon of
seeing one surface behind another.
• When a small portion of a transparent surface is
observed, neither the surface colour, nor the
fusion colour is perceived, but only the colour
resulting from the fusion of that of the
transparent surface and that of the background.
Spacial Eects of Colour
An object can be made to appear larger, smaller,
nearer, or farther away by making change in its
hue value or saturation. In general:
• Warm colours advance relative to cool ones.
• Brilliant colours advance relative to muted ones.
• Objects in light colours appear larger than the
same objects in dark colours.
All of the circles are the same size,
but the bright yellow circle appears
to be larger because it is a light
hue that is highly saturated.
The yellow also appears to be
closer, or expanding, to the viewer
than the other colors.
The middle blue is pushed to look like
two dierent blues depending on the
from R. Landa, Elements of Graphic Design
and Internet Sources
Typography Coursepack pages 81-89
• Type Family: Weight, Width, Elaboration
• The Typographic Font: Capitals, Lower
Case, Small Caps, Ligatures, Dipthongs,
Letterform Terms: Vertical Metrics, serifs,
counters, stems, spines, etc.
Type Speciﬁcations: point size, leading,
style elements, alignment.
Classiﬁcations: Roman, Serif, San Serif,
Italic, Script etc.
Typography Coursepack pages 97-98
Letterspacing: The space between letters.
Wordspacing: Space between words.
Leading: Space between lines of type.
Kerning: the process of adding space
Tracking: adding space between letters on
a more universal level.
One should always judge letterspacing
Typography Coursepack pages 110 - 114
Designing with Type
As a designer, one must concentrate on more
than just the literal meaning of words. These
things must also be considered:
Type as form.
Type as a direct message — as primary meaning.
The secondary meaning (connotation).