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Foundations of Color

Universal, cultural, and personal symbols of color


From:

Foundations of Color

with Mary Jane Begin

Video: Universal, cultural, and personal symbols of color

What makes a color universal? If you think about the things that we all experience, such as an emotion, it might be easier to understand how colors can be perceived with a universal message. We all experience environmental colors, like warm pink, or pink light, or even red light, blackened sky of night, or a sky that appears brilliant blue. We perceive human emotion and health in the form of say, a red and angry face, or a greenish sick pallor, or a white and dead face.
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  1. 5m 20s
    1. Welcome
      1m 10s
    2. Traditional media to digital: The long and winding road of color
      3m 48s
    3. Exercise files
      22s
  2. 14m 40s
    1. Introduction: How color shapes meaning
      2m 23s
    2. Universal, cultural, and personal symbols of color
      2m 52s
    3. Concepts made clear
      4m 1s
    4. Brand identity and language
      2m 53s
    5. Sequence and pattern
      2m 31s
  3. 14m 18s
    1. What is the color wheel?
      2m 20s
    2. Primary colors, primary concerns
      3m 59s
    3. Playing with complementary colors
      3m 40s
    4. Tertiary colors: The basics of brown and gray
      4m 19s
  4. 17m 20s
    1. An overview of elements
      2m 48s
    2. Value is not a moral judgment
      2m 26s
    3. Saturation to neutralization
      3m 22s
    4. Temperature: How hot is hot?
      3m 12s
    5. Textures, marks, dashes, and dots
      2m 59s
    6. Seeing through color: Opaque, translucent, and transparent
      2m 33s
  5. 12m 25s
    1. What is contrast?
      3m 10s
    2. Creating focus: Living on the edge
      1m 15s
    3. Creating the readable image
      4m 6s
    4. Connecting contrast with content
      3m 54s
  6. 17m 29s
    1. Illuminating light
      1m 54s
    2. The effect of contrast in light
      1m 53s
    3. Value and saturation
      2m 27s
    4. On temperature
      2m 58s
    5. On complements
      2m 10s
    6. Secondary and reflected light
      3m 5s
    7. RGB vs. CMYK
      3m 2s
  7. 14m 24s
    1. An introduction to palettes
      2m 15s
    2. Limited palettes: A harmonious color palette
      2m 35s
    3. Harmony and discord
      2m 33s
    4. Unifying color grounds
      2m 40s
    5. Unifying glazes and layers
      2m 13s
    6. Charting a color family
      2m 8s
  8. 20m 25s
    1. Balance of shapes: How much is too much?
      3m 36s
    2. Weaving textural color
      2m 50s
    3. Color in context
      2m 31s
    4. Color blindness
      3m 15s
    5. Challenge: Deconstructing color
      1m 28s
    6. Solution: Demo of deconstructing color
      6m 45s
  9. 1m 3s
    1. Conclusion
      1m 3s

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Foundations of Color
1h 57m Beginner Aug 20, 2013

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

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.

Topics include:
  • 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
Subjects:
Design Color Design Skills
Author:
Mary Jane Begin

Universal, cultural, and personal symbols of color

What makes a color universal? If you think about the things that we all experience, such as an emotion, it might be easier to understand how colors can be perceived with a universal message. We all experience environmental colors, like warm pink, or pink light, or even red light, blackened sky of night, or a sky that appears brilliant blue. We perceive human emotion and health in the form of say, a red and angry face, or a greenish sick pallor, or a white and dead face.

We all need to sustain ourselves with edible foods. Green living plants, vibrant colorful fruits and vegetables, for example. These are just a few environmental, human, and life sustaining color associations. There are so many. If we all experience a color in a given context, in the same way, that color can be thought of as telling a color story that is universally understood. What about associations that are not universal but cultural.

In the west, a wedding dress, at least for a first marriage is often white. Because of its association with purity or virginity. White in the east is associated with death and is used to shroud a dead body. White would never be used for a wedding. Red symbolizes purity and life in India, a traditional color for a wedding dress. In South Africa, red symbolizes death and is the color of a warning. And in China, red is the symbol of good luck. Red in the west, it symbolizes warning, danger, excitement and passion.

The language of color is made even more complicated by the fact that each of us makes uniquely personal connections with colors, as well as seeing through a universal and a cultural lens. Much like the way that a person colors the words in a book with their own invented visual language based on experience, so it goes with colors. Color tells stories and makes us feel a particular way. Because we make these associations with our own stories in our heads, we color colors with our feelings, ideas and experiences.

Normal or saying with color in an image can be complicated. Because we make it personal, and that may not fit with someone else's ideas and feelings. Knowing what cultural, but more importantly, what universal associations are made and trusting our own instincts about a what color is saying to the viewer, help us make better decisions. Understanding the difference between our own personal color biases and that which speaks to a larger audience, can make the difference between getting our message across and making a deeper more profound connection with the viewer.

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