Hands On Color Grids

 

Color for Designers: Exploration, Theory, & Application

 

Lesson Info

Hands On Color Grids

You guys all have a square punch. You all have a little bit of color in front of you. So do any of you have a particular color? Contrast that you'd like to work with? Vivid, vivid and all okay, great. And do you want to work with multiple hughes, or do you want to try working with one? Hugh when you want you so once you start with vivid and dollar versions of one a u now, don't don't be so concerned with getting it right the first time. Just experiment and play and try to work with more variance than just light in dark. So we were truly are working with vivid and dull. So you're going to find yourself in the range of pastels. What are pastels? Pastels are colors that are very complex. They're not just red with a little bit of white usually read with something else in something else and something else. And if you look at this range of colors past hills oftentimes tend to be de saturated colors, not really pure colors, right? This is very saturated. Yeah, let's. Get down to these colors ...

over here. And they have this other kind of identity to them, much less he's, like I find that. Pastels are difficult to name sometimes I don't even know what to call them or if I try to figure out what the mixture is it's hard for me to say oh that's a combination of the you know something like that whereas these colors you know they're so pure so easy to name so vivid and all I'll do like light and darkness good okay christine you're going to be working with complementary colors on the computer okay sam I'll do a warm and cool warming cool excellent. So wanted once again you can work with one hugh or work with multiple hughes okay to you yeah. Light and dark also. Okay, perhaps since you guys are working both with light and dark maybe one of you can work with maybe one hue of light and dark and maybe multiple hues of light and dark yeah what's left vivid and dull you contrive evangel as well and warm and cool those are the two other things we can think about right now over one call cool. Okay, you have until two okay good alright so square punch you guys have slightly different ones there. This is the big one. These things by the way, are not available in art stores you have to go to a craft store to buy these you go to an art started by this when you go to graff started by this I think they're used for more decorative kinds of purposes but I love it for this what I like to do is I look at the back side rather than this side and this by the way is a one inch square and I'd like to see the square when I'm punching through and just in orderto economize you know you don't want teo get too close to the edge boat close enough so that you do this and you just do that and then immediately just put it down on a piece of blackboard or white board you'll start to see it so that's really the way you're going to punch your square so once you choose your colors maybe choose one or two colors initially and then just are punching and as you make your swears and as you punch them out to start arranging them in a grid and don't be so concerned about what the actual design is it'll come as you work simply by putting these colors look at how black just makes those colors look so vivid whereas if you put on weight a very different kind of response so feel free to work with both backgrounds as well keep it loose if you have your your phones with you take pictures along the way just to make a little recordings of things we don't have a whole lot of time so we need to work a little bit quickly on this for seeing I'm gonna give you started on the computer immediately, and maybe we can actually project this well, she works. No, you can choose any color. Yeah, you're working with compliments, so choose you could choose of red and green or blue and orange right now there is the primaries there, okay? And then you're talking about mixes, so use opacity, but also trust tried tio maybe mixed colors, fine colors to mix together. I'm just going to be walking around and looking at you guys and glaring over your shoulders a little bit as we go this type of exercise before our eyes, the anything grand question coming from life from sami saying color exercises such as these do you recommend doing them very quickly and say a five minute block of time? Or do you think a much longer extended period of time is better now? I know we have limited time here because of the nature of what we're doing, but what you're feeling overall, I like to say quickly, but in fact it it it ends up looking like you're looking for the meaning of life and you could be there for hours, especially you literally, you can spend a long, long, long time with us, and what I recommend for students is once they get to something they like maybe they just leave it on their desk and they come back to it later, they might make changes. So it's, an ongoing kind of project, came in just regarding the course in general just to explain what viewers can expect in our online students. Richard, your students about many of the people watching, I seem to have an intuitive sense of color and color relationships, but I feel challenged with color, and I wonder, is this class gonna help someone like me with become more intuitive? And I have an understanding of color? I think so again, it's, like they're galina basketball, the more you do it, the better you get, the more comfortable you become, the more confident you become. That's really what it's all about so you can call that intuition, right? A person who's really good at something doesn't really think about it as they work. They're not like thinking. Oh, this is warm and cool. This is light and dark, but it's happening, and so they're getting effects based on their