Color for Designers: Exploration, Theory, & Application

Lesson 13 of 20

Hands On: Tangrams

 

Color for Designers: Exploration, Theory, & Application

Lesson 13 of 20

Hands On: Tangrams

 

Lesson Info

Hands On: Tangrams

For the people at home who are watching this um again if you do a google search you will see patterns for template are template patterns for tang grams and what you can do is print them out and trace them onto the back of a piece of paper and cut them out and if you're cutting out tang graham shapes you can use the scissors you can use an exacto knife I like to draw on the back of the paper that I'm planning to use so that the lines that I'm using to draw with aren't you going to show up on the front so you really have to think about whether you're designing a a structural composition or a composition of movement or symbolic composition it's kind of let it go on dh see what you get you might start off with the idea of structure and it ends up being symbolic or you might start off with the idea of symbolic and ends up being about movement it might end up being about both things I like to stand up so you can see and stand over the top of things so christine what do you um just starting o...

ut with her you've got a radio on blue yeah and how would you describe that blue it's more of a you a green blue way we're talking about this yesterday you were saying yeah you know how do you describe the color and uh and I told you it johanna satan's technique was to always use the name of the primary first and the secondary second so if we're talking about and in between color a tertiary color so it would be blue violet or blue green in this case that would be sort of a blue green blue green now we associated with hell or perhaps there are other words that people might use to associate with that color but ultimately it's somewhere in between blue and green so the primary color named first blue secondary color names green yeah and that's true for all of the tertiary colors. Yeah, I was saying I remember the names of colors based on the box of seventy two crayola occurrence ahead it's a kid and it was like passed me the orange jello or yellow orange like bills were two different colors and so I was asking richard how do you tell which one's the yellow are? I mean, so he was saying yeah, the primary was actually that's a that's actually a good system to you know, to say yellow orange or orange jello implies two very different kinds of yellow orange yeah, so it's not the basic idea of using the primary name first in the secondary name second but in some ways it's actually clearer, you know, a yellow orange is closer to yellow and orange yellow is closer to orange a little bit more specific for our purposes you know, if you just keep the colors named very simply then we can think about the color wheel which has twelve colors as opposed to say twenty for your colors very dark, very low contrast and that's okay too we don't have to have high contrast contrast is not always extreme that's something that maybe we didn't really talk that much about yesterday but waded in contrast of light and dark so contrast could be a lot or a little so you can use colors that are very close in value very little contrast or contrast of aa lot right? So here we have kind of a low contrast competition going you can still see the shapes the plenty of contrast against the black but that color is a darker color it's a muted color it's a dull color look that beautiful triangles you have going there well that's beautiful, very symmetrical, very structured and what shape do you have left triangle on medium one medium sized travel look at the figure ground so you framed that diamond shape with white and then you have the v shaped is coming off its idea of reading both the figure in the ground is very important you guys familiar with it's a very popular example of a great use of figure ground in commercial practice the fedex logo, the arrow that exists between the d and the and once you see that you won't ever see anything else is a ford driving facing arrow as part of the logo part of the design really beautiful and it really gets you thinking about the relationship of figure and ground in graphic design and here you have it looked at how powerful the white is and how dominant rule that place in the competition the ground spaces define who we are, you know, think about ourselves that shapes where to find not just by our bodies but spaces around us and our relationships with each other are defined by the spaces in between us if I'm standing over there, we have a different relationship than if I'm standing right next to you so that's a really that's an example of figure ground as well and how powerful a force that is in our lives it stands out more in a white background, so it really does yeah so these shapes now look at the white does that the shapes almost become like a dark raid white has a tendency of reducing the power of a color just the distinction between the black ground and the white ground. You can see how uh uh wait reacts on how white responds to the colors of how the colors respond to white versus black so light colors like yellow really stand out against black uh, light colors don't really stand out against white but dark colors do stand out against white and white also tends to make the darker colors look a little bit different and so here actually if we take one of these shapes and we put this on the black ground and reads a little bit differently doesn't it we put it back on the ground and it has a very different feel it's attracting it probably is yeah it's making it look darker taking the whiteness out thank you for bringing that out color subtraction in play so the computer allows you to make variations of very quickly yeah, I can take the entire thing way said that this this template is going to be available um uh but if you need to make your own template and illustrator again it's probably took me about twenty minutes to construct this one it's not very hard you can get a a diagram of a template bring that in you know maybe find that on google images bring it in as a template image an illustrator and then trace those shapes on top keep them each shape on its own layer an illustrator and then you could move them around very easily so you see how the green changes is so dramatically now there isn't that fight going on between the two yellows the yellow is its own thing the greenest his own thing and the blue is in between and the white shapes are contributing to the sense of movement. This idea of watery so it's a little bit of symbolism there based on color association it's kind of interesting, right? So continuing to explore this very symmetrical design, very stable symmetry usually provides that sense of stability. You know, it's usually has a very centralized point like this and access things playing off of it in a re reflective way. Many, many symbols, many icons are very symmetrical, and they they kind of give us a sense of security because they are so absolute in their composition. Soon as you move a little bit something off the symmetrical access, then we have a little bit of instability, so that idea is very expressive. Ah, you're using again some dull colors along with a very bright color over here, I'm having trouble finding other ways other than a bright yellow to draw the eye first one or some other ways you could accomplish that, create that visual hierarchy of living using a really bright color like killer. Well, perhaps, since you already have a dull pink, don't read, maybe one of the brighter pinks up there instead of the yellow just to keep the color is very simple you're using two colors. Now there's a sense of more of a sense of harmony in the composition now we make a relationship between now if he did the same thing with the greens perhaps one green shapes a little bit darker than the others do not this is nice definitely uh just changing colors yeah and that yellow piece of the side tell us about that uh honestly I built my person in person what their for base and decided this was kind of like a sun over here uh you