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Hands On Free Study Experiment

Lesson 10 from: Color for Designers: Exploration, Theory, & Application

Richard Mehl

Hands On Free Study Experiment

Lesson 10 from: Color for Designers: Exploration, Theory, & Application

Richard Mehl

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Lesson Info

10. Hands On Free Study Experiment

Apply your color theory learnings thus far in a free study experiment, combining color concepts and focussing on the process of exploration. Richard’s students in the CreativeLive studio share how color theory applies to their roles and design experiences.

Lesson Info

Hands On Free Study Experiment

don't necessarily feel compelled just to use the sisters. If you want to tear a piece of paper, now is the time to start that as well. We can move into free studies where we employ transparency, but also the idea of making one color looks like to. So maybe you can dio uh, some kind of a composition where those two things are going on illusion of transparency. And also this idea of making Manco looked like two or two colors look like one part of this is sort of intuitive. But what was I doing like So when the red is on top, is it? You want more of a warmer tone to the grey? You want to hear you Exactly. So the chromatic part of the gray, the red part of the grey you need to boost in order to bring the red forward to bring the greed for the opposite. So the great becomes more green essentially that you're trying to find that middle color and you're pushing the middle color toward one of the background colors in order to make it seem like it's emerging are receding. So this this idea has ...

much more practical value. That's kind of easy to understand in terms of visual hierarchy, right? So if you're able to create the illusion of certain colors emerging and certain colors receding, that can create a very clear visual hierarchy, some parts of the composition, some elements within your composition are going to feel more important, like there in front versus in back. Yeah, so think about the implications of that with, say, a message of some kind or multiple messages where you want one word to be very important and another word to be less important. So by creating this illusion that one word is actually projecting itself out and the other one going back in space, you can create that effect. Christine, have you ever used transparency and energy to work only in photo shop like the like with the multiply tour? You know, when you play with colors and exactly like this, like to make a nice shade of purple like the red and blue. But to create a color, Yeah, but it's never like meet actually picking out of the color and, like, what would it look like in my mind? You know, So this is so challenging. But exciting. Still kind of teaching you a little bit about are making you more aware of these interactions of color. Yeah. Make Trump's on top, which wants on the bottom. So it just to complete this composition. Um, just just take away this red, okay? Completely and keep the rest. So now we have a clearer you have to line it up again. Very go. I ruined it. Yeah, very nice. So now we can start to see this idea of a visual hierarchy. Now, I'd love to look at this on a blackboard as well. Can't be assembled. Oh, nice. It's much cover. So here, now with on the blackboard, the yellow, because of its contrast to the black is really projecting and so forward the purple diminishes and goes back and becomes assimilated with the black, the red also push pushes forward. Now, go ahead. Try to find something where these two overlap make it a chain. I actually have used this effect in commercial work. I've created some pretty interesting abstract landscapes. Um, I can't remember particularly what it was four, but I used some really interesting kind of shapes to create a a field thing. Effect of a field of color and in order to make the field, seemed to come alive to be dynamic. I created these transparency illusions. So rather than being a flat color, I created this sense of movement within this flat color by having these transparency effects colors projecting forward and back within this field. That's very nice, really beautiful and just like that one. So you know, from your mixtures already that you have to basically complementary colors here, the red and the blue green. And so we know that this is going to be some kind of, ah, neutral. It could be closer to the red or could be closer to the blue, but probably some kind of a chromatic gray that has a little bit of blue green or a little bit of red in it. So a reddish grey or a blue greenish grey? Is that a word? I've had also people asking in the chat rooms about this particular paper, and it is called Qala Raid, isn't it? Yes, this particular box there 4.5 by six. And there's 314 different colors. I believe in this particular set, so this thistle our students have This, um, actually is really, really quite beautiful. Just to see it all spread out like that. It's a luxury to have a table this large you could work on for sure. We have to say a big thank you to Mr Jackson up about in designer for this table. She she actually made it over the weekend. She's a real superstar, so Well, well done, Melissa. It's also very nice to work collaboratively like this. It's going to table and to share colors. No, with with an exercise like this, where we're really the objective is not to make a masterpiece, a work of art, piece of design, you just experimenting with colors. This is a perfect environment for something like that and for, you know, people at home if they want to get together with their kids and do this this kind of a project, something like that, I think, would be very playful and very fun. Oh, it would absolutely. Yeah, I say we just try it Time Too dark? No. Definitely knew something with a little bit. It's That's definitely better. That one. Let's go in the other direction. Something a little bit more blue, green, blue, green, grey. That's beautiful. Very nice. I like this to your going more in the free study direction. So you're getting away from rectangles and working more, which is