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

Lesson 10 of 10

Everyday Found Color

Richard Mehl

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

Richard Mehl

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Lesson Info

10. Everyday Found Color

Lesson Info

Everyday Found Color

found color and this is stuff that's been collected from the studio and we're going to be utilizing this later. This is inspired by a really great project that one of my students did many years ago, actually, not many, but enough years to call it many complimentary cupcakes and um basically it's kind of fun. Uh I gave the assignment to explore complementary colors to my freshman foundation students and the majority of them came in with projects like many of you have done with complementary colors, colored grids, different kinds of color accommodations, red and green, blue and orange, yellow and purple etcetera. And exploring these color options. And one of the students uh came in with this and it was really kind of a beautiful exploration of this idea of complementary color we call it complemented cupcakes. It's kind of fun. Um the cupcakes themselves on the inside ranged from contrasting light and dark. So using food coloring to colorize the actual food product, it was really beautifu...

l. And so this is very much like contrast of light and dark, monochromatic grid, It's gonna be excellent. This inspired me to with some friends of mine, a collective of people called the female collective in new york who get together and produce dinner parties based on themes. And so I proposed the idea of a color theory dinner party. Mhm. And what I did was give assignments to all of the people who are coming to this party to create food based on color theory concepts. It was really super fun. And part of the idea is that we're assembling the food kind of on the spot. Okay, so when you start to think about food instantly, we think about color in nature. We think about found color and you can go to the supermarket and you start to see these wonderful arrays of color combinations, of course the green and the red, which is a great complimentary color concept. The a little bit of purple in some of these leaves along with the yellow of the tomatoes. And you find these expressions of color theory in food here we have the secondary color cord, so orange, green and purple in these little order curves and were served really beautiful experience a drink, contrast of light and dark, a little bit of warm and cool. The yellow, the red, the orange that we're looking at a segment of the color wheel. Tareen again, contrasts of compliments red and green, but also just sort of a warm and cool experience a little bit of purple at the top. This wonderful little dessert. This is actually an expression of the Albers idea of mixing color, finding the color in between. And that brings us to the creative live color wheel. So these are all things again that we're assembled here and you see this beautiful range of colors and actually really beautiful photography too. I love the in focus out of focus nature of this. Yeah, so we start to see these parts and you can recognize these colors in the color wheel if you're doing this project, if you ever want to try to construct a color wheel or a color theory dinner party out of all the colors, the hardest color to come up with is blue. You think about it, how many food products can you think of that are blue, blueberries? It's the closest thing we can kind of come to when we did the color theory dinner party, we used blue chips and blue tortillas I believe, and it still didn't quite give us the blue that we wanted. All the other colors are beautifully represented just naturally with food. Yeah, that's what it looked like. Really lovely, that incredible. A little bit of a sliver of blew up there, but a really beautiful color wheel special thanks to you guys were assembling this.

Class Description


Try a Fast Class – now available to all Creator Pass subscribers! Fast Classes are shortened “highlight” versions of our most popular classes that let you consume 10+ hours in about 60 minutes. We’ve edited straight to the most popular moments, actionable techniques, and profound insights into bite-sized chunks– so you can easily find and focus on what matters most to you. (And of course, you can always go back to the full class for a deep dive into your favorite parts.)

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

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  • 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


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.


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.