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FAST CLASS: Color for Designers: Exploration, Theory, and Application

Lesson 4 of 10

Color Contrast of the Color Wheel

Richard Mehl

FAST CLASS: Color for Designers: Exploration, Theory, and Application

Richard Mehl

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Lesson Info

4. Color Contrast of the Color Wheel

Lessons

  Class Trailer
Now Playing
1 Class Introduction Duration:06:29
5 Color Illusion in Practice Duration:03:14
6 Illusion of Transparency Duration:04:34
7 Color in Design: Tangrams Duration:07:34
9 Learning from the Masters Duration:05:02
10 Everyday Found Color Duration:04:12

Lesson Info

Color Contrast of the Color Wheel

So initially when we're talking about these color grids, this is kind of what they look like. Uh and we're not going to be using any glue today, You don't necessarily have to use glue. And in fact what I recommend for my students is to keep the, the squares, the color squares relatively loose until you're actually ready to glue them down. But in the process you might take photographs. So if you come up with a composition of colors and arrangement that you like, take a quick photograph with your phone with a camera and then you'll have a record of it and then you can rearrange and come back to it later. But this is kind of how it looks and sometimes it's probably very, very faint, but sometimes I'll draw a grid very lightly on a board. So I have a sense of where to put the squares, you guys who are working with the cut paper will just be working loosely with a grid and you'll do your best to kind of keep them in order and we'll take a few pictures maybe along the way and see if we can p...