designed. I need more like orangy go for the yellowing. You're being very economical and most useful tiny little pieces, but that's that's fine, you know, color. It is actually thes boxes of cholera. Just the audience should know A box like this, I think, is about $60. So it's, you know, that said, I still have a box from art school 30 years ago big that I got for $25. It's giant pieces, and I have kept it all these years scared to cut into it because it's such a nice, valuable piece. I keep buying new boxes and just kind of using them up Now. You mentioned earlier Richard, that you thought this was a really good exercise with Children. Osama is asking. Speaking of Children, would you recommend these exercises for getting kids familiar with color color concepts? Absolutely. Yeah, yeah, but you somehow have to try to make it fun. So rather than rectangles, you're gonna cut out little bears or some other kind of a shape later when working with tan grams. Uh, that might be a good experience to try to integrate colors that way with a little bit of transparency. But that's what I would do for sure. If you're working with kids, try Teoh. Get some playful shapes, player shapes that they can relate to. You know, two silhouettes of bears or bunnies overlapping each other can create the same exact color illusion. One in front, one in back. Interesting. Thank you now would Ah, that's a great question from Laura, she's saying. Could we use paint chips from the hardware store in place of the rather pricey color? Absolutely. That works, too. Yeah, many of my students rely solely on pay trips. If they can't afford a box of color raid they go to in New York a genetic plaza or some other place where they can get in the people. Home Depot. They're very nice about just giving you samples, you know, and other come free. They are free. They will, you know, small pieces, but you can definitely do it that way. And then also, you can paint your own colors, right? Um you can paint sheets of color and cut those up you can use any kind of paper. Doesn't have to be call aerated. It can be wallpaper. It can be scraps of paper that you find packaging. It could have texture on it. Yeah, many, many things you can do with us. So now is a good time to begin experimenting a little bit. So feel free to cut things and cut paper. By the way, it's all about the imprecision. We wanted to be precise. We could work on the computer right, and making rectangles of the computer is very easy to do here. If you're cutting out a shape like this perfectly acceptable right or even shaped like that, where you tear the paper is perfectly acceptable, so feel free. You know you can increase the compositional possibilities by giving yourself the option of starting to tear. And when you tear paper like you see here, you can have edges where the white is exposed. The inside of the paper were not exposed. This is one of the essential variations of using cut paper scissors. When Terry keep the idea of playing mind pure experimentation, we don't know the outcome. We don't really care about the outcome because it's more about getting there and give yourself that license, that authority to tear paper, to cut it awkwardly. If you have a chance to go see them, a T show in New York you'll see that those pieces of paper that he's cutting are not precisely cut it all their jagged. They're put together with tape and push pins and rudimentary kinds of glues. It really adds for my peeling. It adds to the the humanistic quality of the peace to have a little bit of imprecision. It's kind of interesting. I used to be the exact opposite if if I had a project and is it? Before I started working on the computer, I would do anything possible to make it as perfect as possible. Uh, so one of my very first jobs is a graphic designer. I was working for this Excuse me, crazy British guy. You still are, and you know we started. But he was the kind of guy who, if we're making drawing a line with a ruling pan or technical 10 I would have to look at the very end of the line through a magnifying glass, taken Exacto knife and cut the end of the line. So was perfectly square. We're talking about a line that maybe the thickness of a ballpoint pan. Tiny, tiny, tiny, very, very precise. And that's kind of how I came up, that level of precision. And now, of course, with computers that's automatic. As long as you're paying attention, you can get very, very precise things. So I find with work like this, it's handmade. The imprecision adds a great deal of quality and character of the piece. I like that. I like the I b the idea of having the ability to do precise work on the computer, but then also the ability to have imprecision and this humanistic kind of feel by making it by hand. And I kind of think that's where the whole artisan movement is going to. We have not necessarily a rejection of the computer, but a response to it. That's a really good point. Yeah, Christine, what's your take? You of perfection is I think you are because earlier on you looked like you actually measured the line. And I know I'm so stuck on this one and I was telling Richard, I don't know. I don't cut it yet if I'm not sure that that's not the one. But I do agree. I think a lot of people are leaning more towards the handmade now, especially with lettering right now, like people kind of gravitate more towards like, Oh, the handmade like the lettering that's all drawn out versus just, you know, using wants from the computer. Absolutely. And it's getting bigger now. Um, tomorrow, when, uh, Lauren home is interviewed, she's she has a lettering technique that is really interesting. Now let her talk about it. But it combines hand drawing with a computer in a really interesting way. Um, Pablo to it. He's done a lot of hand lettering and you know, the ability to draw with chalk on a board, say, and even chalk on a board, which is something that is completely ephemeral, goes away so quickly someone rubs against it. It's gone. I love that idea of impermanence, and it's not even like it's it's exactly It feels so approachable, so human, so human. Yeah, yeah, and the opposite of this. Yeah, yeah, yeah. I often talk about the work