Segment 1 - Why Study Color?


Color for Designers: Exploration, Theory, & Application


Lesson Info

Segment 1 - Why Study Color?

So thanks for coming everyone I'm not used to having students who are so dressed up this is great, I teach in the school of visual arts in new york city and there students were coming in all kinds of clothes typically very casual on dh this will be a very casual siri's of exercises and lectures and hopefully everyone's gonna have a lot of fun and we're really going to be playing today, so we start with this, why study color and when we talk about color color for a lot of people is very serious thing and it's oftentimes very difficult to comprehend. We all have what I think to be a natural sense of color. We learned color based on observation when were kids were taught colors? Er and so we all have ah very clear sense of it. And, um here we're going to be talking about how to study color for designers and artists and artisans and do it yourselfers when I think about studying color a designer, I like to think that I'm here to enhance my understanding of color and to gain confidence and t...

hat's kind of what this is all about two is gaining confidence, becoming familiar with colors that perhaps you're not comfortable using, uh, becoming aware of colors that, uh you may be never have, uh, played with before and, um talking about things from that point of view I'm just going tio go around here and we'll talk to each other you know, opportunity very to introduce yourselves uh christina's my t a and I'll just ask for you why would you like to study color? Wow, a designer I like to know what colors look the best like which colors to match when I'm working on it may be a print lay out like this is going to make everything look too busy or how much color do I add or don't just keep it you know plain and have the photos the the color so it's always been mixing and matching colors that I find challenging and I think knowing the right colors put together is a good thing and what would you say your favorite color is? Oh my blue so blue is I've read a lot of statistics about this blue is I think seventy percent of the people on the planet claimed blue to be their favorite color how many of you would say blue is your favorite color? Yeah, blue is my favorite color too. Um, sam. So I am starting my own business in home decor and designs, so while I have my own personal aesthetic around colors, I've never done any formal studies of it and it's just something I'd like to have a better understanding of you and your favorite color blue sierra so I'm c m a designer just use line print moving towards mobile experiences and color is something that often have a time time with so I'm looking forward to learning so your workers mainly on screen now it is you notice rgb yeah so it but they're very specific kind of color model that you're working with we're going to be talking about these things in the class today different kinds of color models rgb is is the color model that we're all most familiar with now and one of things I like to say about rgb is there's no black or maybe there really is we make black but it's the absence of color um uh when your favorite color um it was a blue family but to hell yeah what I would refer to as blue green yeah. Okay. Thank you from online richard fresh start saying their favorite color is sean shatra errors that that's kind of that's almost like that yellow is natural truth treacherous yes on the second would be salmon salmon so one of things about naming colors that I find interesting is that we tend to make associations so salmon obviously it's the color of the fish sure to seven not sure where that name comes from but salmon is a form of an orange I would say it's probably a de saturated orange has a little bit of white in it um church services ah this is actually more yellow then green I think short truce is more of a yellow green but I like to talk about colors in those terms so we're always looking at names of primary colors red, yellow, blue secondary colors orange, purple and green and if we're talking about something in between those colors like in between yellow and green will just say yellow green it's a lot easier and it's a way of understanding color that's uh the more universal okay, just kind of going on bryce yes, so I am a interaction designers almost my workers in software and over the past ten years or so the bar has really been raised on what software is supposed to look like and be really visually appealing and so that's why I was interested in learning a bit more about the kinds of colors and things that I pick about what the device is their programs I'm working on one of the colors actually expressing and how they playing together in my favorite color probably green green and how would you describe the color that you're wearing today? Uh, let's see, I would say I feel less bad about not knowing a more specific color after you saying we should probably stick primary probably say red it's a little d separated and I just discovered so de saturated it's ah color that doesn't have its much vibrance it's I don't want to say dull because that's maybe a negative word but it's the opposite of vivid so a vivid red would be like these lights on the cameras in the clock up there a dollar red which is this and that's actually sort of a red violet it's a little bit in between red and purple and by the way violet is it's just another way of saying purple you could say purple or violet I tend to use those interchangeably uh arianna I um a fashion designer and I also do business related I think so I'm interested in color for like understanding and be able to talk about sketches as well a cz understanding how things look like one color on like a screen and then look different in a printed photographs on then look different in fabric unlike understanding if there's any consistencies there that maybe I just don't know about and what's your favorite