Charting a color family
Video: Charting a color familyAsking my students at RISD to create a color chart often induces groans of discomfort. Mostly because it sounds too much like math. But creating a chart is an easy way to learn and remember color combinations. One way to develop a chart is to create a grid in the formation of a times table. Start with a wide variety of colors on a side of the chart and repeat the same across the top, then combine them in equal amounts for each color. This kind of chart gives a clear array of options for deciding on possible pallets.
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Color is a fundamental element of our lives. Understanding how to use it for visual communication in a variety of contexts is essential for designers and artists. This course is about learning how to use color, not only to create more effective designs, but also to tell a story. Illustrator, professor, and author Mary Jane Begin explains how color intertwines with brand identity, how it affects the mood of a piece and directs the viewer's attention to areas of interest, and how it can connect images or create space between elements. She removes the mystery surrounding the color wheel and color relationships; shows how to layer, mix, and digitally alter color; and use light to integrate temperature, translucency, and contrast.
These lessons are applicable to a number of fields, including graphic design, photography, and illustration, and both traditional and digital media. Dive in and get a fresh look at color that is sure to revitalize your creativity and your work.
- Understanding why color is essential for you as an artist, designer, or human being
- Storytelling with color
- Understanding brand identity and color language
- Reviewing the history of color usage, from print to digital
- Working with the color wheel
- Understanding value, saturation, and temperature
- Seeing through color: opaque, translucent, and transparent
- Creating contrast
- Exploring depth of field
- Seeing complementary relationships in light
- Achieving harmony and discord in a palette
- Understanding color blindness
Charting a color family
Asking my students at RISD to create a color chart often induces groans of discomfort. Mostly because it sounds too much like math. But creating a chart is an easy way to learn and remember color combinations. One way to develop a chart is to create a grid in the formation of a times table. Start with a wide variety of colors on a side of the chart and repeat the same across the top, then combine them in equal amounts for each color. This kind of chart gives a clear array of options for deciding on possible pallets.
Another kind of chart could involve a combination of two colors, with full saturation of yellow on this end and full saturation of blue on the other. Each color decreasing in quantity or percentage as it moves in the opposite direction. This could help when deciding on what kind of secondary colors two primaries might make or the crossing of two compliments. A simple chart for tracking all the combinations of a set of primaries could look like this, very much like a family tree. A value scale chart establishes a color from its darkest to its lightest version, and can be made with either a transparent color using a white background, to determine the value, or a white pigment, to lighten the color.
The chart also shows the difference between opaque, transparent, and translucent color. Combining a complement. Mixing the other 2 primaries in varying amounts, or mixing black into a color are a variety of ways to make a chart that demonstrates color neutralization. This chart shows the variety of colors that, just like the first chart, but using glazes of transparent, translucent, and opaque color for the combinations. Charting colors is a means to an end.
Its purpose is to help you know how to make, see, and remember colors. And have a point of reference as you work on your project. Because human beings aren't especially good at remembering colors, a chart to look at when you're working can be essential. If you don't believe me try taking the color memory test at the end of the course.
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