in terms of it being, and this is a kind of a different experience and warm and cool colors. But a work being having heat or meaning humanity to it, or work being cold, meaning more computer driven. You know, that level of precision actually is. It doesn't necessarily have to be cool, but there's an expression in there. I think that's really genuine. That there is a coldness to this is very different than this, which is physical. And you know her hands are touching it and perspiring and adding something to eat as we work. And if you're using glue, you get messy or using paint. You get that on your genes or on your pants, and it becomes part of the experience. I routinely, when I'm teaching in the classroom, kneel down in order to get close to the table, you know, and so all of my pants have scuffs on the knees. If I'm mixing wash, it's going to get on my clothes. You know, back in the day when I was a photographer, I was and I never wore an apron. I was continually getting stuff on my and just the way it is, and I actually kind of like that. It's kind of like the painter studio that's all splattered on the floor versus something that's pristine and white. You want to integrate a little bit of color subtraction, maybe one color look like to. You can try to take colors and place them on different fields, take the same color and put it on. Two different colors include that in your composition. And if there's a little white that comes into the competition with the ripped edge of the paper all the better. Those are beautiful colors. See, those are your talking about complementary colors there, a reddish color and a greenish color working together. And then that middle color, which is the Browns kind of the combination of those colors. You probably could achieve a certain transparency without nice that it's very beautiful. And look how this weight becomes so important in the composition, that one little speck of weight. That's a great over that right there. What do you doing over here? I'm experimenting, asking lovely. I like crossing so like these would be the over laughing eyes where they were their planes and color that air just simply overlapping this way. Very precise OK? Yeah. So, like as if this whole strip was purple and this whole strip is green, but they're overlapping to make the this also like this one like this too. I like that on the table surface? Yeah, I'd love to hear, actually, from our students here in the studio how this is allowed segments that we had in session one Bryce house. That's being for you, right? He was saying earlier you actually work in app development. So you use a lot of digital color, right? So the paper, except being something quite exciting for you, what's been your overall experience? Yeah, this is interesting. It's It's nice toe. Finally get your hands on something and, um, it's definitely interesting to think about the what? What colors? Air in between two colors. Sometimes a lot of times you're putting together a color scheme or thinking about OK, here's the hero color here, the other ones, But you kind of tend toe stay really close to the hero color and being able to think about Okay, what we do is to complementary colors and then explorer kind of what's in between those two. It started to open up in my head a lot more ways. Toe. Find things that you can actually put together that would still look and feel harmonious. That's great Surprise the pallets that you've made today. Would you be using those in your everyday projects? I I could see that it would have to be have to be driven, obviously by the the purpose of the product or the service and the company that needed them. But, yeah, I think this is more than anything. I Thanksgiving your framework toe. Start with something and then start to explore around that color instead of what I normally do up until now, which is just picked that color and then maybe make a little bit lighter, a little bit darker, and then that's kind of the end of it. This fills it out a little bit more. The test right and Arianna House has been for you now. You actually worked a little bit of fashion as well. You're using colorful fabric. Yeah, it's it's interesting. Um, it's definitely helped me put words to things that I've been doing without knowing quite why. So that's a big part of color theory. Yeah, is figuring out the why part of it. Yeah, and coming up with words that help you describe what it is you do. Not that you necessarily want to talk to clients about color theory. That may not be a good idea. If you bring up subtraction, something like that, they're gonna blow. I think it will help me talk to like brides about the different colors of, like whites and Ivory's Yeah, in warm and cool, warm and cool. Different tints because summer more yellow in some of more blue or purple or pink. I love the story that you told also about this, using a transparent kind of effect to achieve a warmer tone or warmer color. Yeah, that's very interesting. Your way too young area on a. But they used to be a fashion designer called Teddy 10 Link, who worked exclusively in sports Any designed for women, mainly in tennis. In the days when they had to wear white, there was no room, everything else, and he used to design all these colors underneath because he was determined to get around the rules somehow. So awake. He lined everything with these bright colors so he could because he felt the white was just so boring as a designer on eventually pushed and pushed in person. Now I think sports is all color, isn't it? But many people blamed him for ruining tennis because they liked it was faster. He did exactly what you don't Even he would have put the colors underneath, which which circumvented the rules. It was fine because they wasn't strictly it, while strictly white. Yeah, and now the courts are no longer just really boring play color either. So but I think Wimbledon would be the only green isn't at the U. S. Australian is blown. Yeah, Interesting. What about other students here? How's it being? I think that this is great. Um, me just personally as a graphic designer, um, and designing interfaces how things are becoming more flat visually and