experience. The more you do this, the more experience you get, it's a great way of challenging yourself to work with colors that you've never used before to try ideas that you've never experimented before. You know who would know to work with warm and cool necessarily we all would work with a contrast of hue but woman cool light in dark but indulge those are very specific color contrast that we're all that aware of so experimented with it in this way is is a great start yes green is a tricky it's it's a new day it's more above there are warmer variants of green so for example this I would consider a warmer variant of green than this more yellow and this is going to be a cooler variant of green right? So we see cool more of a neutral and more of a warm green's one of those colors where you can actually see warm and cool you can't do with yellow almost impossible um red you can see warm and cool variants but you could also I mean this is an expression of warm and cool orange and blue yeah you're doing a vivid and all yes okay so don't call it a corman cool yes one side ok looking good so the reds are definitely very warm the blues are definitely very cool how'd you color this's does is like because I always thought and most warm but they're definitely shaped that are cooler more blue yeah so uh brown that is more red is going to see more warm a brown that is more blue or greenish is going to see michael you're working with david and jo okay so maybe try to push the uh the extremes so very very dull very vivid just to get a good range of that contrast yeah christine how you doing? Like mixing colors by adding a monster and you're working with orange real orange and blue okay yeah so I'm mixing them by pointing them out yeah yeah controlling capacity that were just as if you were mixing paints you'd be mixing them together yeah you're also getting vivid and dull but you're focuses on complementary mixtures yeah, but you're achieving other things in the process yeah so you talked about that's a good light and you think you you talked about the idea of hierarchy and how you can draw the eye to certain places and then go here for a school here second go hear what air so obviously one of the ways to do that is to really start contrast like the whole composition is dark and then one area's lightning you're drawn to bed or the whole composition is dull one area's vivid yeah. What are some kind of other ways that you can play with the hierarchy or kind of move the ira? Uh arrangement certainly the center of any composition is a really powerful position but it's also very predictable right? But you know from experience I'm sure you put something in the middle chances are you're going to go to it no matter what uh but if there's anything that's going to distract your attention, your attention is going to move over there, uh, to arrange it could definitely be part of it. Okay, this is very vivid. Yes, yellow's very vivid. So this is very dull that so think about the purity of the colors, right? Colors that are very identifiable is green or yellow and then other colors as they lose their identity is they lose their purity, they're becoming dollar, they're becoming less less colorful, more diffused. That's a beautiful range of colors that looking at dolls, parties dull. You know, we do it all the time. You look at how I'm dressed, right? Uh, I'm dressed in all dull colors right right now and some of us might have, you know, typically here actually dressed in cut, vivid and dull so here's your pants, your jeans are very vivid. You're sure it is dull. Yeah, so oftentimes we find ourselves using that contrast in everyday life just to get dressed in the morning. You know, if I don't wear ties that often, but if I do, you know you want to have some kind of a contrast and oftentimes that's a good place to do it. Maybe one little element of ah vivid color against the dull fields might be enough christine, you're using illustrator here? Yeah, that's something that you prefer working in digitally or do you like the hands on what's your preference? I definitely like the hands on I'm playing around with this and I'm like, oh, I can't play around us as well, but but you're doing I mean, you are playing around with you because of your choosing where you're placing things and all the different saturation that are available to you. Yeah, at least like I have this much more colors than everyone invited. Now illustrator also has these great color tools missing sit down over here, let's, go into the so they have compliments down here so you can actually select colors and know yourself well, here these tents and shades um, complementary colors so they give you some ideas over here is well is working together, so they have these kind of automatic talents that will generate for you, you know, it's it's not quite as exploratory ous playful, but as a means of automating processes and doing things very fast illustrators actually come a long way. I wonder if I'm on the right track here. So there's some of these colors that are looking a little kind of like a purple, almost like this collins little purple yeah, yeah, but these other colors like that that point over to the screen like this color is really really interesting and that's from my experience this is a really good example of what happens when you mix blue and orange together these other colors over here I would think a little bit more about these are you next in blue with this not yet. Okay. Okay. And how about this color down here? Um I think I'm mixed yeah and orange on top of a blue okay but it's looking a little more pink to me I mean like I like purple you know keep going with that though it could also be this particular blue it's the rgb like blue so maybe you might actually start to vary the blues a little bit yeah but this is