Hands On Free Study Experiment


Color for Designers: Exploration, Theory, & Application


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 out as well we can move into free studies where we employed transparency but also the idea of making one color looks like two so maybe you could do a, uh some kind of a composition where those two things are going on pollution of transparency and also this idea of making one call it looks 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 traumatic part of the gray the red part of the grey you need to boost in order to bring the red forward in order to bring the greed for be opposite so the great becomes more green essentially trying to find that middle color and, you know, 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 m...

uch 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 competition are going to feel more important like therein front versus him 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 multiplied tool or 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 need actually picking out that color and like, what would it look like in my mind you know? So this is so challenging but exciting and still kind of teaching you a little bit about are making you more aware of these interactions of color yeah make trips on top which ones on the bottom so just to complete this composition um let's just let's just take away this red okay completely and keep the rest so now we have a clearer I have to line it up in the area I round 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 assembling oh, nice. So here now with on the blackboard the yellow because of its contrast to the black is really projecting itself forward, but purple diminishes and goes back and becomes assimilated with the black the red also push pushes forward. No, 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 can't remember particularly what it was for, but I used some really interesting kind of shapes to create a field theo 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 the 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 if you could 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, a 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 reddish gray or a blue greenish grey I've had also people asking the chat rooms about this particular paper and I think it's called tolerate isn't it yes is this particular box there four and a half by six and there's three hundred fourteen different colors I believe in this particular set so this this is all our students have this um yeah she's really really quite beautiful to see it'll spread out like that it's a luxury to have a table this large work on for sure we have to say a big thank you to melissa jackson up about shin designer for this table she she actually made it over the weekend and she's a real superstars 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 kind of a project something like that I think would be very playful very fun it would absolutely I say we just tried too dark definitely knew we had something with a little bit 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 too. You're going more in the free study directions. They're getting away from rectangles and working more, which is designed more like orangey go for the yellow. You're being very economical and the most useful tiny little pieces but that's that's fine. You know, color rate is actually thes boxes of colorado. Just the audience should know a box like this, I think is about sixty dollars. So it's, you know, that said I still have a box from art school thirty years ago big that I got for twenty five dollars it's a giant pieces and I have kept it all these years. I'm 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. 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 going to 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 tio 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 interested thank you now would be a great question from laura she's saying could we use paint chips from the hardware store in place of the rather pricey color pay absolutely that works too yeah uh many of my students rely solely on pay chips if they can afford about color raid they go to in new york a genetic plaza or some other place where they can get and the people people they're very nice about giving you samples you know and they 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 it doesn't have to be tolerated, it can be wallpaper can be scraps of paper that you find the packaging it could have texture on it many, many things you can do with this now's 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 terror and when you tear paper like you see here you can have edges where the white has exposed the inside of the paper were not exposed this is one of the essential variations of using cut paper scissors on tearing 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 they're jagged uh 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 piece to have a little bit of imprecision it's kind of interesting you know, I used to be the exact opposite if if I had a project and visit 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 job was a graphic designer I was working for this excuse me crazy british guy you still are on the way and you know what we started but he was the kind of guy who if we're making drawing a line with a ruling pan or technical ken I would have to look at the very end of the line through a magnifying glass taken exactly knife and cut the end of the line's who was perfectly square we're talking about a line that may be the thickness of a ballpoint pen 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 is long as you're paying attention you could get very, very precise things so I find with work like this it's handmade the imprecision adds a great deal of quality and characters in peace I like that I like the idea the idea of having the ability to do precise work on the computer but then also the ability tohave imprecision and this humanistic kind of feel by making it by hand and I kind of think that's where the whole artists and movement is going to we have not necessarily a rejection of the computer but response to it that's a really good point, christine what's your take you a perfectionist? I think you are because earlier on you looked like you'd actually measured the line and I know I'm so stuck on this one and our town richard, I don't know, I don't cut it yet if I'm not sure that that like 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 plants from the computer absolutely yeah, 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 and I let her talk about it, but it combines hand drawing with a computer in a really interesting way 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 impermanent 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 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 mean 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 it's very different than this which is physical and, you know, our hands are touching it and perspiring and adding something to it as we were and if you're using glue, you get messy of using paint, you get that on your jeans there on your pants and that 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 hand just the way it is and I actually kind of like that it's kind of like the painter's studio that's all splattered on the floor versus something is pristine and white you want to integrate a little bit of uh 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 air beautiful colors see those are you're talking about complementary colors they're 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 