just using this this strategy, I can see the correlations between the two. I'm just using, like, different shapes and colors to create shapes. Like I thought the box, the colorful box, Um and some of it looks like that is a great example of how toe you know, creating icon, maybe just changing color. So it's not that it's the spaces of missing. That's just a different color. And so just, um, in my background used like like she mentioned before, like different blending moves like multiply to establish those lips. But now I know how toe I'm I'm learning how to use that. That same tactic dis change, the color existed. You can say that. You know how to do it. You know, no more than a majority of the people on the planet about color. Even just with this one day you studied something you know, a little bit of theory. You know how to, uh, create, uh, thes illusions. You also know about these contrasts. So that's all part of the street of toolkit that you're developing as a designer. And as you move on and you mature is a designer, you get more and more experience. Each one of these things you can do just adds to your your ability to make great design. It never detracts always at It's interesting. I just changing colors can add dimension to it. It's amazing. Would you guys you work with APS? You design ups? Would you ever considered design an app or conceiving of a nap by beginning with color? It's definitely So when I work with clients than there's a couple things to figure out, there's what is, You know the purpose of it. I was gonna work. But then, yeah, a big part of it is creating the style guide. And what are what are the hero? Color is a big one. That's a That's a I'm glad that I have a word to put to that. Now, Um, figuring that out and then figuring out what's that was the feeling. Do you want it to be like a warm at? Maybe if it's something where it's social interaction or you're working with friends and that's maybe you use more warm colors. If it's more business related that maybe it's more cool colors or green or things that succeed with with money or blue or something like that. Um, so, yeah, it's definitely something that you talk about really early on when you're figuring out exactly what's the feeling that you want to get in the colors that are kind of associated with that, Yeah, yeah, so you have these associations that are very important. You say green with money and political associations and things like that. But it's always like. Okay, what's next? I've got the green now what? And now it's not just a matter of light and dark. It's other things that could come into play as well. Plus these kinds of interesting things that create this, this sense of simultaneity, two things happening at the same time, one color overlapping another, and then, perhaps is we'll see when we get when trouble comes online. You know the effects of animation, you know, And what happens when you think start to move in space and overlap And that idea of and it's spacial illusion as it applies to moving imagery does. Anyone who's designing now for screen has to think about that. It's no longer a static image. It's now things that move continually take on this project. Would you be able to use this? Are you learning for for what you want? What, actually, what will line the U. N will support your work. So I am in the process of starting my own business and colors, actually something I've thought about a lot when I convey the feeling of my business and also tying in just my personal aesthetic. But I was doing a lot of reading about what colors mean in different cultures, because we'll be working with people from different countries. So it's just kind of curious if there certain colors to stay away from based on their meaning. And there's no one universal color that works in every country. I mean, blue means death in certain places and doesn't mean that another country. So it just kinda interesting to at least understand the background of thumb, um, for the various people will be working with. I think that's important for sure is to do that research and find out what those color associations are. Cultural associations, whatever. But that's like it's say the same thing with a company or a brand. You know, that's just a starting point. Like what next? You know, say you do have the blue What else comes next? You know, what else can you bring into that that's going to engage people and make it memorable? Yeah, Jane, you work a lot with paint. Have you tried any of these exercises with paint tours, or have you tried metal before? No, I haven't. So it's Yeah. I mean, is that interest you? Would you try? Try mixing colors to see if you get you, you've actually been the only daring person here is not stuck to the scissors and the rules you've actually been tearing. That's good. Rich was saying he has the same challenge. Yeah, but that's great. You've got the touring thing going stopping now. What's that song? Rip it up and start again? Yeah, well, you know, it's when you make stuff like that. Um, there's you like I tell my students, you build and build and build, and then you start to look at parts. One of the first lessons I had as a photographer was too. Look down and get closer and closer and closer. In other words, focus in closer and closer and closer. So, for example, with your composition here has many things going on, and it's kind of like looking a Jackson public. You know, it's like this big sea of activity happening everywhere. But if you look at one little spot, you can isolate the shapes and start to control it in a way that becomes kind of interesting. And I love the toilet paper, actually, even like the dimensions of it, it's really good texture, beautiful Serena You know, you've got some multiple colors going on here looking really good. Yeah. So for me, a lot of this is, you know, is intuitive. And this is helping me give language to Why make the choices that I make their times when I miss voter talk? Because it's so easy to do there. But I think this I can see better. You know, instead of just turning down a passage e, I'm actually figured out exactly which colors make what you know, if it's more concrete.