color purple purple yeah like dark very vividly royal purple yeah, yeah and and where does that come from? You think, um I'm not sure most of my family has that has their favorite color so it's possible that it just was always the best color but like it's not like required tohave that as your favorite clear you're part of my family so I don't know purple is ah I always have students whose color favorite color is purple it's color that is I don't know in my experience it's the way way down the list in terms of favorites you know, blue is usually at the top purple tends to be more selective put it that way but it is a beautiful color absolutely beautiful and the range of purples and violence I think are fascinating your where you know very is a bright purple but very light yeah do you have a lot of clothes in a purple yeah yeah on in your work do you create a lot of things that are purple? Not not necessarily so I tend toe where a lot of reds um on my design work is it's always custom custom works all make it be whatever color it works best for the person I'm designing for so ah client would tell you that your they're interested in a particular color or like particular color and then you work with that color yeah so that's a very challenging thing because once you have a set color you know what we call him braden a hero color then you have to find other colors that work with that that's one of the things we're going to be talking about today and well not just today but throughout this workshop is how to work with colors in adjacent to other colors complementary colors, split complementary colors warm and full of area and slightly dark variants that kind of thing great welcome is going down the list here? Uh, jane, orange, orange. Uh, so I do work analog work inks and paints, and then I creating artwork. And then I also organizer and do interior design with people. So a lot of finding out how do people feel? Happiest what color's really are they drawn to and why and what we're introducing the home. But I always hold the lack and just how to talk about color, the language of color and like what doesn't work like the two of us it's like to me, this is, like, jarring but don't know how to describe why it doesn't work to me. It doesn't work in my eyes, but maybe to you it's fine. You know, I find that adjacent colors colors that are close to each other on the color wheel. A really fascinating on dh. Well, we're going to come back to the color wheel later, but red and orange are right next to each other and we can think of those as warm here warm and your cooler yeah, so there's a contrast there called contrast of temperature warm and cool and it's a way of thinking about color that's really fascinating, I mean, almost every well I shouldn't say almost everything is yellow. We can't really think of yellow is being warm or cool, although as we move toward green, yellow green, we could say that's maybe cooling off a little bit because it's in the range of moving toward blue orange is definitely a warmer color red orange is considered one of the warmest colors, so I find that really kind of interesting to start to think about those colors that are next to each other on the color wheel and you said you work with paints I did yeah, yeah, so everything so far we've talked about no interactive design and digital display, which is kind of where things are right now I love working with paints and with my hands and really mixing colors that's one way of understanding how to make the color is actually with paint okay? And serena green green I've all of yes olive is way associate that with all of a very particular kind of all of is that your favorite color? No, actually I am partial to the blue to blue eyes or blue in particular, so I, um I do business strategy and I worked with my clients to develop and refine business trudging translate that into design for the print, the web and video so I work in our g ve and sam like a and my background I've had some training and art and design but it's still a lot of self taught training, so I feel a bit sparse on my knowledge and I'd like to kind of fill in some of those holes yeah, I have a lot of students in my continuing ed classes at school of visual arts who like yourself are coming to color and design from business the point of you who are trying to get a sense of how to use color and how to talk about color in relationship to it's a design and other fields and it's it's a great thing and I think this workshop is going to make you more aware of color certainly on not just for work but also just for everyday life as again it's something we're going to be talking about it's how to integrate color and the experience of color and an awareness of color not just into our professionalized but also entire day to day lives. Welcome this way for richard from online garden dog is saying their favorite color is a turquoise blue which is kind of similar to what serena was saying I think that sort of as you ah that bill he's saying his favorite color is burgundy because it reminds him of a peanut moira good happen a reasonable enough fresh start saying yellow green aura de saturated orange esmat on his green defrost are not sure I understand this my favorite color is probably end three point five so after spending on the month cell system over the months l system that means nothing to me but it probably makes something go teo on dh fresh start pantone girl here so I think I'm going to get into all sorts of things there color lover says I like brown's blacks and grays as a combination typically so I think maurin favorite color combinations other than mohr favorite colors and I'm surprised nobody listed their favorite color so far as the brown she likes well browns and blacks on grace was bitter greens well o j vestige of coming is the greens and the browns for them but those of their favorite so brown is is uh it's certainly a color but it's a mixture color and every brown