rotect some of the stuff by the way. This was just contrast of Hugh. So the primary colours, red, yellow and blue and that's a good place to start if uh if you want to sort of experiment loosely with lots of different colors contrast of you is all about that contrast of light and dark. Uh one of you, maybe two of you will be working on this particular contrast. So when we say contrasts of light and dark, it could be one Hugh in this case yellow. Um, and we have light variants of that yellow and dark variants of that yellow. And you're trying to make a composition and the composition can be very strategic. In other words, a very programmed, very structural kind of a composition, perhaps a gradation or some kind of a symmetrical composition or it can be very loose like this more asymmetrical. And here we actually see something where there's what I call a visual hierarchy, value system and ordering to the information that's there. So we have a very light grid square that kind of attracts our attention. And then we have other squares that are variants of light and dark that move ri through the composition. This idea of visual hierarchy is really important to us as designers because for designing of communication materials, say, uh, an ad, an infographic, you want to determine where you're, the viewer's eye is going to go first wear second, wear third, and you can do this with value. You can do it with light and dark. You can do it with warm and cool. You can do with vivid and dull, it's a way of getting the viewer's eye to move through the composition in a very predetermined way. Sometimes it works better than others. If you think about this. Say in advertising, how in a typical advertising like a page advertisement, whether it's on a screen or printed. The viewer's eye goes to one thing first, say an image and then maybe to a headline second and then maybe to a body of copy some text third and then maybe finally to a logo fourth. So those elements are arranged in a way to lead the viewer's eye through the composition. And that's the way we create order. If we think about how we read, we started at the typically we started at the upper left hand corner of the page and we move our way down to the lower right corner. So they're the hierarchy is part of the syntax of our reading. We understand that we're all accustomed to that way, but in thinking about art and design, it's different. The most important thing to be at the bottom of the page. And we can use visual hierarchy to move the viewer's eye to the bottom. So here when I look at this, I tend to look here first, just because it's so different that one square is very white or gray and then I start to move around the composition from there and then finally proportion. Now this is a, It's an interesting thing, it's actually based on a theory that came up with uh, you know, back in the 19th century and it has to do with the light value of a color. So yellow is a very light color. It's high on light value scale. Purple is very low on the light value scale. Orange is close to yellow in its brightness. So it's also very high but not as high as yellow. Blue is very low on the light value scale. So it's not as low as purple, but it's low and then red and green are actually equal in light value. So by using those colors, those color sets in different amounts in actually different proportions. You can create a sense of ballots. So here, when we look at this composition, we have three yellow squares. We have four orange squares. Want to 56. Um It looks like 1234567899 blue squares and 1234567 10 purple squares. So you see the progression from yellow the fewest to orange to blue and then to purple. and it gives us a sense of balance where no one colour is So important are so dominating, where the composition is just about that one colour. We looked at this and yellow has a lot of power, but so does orange. And then the blue and the purple kind of work together to create a background. That typically happens with contrast of light and dark too. That's what's happening here. Now when you're working with these grids, especially if you are working with multiple Hughes a lot of these contracts are going to be overlapping. All right. And so even if you're working with light and dark, there might be vivid and all or there might be warm and cool, but your focus is going to be on light and dark. So this is johanna satan's book. The big version of his book, The Art of Color. It's beat up because I take it to class with me every day and on my bike and tends to get kind of wrapped in the process. There's his color grid, perhaps serious color wheel and it's what I showed you earlier in the animated version, the primaries here, the secondaries here and then all of the colors here, including the tertiary is which are the in between colors. Um as we move around. So this is his invention. And as we look at this, we can see light colors and dark colours. You can see warm colors and cool colors. We don't really get a sense of dull or vivid and dull from this. So that's a little bit different now as we progress through the book. Yeah, he's going to show us examples of these things. So here we have this wonderful color grid and it shows us ranges of light and dark Of each of the 12 colors of the colour wheel. So we can see how we have dark purple and light purple a shade and a tint. Now we can talk about saturation here, so less saturated, more saturated. Now, what's interesting about this is that you can probably see that the most pure versions of these colors are different points on the scales. So the purest version of the yellow is right here. The purest version of the purple is down here. So blue as we move up right there is the purest version of the green, the yellow green to the yellow. And then back down now this is an interesting point. So Yellow has very few 10th but many shades purple has lots of tents, but very few shades. So colors are they have their own properties and each color each you has these ranges that have very specific ideas related to tints and shades and it has to do with their light values. So yellow, very few tents, lots of shades down here. Purple. Lots and lots of tents very few shades. It's kind of interesting to think about colors that way, but it's what defines light and dark. This is a great example. Here's mittens display of the complimentary contrast, which is what you're gonna be working with. Yeah, a great example of the mixtures of red and green. So we see all of these different variants of the mixtures. Who would know that this is what you get when you mix green and red together or even that. But over here he shows us he has the primaries. So red and blue and yellow and the secondaries, purple and orange and green. And he shows us the mixture. So if you mix the two complements red and green together, you end up with a gray or neutral in the middle. Same thing with the orange and blue, Same thing with the yellow and the purple and that mixture color in the center is as neutral as you can get. But in reality, and I think you'll find this when you're on the computer and illustrator that these center colours are going to change dramatically based on their parents. So a different yellow is going to create a very different kind of center color based on its purple too. So these two colors out here are all going to determine what happens in the center. But this is something we're only going to get to through mixing. Now, we might be able to get some successful results through this, but it's kind of hard to guess because literally if you try to say, well, what is the mixture of red and green without really mixing it physically with paint or on the computer? It's hard to imagine that that or that some people are able to do that. It's very, very difficult though. Otherwise here's saturation vivid and dull. So we see these beautiful vivid colors in the center and as we progress out to the outside, dulling the color down to the very corners where it's gray and then over here vivid colors with variants of darker and also less colorful. So as we take the colours out has become less pure diminishing their values. They become a uh dull out here. And I think that's it, what we're going to look at here. And one other thing I want to show you before we kind of move into the actual hands on is this wonderful thing and the color star and I actually have to take this out of the box. But this is again, this is an invention of johanna sitting and it's an extension of his color wheel. I use this all the time for creating color palettes. It's really very beautiful. So the colour star has all 12 colors of the color wheel arranged here. And then as we move to the inside, we have tents and to the outside we have shades. And he gives us the wheel here and he gives us these wonderful little templates we can put over the top. Right? And so we immediately see these complementary mixtures. So he refers to this as a diabetic color two parts. And actually you call some color chords just like in music. So if you play three or two notes on a piano or two notes on a guitar and they sound good together, we can think of that as a chord as a harmonic chord. Same thing is true for colours and we see them this way. So if we spin this and by the way you can look at it with white or black backgrounds, it's kind of nice to see. So you can start to see the variant various color combinations and these are all complementary mixtures. So this will be up here on the table for you guys to take a look at. And perhaps it might give you some ideas about your own grids as you're working with him. Here's the Triassic cord and we'll start with the primary colours. Really beautiful. So it's a three part color cord. Okay, secondary colors, tertiary Z's my favorite. The split complementary. Mhm. So the split complementary literally is like a complimentary purple will be right here. So we have yellow and purple would be here. So this is a blue, violet and red violet. You can see red is right here and purples right there. So it's a really interesting way of thinking about colors and putting together colors in a certain way if we move forward A four part korda quadratic cord and just for getting ideas about color relationships. Mm Really beautiful. So these are all very harmonious colour relationships and color sets.

Class Description

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Full-length class: Color for Designers: Exploration, Theory, and Application with Richard Mehl

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AFTER THIS CLASS YOU’LL BE ABLE TO:

  • Effectively select and apply color to enhance your design projects
  • Utilize color theory language to justify your design decisions
  • Expand beyond preconceptions and your comfort zone in working with color

ABOUT RICHARD’S CLASS:

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; 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.

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

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.

WHO THIS CLASS IS FOR:

This class is for designers and color aficionados of all levels working across various media, ranging from floral design to user experience design. It is also an appropriate refresher in color theory for experienced designers.

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