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Colour in Visual Communication by Francess Deanna Ramli

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A college assignment on colour and the types of combination that is suitable in design. Basically it's about colours for beginners.

Text of Colour in Visual Communication by Francess Deanna Ramli

December 9, 2010

COLOUR IN VISUAL COMMUNICATION

Introduction

C

olour is the visual perceptual property corresponding in humans to the categories called red, green, blue and others. Colour derives from the spectrum of light which is the distribution of light energy versus wavelength interacting in the eye with the spectral sensitivities of the light receptors. Colour categories and physical

specifications of colour are also related with objects, materials, light sources, and others, based on their physical properties such as light absorption, reflection, or emission spectra. By defining a colour space, colours can be identified numerically by their coordinates. Because perception of colour stems from the varying sensitivity of different types of cone cells in the retina to different parts of the spectrum, colours may be defined and quantified by the degree to which they stimulate these cells. These physical or physiological quantifications of colour, however, do not fully explain the psychophysical perception of colour appearance. The science of colour is sometimes called chromatics. It includes the perception of colour by the human eye and brain, the origin of colour in materials, colour theory in art, and the physics of electromagnetic radiation in the visible range that is, what we commonly refer to simply as light.

Department of Interior Design | by Francess Deanna Ramli

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COLOUR IN VISUAL COMMUNICATION

Colour Wheel

The first colour wheel has been recognized to Sir Isaac Newton, who in 1706 arranged red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and violet into a natural chain on a rotating disk. As the disk spins, the colours blur together so rapidly that the human eye sees white. From there the association of colour has taken many forms, from tables and charts, to triangles and wheels in the history. From Sarah Lowengards The Creation of Color in Eighteenth-Century Europe tells us the progression of colour organization systems and how the colour wheel came to be.

A successful colour ordering system requires an appropriate shape, the correct number of colours to include, and the proper medium in which to present its information.

Department of Interior Design | by Francess Deanna Ramli

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COLOUR IN VISUAL COMMUNICATION

The colour wheel is a visual representation of colour theory. Colours are arranged according to their chromatic relationship. Primary colours are positioned equidistant from one another and are connected by a bridge using secondary and tertiary colours.PRIMARY COLORS Red, yellow and blue :: In traditional color theory, these are the 3 pigment colors that cannot be mixed or formed by any combination of other colors. All other colors are derived from these 3 hues.

SECONDARY COLORS Orange, green and violet :: Colors created by a mixture of two primaries.

TERTIARY COLORS Red-orange, yellow-orange, yellow-green, blue-green, blueviolet and red-violet :: Colors created by a mixture of primary and secondary hues.

Department of Interior Design | by Francess Deanna Ramli

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COLOUR IN VISUAL COMMUNICATION

AnalogousAn analogous colour harmony uses colors which are side-by-side on the color wheel. In most cases, the colours that are being used are usually between 3 to 5 colours. There are three main types of analogous colour harmonies: 1) Warm analogous 2) Cool analogous 3) Analogous including both warm and cool colours

Department of Interior Design | by Francess Deanna Ramli

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COLOUR IN VISUAL COMMUNICATION

1) Warm Analagous colour uses 3 to 5 colors from the warm side of the wheel:

Here are some examples of warm analogous colour from art history:

Cave Painting, Lascaux, France

Department of Interior Design | by Francess Deanna Ramli

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COLOUR IN VISUAL COMMUNICATION

Bruegel, The Triumph of Death (1500's)

Sorolla, "Bacante" 1886

Department of Interior Design | by Francess Deanna Ramli

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COLOUR IN VISUAL COMMUNICATION

2) Cool Analagous colour uses 3 to 5 colors from the cool side of the wheel:green - blue - purple analogous

Here is a couple of cool analogous:

Picasso, 1903

Department of Interior Design | by Francess Deanna Ramli

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COLOUR IN VISUAL COMMUNICATION

"Ocean Park no. 114" , Diebenkorn 1979

It was not easy to find paintings based on purple, blue, and green. It seems to be much less commonly used than the next type.

Department of Interior Design | by Francess Deanna Ramli

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COLOUR IN VISUAL COMMUNICATION

3) Warm + Cool AnalagousA very common analogous colour harmony which crosses from warm to cool on the wheel is the combination of yellow, green and blue. This is frequently seen in nature, maybe which is why we find it very pleasing:

Examples of warm to cool analogous:

"Rainy Night, Etapes", 1912, William E. ScottDepartment of Interior Design | by Francess Deanna Ramli 9

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COLOUR IN VISUAL COMMUNICATION

Van Gogh, "Wheatfield with Cypresses" 1889 (29 x 36)

Cezanne Water Jug (1880's)Department of Interior Design | by Francess Deanna Ramli 10

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COLOUR IN VISUAL COMMUNICATION

Cezanne, "Still Life With Apples"

Willem de Kooning

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Joan Miro, Constellation 3

Sergei Bongart Department of Interior Design | by Francess Deanna Ramli 12

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COLOUR IN VISUAL COMMUNICATION

ComplementaryColours that are opposite each other on the colour wheel are considered to be complementary colors. The high contrast of complementary colours creates a vibrant look especially when used at full saturation. This colour scheme must be managed well so it is not jarring. Complementary colours are tricky to use in large doses, but work well when one wants something to stand out. However, complementary colours are really bad for text.

Red on Green Painting by Gary Hernandez

Department of Interior Design | by Francess Deanna Ramli

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COLOUR IN VISUAL COMMUNICATION

Split Complementary

The split-complementary color scheme is a variation of the complementary color scheme. In addition to the base color, it uses the two colors adjacent to its complement. This color scheme has the same strong visual contrast as the complementary color scheme, but has less tension. The split-complimentary color scheme is often a good choice for beginners, because it is difficult to mess up.

Department of Interior Design | by Francess Deanna Ramli

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COLOUR IN VISUAL COMMUNICATION

Tetradic

The tetradic also known as the double complementary scheme is the richest of all the schemes because it uses four colours arranged into two complementary colour pairs. This scheme is hard to harmonize; if all four colours are used in equal amounts, the scheme may look unbalanced, so you should choose a color to be dominant or subdue the colors.

Department of Interior Design | by Francess Deanna Ramli

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ConclusionIn conclusion, all of us live in a world where at some point colour will be a part of, and effect us in our everyday lives. Colour in everyday life is very diverse - from knowing that a fruit is ripe to eat, to understanding how colour can affect our moods. Colours can vary according to their wavelength and how our eyes perceive it. However, not all colours can match well together when one is choosing the suitable colour for a design. Thus, it is important for a designer to review the colour wheel every now and then.

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COLOUR IN VISUAL COMMUNICATION

ReferencesColor Theory for Designers, Part 1: The Meaning of Color http://www.smashingmagazine.com/2010/01/28/color-theory-for-designers-part-1-the-meaningof-color/

History Of The Color Wheel http://www.yeeeeee.com/2008/06/08/history-of-the-color-wheel/

Color http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Color

COLOR THEORY BASICS :: Color Wheel http://www.colourlovers.com/blog/2006/11/24/color-theory-basics-color-wheel/

Analogous Color in Art History http://davidslonim.wordpress.com/2010/10/19/analogous-color-in-art-history/

Color Harmonies http://www.tigercolor.com/color-lab/color-theory/color-harmonies.htm

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