that we're aware of is a mixture of two other colors generally or sometimes more some of my favorite browns are mixtures of orange and blue and once you start to understand those various mixtures red and green orange and blue yellow and purple or yellow and violet all of those colors have called complementary colors and one of the keys to color mixing is to think about how to mix compliments to create what we call chromatic graze chromatic brown's colors that have uh a sense of another color or tent of another color in them so a chromatic gray can have a reddish tint a bluish tint a greenish tint and those are wonderful colors uh painters sometimes will mix complementary colors like red and green together in order to darken the colors rather than mixing black with it they'll mix the compliment it's a really fascinating way of thinking about color and how to achieve certain kinds of colors and color mixing is not something we're going to really get into today we'll do it a little bit on the computer we're not gonna be using any wet media s so we won't actually have that experience but and certainly for people who are at home if you have gua sh or watercolor you could mix those colors and try mixing something like blue and purple or blue and I'm sorry blew in orange together and see what you get maybe intuitively you're already doing this you're mixing these colors to achieve these chromatic grays and browns and creating these rich kind of earthy colors okay as we continue I'm just gonna go through this when I think about why studying color I immediately go to some of the experiences I had as a student when I was studying color and one of the principal color teachers on the planet a guy who was a student first and then a teacher at the bauhaus josef albers gave us this wonderful exercise where we learn about the relativity of color that is thie the sort of lack of objectivity of color so here we have two exes they're both the same color and as soon as we apply a color behind one of the exes we start to see change yes and so what does that teach us that there's relativity that color is never what it seems that it always is dependant on its context. So as soon as we put that uh pink color behind the gray it starts to change and as we have this blue or this green color to the other side it starts it changed more dramatically and now we see a really dramatic change in these colors and if we hook them together at the bottom down here you can see in fact that it is one color but it looks dramatically different and you can also say if you start to stare at this if you stare right in this area here this is the key for all of these albers exercises as well call him you stare there for maybe five seconds we'll start to see that this color starts feeling like that and this color starts to look like that it's a reciprocal relationship often happens with complementary colors so we have a red and a green those air compliments and the shifting of the ex is fascinating for me that's really intriguing and it's one reason to study color is to study that idea of relativity and how color is never absolute this is a great quote from albers from his book interaction of color uh, we're going to be talking about this believe sometime today um uh later in the workshop in visual perception of color is almost never seen as it really is is it physically is this fact makes color the most relative medium and art is very important to remember this. So if you're into brandon and you have a hero color one color that is really the symbol of your brand, the identity of your brand, that color is going to change depending on its context, it is a very important idea. This is another great quote and another one of my main influences you don't have to sit and we're going to be talking about him as well uh throughout the workshop you unknowingly are able to create masterpieces in color than a knowledge is your way, but if you are unable to create masterpieces out of your own knowledge, then you ought to look for knowledge and I did love that idea of looking for knowledge. That's what we're going to be doing in this workshop is we're going to be looking for color, knowledge, observation, looking at these colors, these colors that are on the table, these little pieces of colored paper, one of the best ways of looking at color, one of the best ways of looking for knowledge so johannes it and is best known for giving us this wonderful color wheel and he breaks it down and it's really interesting way so we start with yellow we had blue, we had read and those are the primary colors the triangle and we can immediately see that yellow is very light red is sort of a medium color enlightens and blue is a little bit darker so right there we have an expression of contrast of light and dark one of the main contrasts of color theory as we develop a wheel around this now this is something we're all familiar with. We've all seen this before. Maybe even when we're kids we start to see the color wheel that's how we learn color often we see yellow here and now opposite the yellow down here we see purple and purple her violet is the mixture of red and blue orange is the mixture of yellow and red green is the mixture of yellow and blue and green is the complement of red blue is the complement of orange and yellow is the complement of purple. We see those compliments there, and that is we get to fill in the spaces so yellow orange, blue, violet or indigo thes air mixture colors hello green very close to this you're actually more yellow red violet, blue green and uh red orange so compliments are opposite each other on the color wheel the aim of such studies to develop through trial, through experience, by trial and error and eye for color. Josef albers again. And this whole idea of trial and error is very important. It's all a matter of experimenting. We're gonna be doing a lot of that in this class.

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.