a good exploration of the compliments of blue and orange look like on that other students are also working with hands on a paper etcetera having experienced illustrators of something you use and do you have a preference bryce you have what's your preference for actually working with your hands as a poet while you're working a little bit more visually I suppose with illustrations yeah, I do prefer illustrator just because gives a little bit more range of me toe really quickly change things round or change the whole board or things like that but yeah, this is a lot of fun and jane you working both mediums as well? Don't you not really you said you work with paint so it's all just you call that analog? I like that, but it's all pretty much intuitive way we're sure, but I do. This is interesting because I usually have a color wheel with weighted um you know, it's kind of like the in but the color star? Yeah, so I'm always referring to that color stars a great or the color wheel is just a really good thing to have in front of you. I think a lot of artists probably have it on their walls. Maybe it's the color wheel what they created for themselves. Lt's. Just a reminder that you have this universe of color. It was it is term the universal colors that are always available to us. Oh, beautiful the orange and blue. So you're working with the compliments, right? Yeah, I like those tanner and light and dark. Yeah, so late and dark has also given you a little bit of, uh, vivid and dull. Some of those colors are a little bit more pure. Some of them are a little bit less pure, but definitely a range of light and dark it's kind of hard to push them together so that you get rid of the white spaces in between so it's really color against color, I'm working a vivid and all yeah yeah with two different here is that I like I think like blue greens on the purples together is one of my favorite combination of color so they're both cool color both cool what they can have warmness yeah yeah like this one is I think warmer than like this one it's just the difference between these and you can think about that it's a warmer color purple is you know is you move from blue to purple it's moving toward red is one way to think about warm and cool that way as it moves toward this is really nice over here look at that get my shot a little the way so that center one in particular so strong on dure working with visual hierarchy you know your eyes definitely going to those spots in the center and in each case it's based on you know in this case is it's clearly based on the brighton dark light and dark line of dark warming cortical sorry definitely the green definitely feels warmer than the surrounding colors clearly the orange feels very warm you know orange or red orange and blue or blue green those are the most contrast you warm and cool colors so this is ideal that's you know that's the fewest squares and you want to use in a grid nine square grid like that twenty five is better because it gives you a little bit more of a compositional possibility more variance uh when you get into six by six or six by seven or six by eight, then each as you increase the number of squares and your grid the compositional possibilities also increase. You can do more with the composition that way, but this is really beautiful look at that one question online richard stayed is saying that there still not understanding the difference between dull and vivid they're saying it's possibly due to what they're watching on in terms of their screen but is there a better way to define that? Yes ok, so the it's it's often and we've talked a lot about this but light and dark is also a way of thinking about vivid and dull but it's not as is exacting so a vivid colors a pure color, very identifiable color you look a color you say that's orange so that's usually a very vivid color you look at the color where you can't really define it anymore so is orange becomes dollar or more diffuse? It loses its identity and that's really what we're talking about here colors that are very identifiable, very pure, very intense versus colors that are darker or lighter but have less an identity of a color built into them so like gray is a very neutral grey has no color in it of no identifiable red or blue or green associated with it that you can actually see in it that you can get a sense of when you look at it that's a de saturated color yeah so like your shirt for example is a good example it's great with a little bit of blue in it so I would say it's a chromatic raya dark chromatic grey but it's not a vivid color your pants are vivid that's a good contrast there and your watch also very vivid yellow green super vivid so you're actually a great expression for us and we were trying to define shot rosalie this is closer probably yeah again you know for me it's much easier to say yellow green yes it's more universal but you're a great example of contrasts of vivid and dull nothing to do with your personality I know it's all done on the inside trust me but it's interesting and this is my slight issues the color play because I would have sworn this was black but I think that it is far from black it's great casting this is black yes if I stand next to you then we can kind of see the distinction you're definitely totally on now yes you can actually start to see a little bit of color here right yes you're right whereas I am just all very dull like yours more the olives yeah this is you know I would call this a greenish gray for sure it's a chromatic gray black up here and then a little bit brighter you see her again I would have had these more on the brown family yeah again the girl what would you say about my boots were they there? Definitely brown yeah yeah it's interesting, isn't it? Yeah that's looking nice so those browns look at