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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.
We can thank Sir Isaac Newton for creating the very useful tool known as the Color Wheel. He demonstrated that light alone was responsible for perceptional color, and devised the first color wheel in 1666 as a circular diagram for understanding a color system in an organized fashion. Since then, there have been many variations created and much debate about color theory. But our focus on just one color wheel that presents the colors clearly. The color wheel is an organizational tool that helps make the basic categories of color easier to understand.
As a graph, it make the different types of color clear and can help you as a first point of reference in deciding on a pallet. This diagram demonstrates the three basic categories of colors. Primary, secondary and tertiary. A primary color is a color that cannot be made by mixing other colors. And like prime numbers, cannot be broken down further. They are the source of other colors. Primaries are blue, red and yellow.
A secondary color is color made by mixing two primaries. Secondary colors are orange, green and purple. Complementary colors are any two colors that are opposite on the color wheel, such as red and green, blue and orange, purple and yellow. All secondary colors are complements of one another as well. A tertiary color is made by mixing either one primary and one secondary on the opposite side of the color wheel, or three primaries, or two secondary colors.
Tertiary colors are variations of browns and grays. The color wheel is a useful guide for understanding color and the basic breakdown each color type. It's an organizational tool only, and should provide a framework for thinking about colors in categories that will help you use color more effectively.
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