Class Materials

bonus material with purchase

Playing With Color - Color Design Glossary
Playing With Color - Color Wheels
Playing With Color - Leaf Collage
Playing With Color - Patterns
Color Grid Template
Tangram Template
Playing With Color - Wallpaper - 1280x800
Playing With Color - Wallpaper - 1200x900
Playing With Color - Wallpaper iPad
Playing With Color - Wallpaper iPhone

Ratings and Reviews

Nabha
 

The course was great. Richard was a very good teacher, appreciating the students’ work and helping them expand and improve on it. I learned from that alone. I feel more confident in choosing colors, and hope to bring a greater sense of fun to my design work. Thanks again.

PETE
 

How wonderful to have such an experienced, thoughtful teacher, who takes educating others so seriously. The depth and breadth of his teaching skill is matched by his knowledge of the subject. I studied art in school, own some of the color books he recommends, and learned far more than I thought possible. And he does it all in such a kind, affirming, supportive way. What a calm guide. How lucky are we to have access to a class with him!

Joe Loffredo
 

I was concerned that I wouldn't like watching everyone work, but I found that it was the best part! It allowed you to see Richard's lessons being put into action by the various students, each of which is talented in their own right. And Richard is great. Knowledgeable, intelligent, and supportive, he's got the attributes a great teacher should have. I'm a painter, not a designer, but the class really helped me a lot. When I go back to the canvas, it will be with a much deeper understanding of color, and how colors interact with each other.

Student Work

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