those brows and those are mixtures of orange and blue should I be using the same kind of orange and blue throughout? No, no feel free to mix it up because I was playing with like you're using to hugh's orange and blue those hughes and so that gives you all kinds of aryan light blues, dark blues, vivid blues, dole blues same thing with the orange and all those mix your colors are going to be different based on that now it would say, don't do that be very is try to reduce as much as possible, you know and that is one philosophy of design is reducing, reducing, reduce you take away as many things as possible until you're left with what you can't take away any more it's not nice complementary colors are very interesting a lot of sports teams use compliments can anyone identify any sports team that uses complementary colors but they probably up here the much hated lakers maybe you know lakers well or for me the you know, I grew up in minnesota, so the minnesota vikings that's you know, yellow and purple I believe but also the lakers the same thing you alone purple those air complementary colors too many sports teams use some soccer teams use red and green uh blue and orange though uh we have the next we have the mets back in new york so a lot of brands will pick up on those colors compliments are a great you're working with an orange you know maybe the first color you associated with b it's compliment would be blue here in the united states since red and green are so associated with the christmas holidays which is not true around the rest of the world by the way you'll see a lot more red and green used in other places if you ever tune into pbs and watch all over their british dramas those dramas from the thirties you see a lot of red and green and it's so beautiful to see those colors together it uses interiors but we wouldn't do it here necessarily but it's one of my favorite color combinations is red and green capitalised on that yeah I thought it started thinking of red going a different way after madman this is beautiful I have a question actually christine from some of the viewers who are using illustrated themselves and they just asking what process you're using to make colors as you're working an illustrator but integrity by might be new to the program okay, so what I'm just doing is like selecting ah like one of the boxes that already have color and buy this is my shortcut but pressing thie option key and dragging it it's more copies that box like see the orange I copied it I just put it on top, bring it to the front and play with the transparency to see like go up or down just just to play with like the levels of orange and then you can see how the mixture of the two colors can it comes out yeah it's the same orientation of squares that I had when I heard I just like rotated the board by like I like it better from this first then I did from the other direction so look at how these dark colors really kind of attract your attention so there's a clear visual hierarchy my eye tends to go to these darker colors first then to start to move through so they're that contrast of light and dark is really working well here for you as well as other things there's definitely dull colors and vivid colors as well and that's helping out too in terms of the visual hierarchy it's beautiful very nice what would you call this color? I would call it turquoise turquoise so blue green, blue green well, this is beautiful so you have very vivid colors down here and then dollar colors up here not sure if that was again what you're working with but that's where you're going is very difficult but I'm trying to get from warm to cool on I also noticed that there was a lot more tense on this side is that the way it's supposed to be as more cooler colors it's early but I definitely see what you're doing there you're definitely going from very darker vivid colors and moving this way toward less vivid colors, lighter colors so that's a what I would call a very strategic and a compositional structure where you have a very clear idea almost a gradation now look at that that divide right there right between this set of colors kind of breaks a little bit down there but very light over here compared to these it's gorgeous very nice so you have one or square tio no color it is it's it's a pretty good product but it's also a bit in perfect in that not every hue has a full range so there is a little bit of limitation. Sometimes you may not find the exact color you're looking for and I might to make you change your other colors to suit that missing color to some degree but do you see how I'm going for like a light tint your fill that in trying to find that I'm trying to find a bluish shade of green right it's very light but that's that's good you're you're doing what albert's talks about looking for colors with your eyes closed you've got a nice idea in your head by the way, you know actually something that I find really difficult with picking fabrics for designs that I have because I know what I wanted to look like and I've sketched it out and then finding the right color fabric is often really hard yeah, yeah yeah the hunting yeah, I like to tell my seasons that designers have to be hunters and farmers you know, because you you definitely have to hunt you have to know how to source things and some people are really good at that that's what they do, they find things they're really good collage artist there they were able to put things together because of what they find other people are really good at nurturing what they already have in front of them and they're the farmers right there they're able to take something sources that are already in front of them and just work with them in ways no if you could do both that's ideal but it's hard, right? Yeah, you see you have an idea in your