it probably could achieve a certain transparency without nice 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 you doing over here? I'm experiment probably strip like crossing so like these would be the eyes were they were their planes of color that air just simply overlapping this waiver besides okay yeah so like as if this whole strip was purple and this whole strip is green but they're over a lie having to make the brown this is also like this one like this too like that on the table surface yeah so I'd like to hear actually, from our students in the studio how this is, you know, the second that we have a session one bryce house that's being human rights, he was saying earlier you actually work in app development so you use a lot of digital color, write the paper except being something quite exciting for you being your overall experience. Yeah, this is interesting. It's it's nice to finally get your hands on something and it's definitely interesting to think about the what what colors air in between two colors sometimes a lot of times your putting together a color scheme or thinking about okay here's, the hero color here are the other ones but you kind of tend toe stay really close to the hero color and being able to think about okay, well, why don't we do these two complementary colors and then explore kind of what's in between those two it's started to open up in my head a lot more ways toe find things that you could 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 could see that it would have to be to be driven obviously by the purpose of the product or the service and the company that needed them, but yeah, I think this's more than anything I think is giving me a 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 contestant on arianna house has been for you now you'll see worth a little bit of fashion as well you're using colorful fabric yeah it's it's interesting it's tough really helped me put words to things that I've been doing with out 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 may not be a good idea keeping up subtraction something like that they're gonna blow but I think it'll help me talk to like brides about the different colors of like whites and ivory's and yeah and warm and cool warm and cool different tense because summer more yellow in someone more blue or purple or pink I love the story that you told also about this using a transparent kind of a family teo achieve a warmer tone or warmer color yeah that's very interesting you're way too young area on earth but they used to be a fashion designer called teddy who worked exclusively in sports truman he designed for women mainly in tennis in the days when they had to wear white there was no one else and he used to design all these colors underneath because he was determined to get around the rules somehow so allow hatred 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 and pushed and now I think sports is all cover, isn't it? But many people blamed him for ruining tennis because they liked but he was fast he did exactly what you do he would he would not put the colors underneath which which circumvented the rules it was fine because they were watson strictly itwas strictly white and now the courts are no longer just green or red clay color either. So what I think wimbledon would be the only green isn't at the u s australian is blow. Yeah, interesting. What about other students here? I think that this is great. Um me just personally as a graphic designer and designing interface is how things are becoming more flat digitally and just using this this strategy I can see the correlation between the two just using my different shapes and colors to create shapes I thought the box the colorful box and some of it looks like that is a great example of how tow you know create an icon maybe just changing colors so it's not that it's the spaces missing that's just a different color so just and my background views like like she mission before like different blending moves like multiply two established those lips but now I know howto I'm learning how to use that uh that same tactic dis changing colors 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 this one day you studied something, you know, a little bit of theory you know how to, uh create, uh, the's illusions you also know about these contrasts so that's all part of this creative tool kit that you're developing as a designer and as you move on and you mature as 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 did trucks always that 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 consider design 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 is going to work but then 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 glad that I have a word to put to that now figuring that out and then figuring out what's the feeling do you want it to be like a warm at maybe it's something where it's social interaction or you're working with friends and that's maybe you use more warm colors it's more business related that maybe it's more cool colors or green or things associated with with money or blue or something like that 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 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 public comes online you know the effects of animation you know and what happens when you things start to move in space and overlap and that idea of spatial illusion as it applies to moving imagery just anyone who's designing now for screen has to think about that it's no longer a static image now things that move continually laura take on this project would you be able to use this? Are you learning from what? What, what, what 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 and just my personal aesthetic, but I was doing a lot of reading about what colors mean in different cultures because they'll be working with people from different countries so it's just kind of curious if they're 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 kind of interesting to at least understand the background of thumb 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 a same thing with a company or a brand you know that's just a starting point like what next you know you 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 chain you work a lot with paint? Have you tried any of these exercises with painters or have you tried metal before? No, I have that it's yeah, I mean, is that interest you would you try to try mixing colors to see if you get you know you you actually being the only daring person here is not stuck to the scissors in the rules you've actually been tearing for that's good thing rich was saying it's the same challenge. Yeah, but that's great. You've got the tauron thing going something now what's that song rip it up to start again. Yeah, well, you know it's when you make stuff like that there's you like I tell my students you 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 there's many things going on and it's, kind of like looking at a jackson pollock, 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 torn paper, actually, even like the dimensions of it. It's, really good texture, beautiful and serena, now you've got some multiple colors going on here, looking really good for me. A lot of this is, you know, is intuitive, and this is helping me give language to why I make the choices that I make their times when I missed the shop, because it's so easy to do there. But I think this I can see better instead of just turning down a passage. E, I'm actually figured out exactly which colors make what you know. It's, it's, more concrete.

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.