need to find something some kind of a role for that play right? Exactly so the human form is is very clear um some kind of has two arms, two legs a body ahead and that one element and this is often the case with the tang graham too and that's the way it's kind of a special idea and really interesting exercises you're going to end up with extra pieces that don't quite play a clear role in your competition so you have to invent something for them to do nice sunny I have two different greens a vibrant green vivid green and a dull green same thing with the magenta is a vibrant magenta and a very dull magenta alight mentioned a contrast of light and dark contrast of vivid and dull do you have a preference for working on a way or a black background? I don't think it depends on the of the situation you're in app designer yeah right so when you're designing for the screen do you think about the bathroom color is being important? It depends on what you're doing if you're gonna be doing a lot of reading than a a light background and bright our dark print is usually just easier to read if you're doing other effects or things like that like you're showing data are showing a summary or if it's like a game or something then you can kind of get in tow what's the feeling that you want people to be ableto feel at that moment like if you're showing a graph or something that you might do a darker background toe kind of let the data or things kind of pop out but also be more visually interesting than just like normal print and so yeah depending on what kind of what's going on and the kinds of things you want to do you might think about about the background so I guess I'm kind of bringing that into here with with this one I wanted this to have a little more conflict or danger and so that led me more towards the darker background like that this is a chase is happening at night or something like that and this one maybe is maybe it's someone exploring or wandering or something like that but it's not necessarily good or bad it's just it's just a little more more of a calm scene sudden that's kind of why I picked this one yeah the white is a very different kind of response with the colors on the black right here but I like the idea of it also thinking of the background color is part of the expression so back on colors are very important to do black or white subtract out come from colors in the way for for shades or tense same ing the white is going to take out its brightness from the color right soon it's going to make the colors look darker could the difference between these are the same colors? Right? Right you know what the difference is that that that's square on against the white looks so much darker and those triangles against black well good contrast one of my favorite combinations is like a very, very dark blue with black and we're talking about clashing colors yesterday and I think that is that a fashion rule to you guys about wearing dark blue with black looks like that something you shouldn't do but I do it all the time because I love that combination I love that very low contrast of dark black against the blue I assigned this problem this project to golden problems but a project tio some of my continuing studies students recently and one of the women in the class said that she went home that night and decided since this was something I had talked about it as a kids game that she would play with her kid here, her little girl and she found an app online to do ten grams and they played all night and she brought in her child's designs and they were just as beautiful as anything that you guys air creating anything I've ever seen created no there's a there's a kind of a universality to these designs anyone could do them right and you could be very, very young or very old still got a lot out of it uh still learn a lot about figure ground relationships and composition and various kinds of color contrasts and you could just have fun, so by all means, you know, if you're if you're a parent and you have kids, the tang graham is a great game to play together. This is great to see you get that black square that is in between all the colored shapes talking about this area right in here so that's using the ground to create mohr shapes actually creating shapes out of the ground session important part of design I also like the contrast of the space around the cluster of shape, so you have a lot of space on one side and then less space on the other so contrasts of size when we're talking about composition contrast the size is very important big and small creates a sense of visual hierarchy it also creates a more of a sense of dynamic um energy to the composition is if it's in movement try bringing in one more color over here she's one of those shapes and maybe flip it out for one other color and see what happens. This is nice so how would you describe these colors? His name, more money? I wanted to make a fish sort of a fish, so the hue is blue. Yeah, and we have cool blues and warm blues. So over here we have this like a blue violet and then a blue green and then the real blue, the sky blue that's in between and then a librarian of that as well, really nice variety of blues and when I think about any color have been thinking about it as a hue that just automatically opens up the possibility that I have light in dark, warm and cool, vivid and dull, and they're all part of the same hue and it's an instant way of making color harmony, right? So you're working with a limited palette for some reason say you're working with a brand and the brand of the hero color is blue you have these options, perhaps of working with these variants light in dark, warm and cool, bright and dull, so within this is really interesting because so it's all blue it's all the same hughes you were saying but the tents and the shades are different are there different ways to think about or to take steps in between okay within this composition all of the tents are you know, at this level or this level but they're not in between or because one thing that I find is a lot of times all change things around, I'll add some shade or I'll add some tents and then something like illustrator you know, there's there's millions of variations and then it just kind of insect looking muddled is there any way to think about our structure? How much contrasts or the steps of contrast you want to do within a color? Uh it's generally considered a good idea to limit the number of steps, so typically when we make a grayscale we're thinking of twelve steps including the end pieces so white being the first and black means the last you're just thinking about a grey scale and then ten steps in between and the people who have really thought about this a lot have decided that if you go beyond that, you just end up with a lot of sort of blandness in the center all right, so you can see the extremes very easily, but then when you get to those middle tinson shades right around the center point, you know fifty percent gray, sixty percent gray, forty percent gray it's really hard for us to distinguish those that's what we kind of break it down so perhaps limiting your tents and shades to maybe four or five arians with extremes is a good idea. If you want to create good contrast, you're really looking for low contrast. And why not play that middle zone where you're just dealing with very small amounts of contrast in between one element in another? And when I talk about a gray scale, we can instantly apply that to a monochromatic palette, something like this. We're dealing with one hugh variants of light and dark, warm and cool, vivid and dull, but it creates this idea of progressions of values from light to dark, and we see contrast. I love the use of warm and cool within one. Hugh, I think it's really a great alternative to light and dark light. Dark always works, too, and sometimes that's all we have to work with. But being able to inject warm and cool into it just adds so much vitality and so much expression.

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.

Reviews

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!