head a color and you can't find it sometimes you have to make it yeah that's where we wash comes in glasses a great product, it actually creates colors that are very similar to tolerate have any of you worked with wash of you so you can pick up two big wash it's not as expensive as oil it's tricky to learn how to mix it correctly because it's not it's a water based paint but it's not a watercolor so you don't want it to be transparent at all it's a very limited amount of water but you can make your own colors that way um one of the uh the artists that I'm most interested in right now is andre matisse and I just saw this great show on moma in new york of his cut outs and um he's just so fascinating with you know the colors that he uses and just variations of things and the lovely but you know seeing those colors in your head is his hard uh have you tried to amass close your eyes and to see a color without associating with something so it just close your eyes and imagine the color red it's really hard to do you can think of like red things like I'm thinking of ah red you know super beetle ho are emery thinking of a red fiat or something my first car um and that's easy but just to flood your closed eye vision with the color red or any color is really hard it's fleeting so it comes and goes very very quickly it's hard to imagine that but that's kind of what that idea is of looking for colors with your eyes closed that's beautiful, very nice contrast of light and dark and a little bit of warm and cool absolutely and some vivid and all would you like to try a little contrast or proportion? Okay. Okay, so this concept so you see this this is ah bit of a distorted color wheel, right? Not all the colors are equal sized and that has to do with this idea of contrast of what it calls extension the extent of the influence of a color on other colors but a little bit easier to think about conscious of use the word proportion so we see that a small amount of yellow is balanced by a lot of purple about half a cz much orange is balanced by twice a cz much blue and equal parts red and green balance each other and those relationships are numerical so literally one toe one uh one, two, two and one two, three so you can try making a composition where you use colors and those proportions to create balance or imbalance. So for example, if you use a lot of yellow which is a little bit of purple deal is going to be so dominant, but you can scale it back to the point where yellow becomes balanced with the purple so what I'd like you to do that is to think about those numbers and to use the colors in those proportional relationships one two three one two to one to one this concept goes back to guard a nineteenth century is going cool and if you're working with any kind of a composition and you want to create a sense of balance or order stability this is a good place to go thinking about those relationships of proportion one two one one two one two three and those are just with the primaries and the secondaries as you get into tents and shades a tent probably in most cases is going to have a higher light value so a tent of purple is going to react differently than a pure purple a shade of purple is going to feel darker so actually probably a little less of a darker purple than a pure purple but this is something you experiment with but initially just started now with those basic ratios it's a good place to start earlier about the saying red and green is of course not associated with christmas little literally everywhere in the world. So sam ask the question as a designer do you have to concern yourself with the cultural significance is of color absolutely yeah if that is a concern and not always is that a concern though, right? What would what would stop you from using red and green if you didn't if if it wasn't say communication piece or if you weren't marketing something for christmas if you just wanted to make a interesting composition why not use a red and green yeah but you know, I think for most uh commercial design practices where you're promoting something or trying to persuade somebody on idea be persuasive then those cultural associations have to be have to be considered for sure well this is very interesting so you're making a very strategic design you're started to create a gradation where your your plans up here who I was looking for the orange radiant huh? Okay, look at this is dividing now it's going from very down here like this in the corner coming out and you have this beautiful edge of darkness right here so every time you see light and shadow no around here you have to kind of look at the ceiling to start to get a sense of that contrast of light and dark but that's essentially what you're doing you're creating a sense of light and dark wish like light and shadow almost speaking of light and shadow have you noticed how at night it's hard to see colors so let's light the color has become very diminished right? So we can't really use identities of colors I can't see identities color's quite so easily in the dark so the world tends to be very monochromatic very kind of dark except for those brilliant lights like neon lights and things like that what we see but if you're in nature you know colors go away at night they become very very dark right during the day when the light is brilliant we see all the colors incredible pure colors, very vivid colors how are students were doing what are you thinking of their project I'm liking what I'm seeing this is a this is good. I like this idea was this nice? Um uh just working very freely without having to glue things down glue, you know, glue sticks and rubber cement and if we had rubber cement this room would all have to get up and leave because it would be the vapors would be too much glue stick is great although I