This blog is about Graphic Design, Vector Art, and Cartoon Illustration

Design principles - working with color

Talking about color with a designer is like talking about flavors with a chef. So much of it just can't be put into words, but I will try! There is a lot of technical, scientific stuff related to color. But that really doesn't matter to a designer, what matters is the way it feels. I am not an expert on the technical side of using color, but I am a believer in using it. I love color.

I am assuming that you can see in color. Many people, especially men, are color blind, or slightly color blind. I am not kidding here. I remember seeing my Uncle Bob being asked to describe the wood paneling in the kitchen when I was a kid, which was green. He saw brown. From there, I realized that people have a sensitivity to color, the same way that people have a sensitivity to sound or taste. And for people who have a sensitivity to color, it can bring about an incredibly pleasurable experience.

When I taught design at The Art Institute of Phoenix, I tried to use the word "hue" instead of color. If you combine hue with "value", that is, lightness or darkness, you can greatly simplify the use of color. Hue is color, such as blue, or red, or green. To picture value, imagine having a can of paint and adding white. The more white you add, the higher the value. Some people call this "shade". There are many  ways to describe all of this, so I just stick with "hue and value". You can't change hue by adding white. Picture your can of blue paint and add white. What color do you have? Light blue. Add more white. What color do you have? Lighter blue. And so on.

Now take your can of red paint and add white. What color do you have? No, there is no such color as pink. You have light red.

Color is wonderful and delicious. Use it well in your design and it will bring indescribable joy to your viewer. And I just can't describe that!

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