don't like the idea of throwing away those plastic containers all the time but it's a great source. So for example, if you make something and you want you feel like it's finished and you want to preserve it glue stick is a great way to actually do things down, but I love this idea of just kind of pushing things around like this well, that's how I love this little orange in the corner. Yeah, nice. Christine, how you doing? Well, yeah, I'm beautiful very nice. I call it my abstract work uh oh, yeah, I was just playing with him I've played around with a lot of muted colors and very you wanna try working a little countries or proportion ok that I was like I want to do that okay, so go on to something else feel free okay does anyone else want to experiment with illustrator? Anyone here have illustrator skills and your personal reference when you're using your list because you also use both your hands on what looks what's your experience of using if you like elektronik color as opposed to just, you know, paper and cutting clearly you enjoy both paper is so much better for what reason I like reflected light easier on the eyes I'm also not a big sitter as you can tell it's not good for your backs, you know and I always tell the story of my students when I was coming up in design we stood all the time I started a drafting table you know? We weren't sitting at computers we were moving around, it was a very physical experience. You have to get up and walk to a different room in order to make a photo staffed or something like that. Nowadays my students tend to sit for eight hours, ten hours at a time and I can just imagine what they're back they're going to be like, you know, five years from now or ten years from now in fact I have students who are even in their thirties yet and they're already complaining about back problems good thing teo, if you do work at a computer you know to get up, stand up, move away but for me, there's nothing like reflected light the's colors up here are beautiful and vivid and they are what they are as supposed to the digital display, which is depending on calibration and what screen you're looking at what the light is like in the room it's very difficult it's not as much fun, but it is necessary. How can you be a graphic designer and not work at a computer these days? You can't it's impossible and it's certainly typography is something what we use almost exclusively on the computer, although I teach lettering also lettering, hand lettering and there again, if you're working with pencils are charcoal contact rounds, markers, paints, making lettering designs, working with color and lettering designs is a great experience, really beautiful thing this segment we've been learning about how to put your colors together in terms of their warm for this exception, yeah, the yellow worked beautifully so really stands out now you've got a sense of hierarchy and and that one piece of yellow look at how it's balanced by all those colors around it so the purple, the blue, green, the tents nothing is I mean there's those purples, those darker ones are definitely fighting for attention, but they're not winning at all they're they're definitely back there for me at least some people may feel differently about for this one line I have only one dark purple evidence and the purple reacts to the black background as opposed to the white yeah, the other thing you start to see is you know, if you're if you're framing, for example and if you have this idea of say, what should I put this photograph against, you know, black or white? I often look at the edges and if the edges they're primarily dark, I tend to maybe think about a lighter background if they're primarily light attend to think about a darker background so I have some contrast if that's the effect I want and I was going to ask because our hill is asking online richard, is there such a thing as colors that clash and she's just never be used together because I know they used to say louis greene should never be seen I think that was an expression I got particularly are you thinking about clothes? But I don't know if that applies to everything else I think that's pretty subjective yeah yeah is a lot of color is but the idea of clashing clashing colors I read this quote recently there's another great book called color works video para and he interviews a lot of designers in this book I think polish airs interviewed in and I think she says something or paraphrases something I'll paraphrase there aren't no ugly colors they're just not colors that aren't used well together and I think that's true it's uh so I don't know certainly it is a matter of taste you know? Some people might say that the colors you're wearing a clash you know, they might say that but we'll be in the chat room look what he's already but that I think it's so subjective I don't really think about that too often I really am open minded about things and for me as someone who teaches color, I want people to explore these options for themselves and not to have preconceptions about what something might be they need to see it first very hesitant to endorse any idea thatjust being talked about especially when it comes to color I really have to see it but I want to ask you a question, richard, because that is something I'm just an energy that you're giving off I just love your passion for this subject so I really want to know for myself where did this come from? Where does your passion for coloring you okay start that's a good question on bit's say is actually how I lead off my own book because I have to talk about that where does this come from? Uh it happened very late in life actually um I was asked to teach a course at s p a that had never been taught before. It was a course, a foundation course for advertising, art directors, students who were interested in advertising, some students who are interesting, grafted them, but mean the advertising, and it was a foundation course, meaning giving them the skills that they would need for further study now in advertising as soon as you get into concept development it's kind of like the understanding is you already know how to design. Now you're just working with ideas, so these kids really needed a like a crash course of boot camp, essentially in foundational studies, in color and inform. And the director of the program at richard wild asked me to develop this course, and it was two thousand two, and I had never taught color before I taught typography, I taught graphic design, I had kind of used what I knew about color, and like many people, I was like looking at paul rand and saying, I like those colors, I'm going to use those colors, uh, or someone else or I'd go and see, uh, something at moma look at kandinsky in it, I'm going to use those colors, but I really didn't have any sense of theory, so in two thousand two I started studying color and the first class was just pure experimentation I really didn't know what I was doing we did a lot of collage slowly I developed it and it was really reading and re reading and re reading you wanna sit and elders think about both of those books and both of those authors teachers it could be the german english translation to some degree it just could be the way they speak but it's very difficult text and you have to re read it several times in order to really understand it and over six or seven years I was able to do this and actually assimilated but the real understanding I have to say happened when I was kind of forced into writing a book about color which happened in two thousand eleven so kind of late in the game after I have been teaching in a long time I was finally forced to actually put it into words and I have to say since writing that book I am twice is good with color and talking about color and thinking about colors I wass because it forced me to really think about theory and to articulate it um and that's kind of been you know, my background but I went to undergrad art school and study black and white photography so I was dealing with was contrast of light and dark for a long time that's all I had and it really focused my attention specifically on that contrast for most of my life as a designer until literally like the last decade or so, no, I know that the online audience are absolutely loving what you're showing with us riches beginning with a background in there. That's what christine actually created online? Sort of line on using illustrator nice example of complimentary contrasts. I mean, really good mixtures there. Really? Interesting range of colors. Very vivid colors, some less physical l so complimentary. Contrast the blue in the orange. Very nice. Look at that. Also a little bit of light and dark here and slight variance of warming. Cool, beautiful. I love the table's too. I don't know if you can. This is the range of colors in front of you isn't just inspiring. Doesn't it just make you want to, like, get all those colors and surround you that's. Nice. So that's. A very strategic design. You see the diagonal, you see on one side of that, no contrast of light and dark and then something else happening on the other side. Little bit of a complementary contrast thing going on. Very nice. A little hard to see. But if the angle looks nice the parallelogram nice. Okay, so contrast of light and dark prices that you'll see that christine this is your aunt. I was interested in you if you had any criticism. Because for some reason I find this one visually pleasing. I find this one also visually pleasing. This one is it's. Just not very interesting to me. And I don't. I don't quite know exactly why do you have any thoughts on exactly what's going on between them? Yeah. I'm not really associating with those two dark colors with the rest of it. They they feel like too much of an anomaly. You know that word anomaly? It's it's. Something that's very, very different. An anomaly can be overly good element in the design because it does focus your attention. I think in this case, it's just too much. Um I think if you were tio, go more in the red. Like a darker, darker red, but not that dark. It probably work a little bit better. Wow. Look at this gorgeous look at that. And this is an option. You can always put a little space in between so you can clearly see the grid structure. Very nice warms and cool. So yellow greens and blues greens and more middle greens. Nice. Very good. You guys let's work.

Class Description


Our response to color comes from the place in our brain where trust, loyalty, behavior, and decision occur – every successful project relies on a designer making smart choices about color.

In Color for Designers: Exploration, Theory, & Application, Richard Mehl will give you a foundational understanding of color theory principles and demonstrate how to apply them. Richard has studied alongside design legends, Paul Rand, Bradbury Thompson and Herbert Matter and in this class he’ll share insights gleaned from 12 years of teaching and writing about color in design.

Richard takes an accessible approach to the serious study of color theory for designers. You’ll be exposed to a relevant series of ideas and skills by exploring a range of analog and digital projects. Richard will discuss:

  • Color terminology and meaning
  • How to view color in context
  • Contrast grids and color illusion
  • Tips for creating harmonious color palettes

In Color for Designers: Exploration, Theory, & Application you’ll develop a new awareness and sensitivity to color that will bolster your confidence in your personal and professional design work.

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