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Tweaking color values to add contrast

From: Design Aesthetics for Web Design

Video: Tweaking color values to add contrast

The second of the 8 elements of design is value. Which refers to the relative lightness or darkness of a color within a composition. As with color, the values of colors you choose can also help to convey emotion and meaning, as well as add contrast to define areas of interest in your designs. For our purposes then, the definition of value is the degree of lightness or darkness in a given color. Referring again to the color wheel, we can see that pure colors in that whiter center ring, and the values of each color range inward and outward from light to dark.

Tweaking color values to add contrast

The second of the 8 elements of design is value. Which refers to the relative lightness or darkness of a color within a composition. As with color, the values of colors you choose can also help to convey emotion and meaning, as well as add contrast to define areas of interest in your designs. For our purposes then, the definition of value is the degree of lightness or darkness in a given color. Referring again to the color wheel, we can see that pure colors in that whiter center ring, and the values of each color range inward and outward from light to dark.

In other words, when we take a pure color and add white, we get a tint, when we take a pure color and add gray, we get a tone and when we take a pure color and add black, we get a shade. Some colors make us instantly have positive or negative associations, or even particular emotions. For example, pastel colors might make us happy, seem more feminine. Or evoke thoughts of spring or Easter or babies. Muted colors, by contrast, could seem sad or perhaps masculine.

And make us think of autumn or winter. Or things like legal services, banking, sports bars, or camping. In web design, colors can be used to create contrast in areas of emphasis. As well as to set a focal point within a composition. For example, any light object on a dark background is usually the first place the eye goes to. So let me show you what I mean by adding some elements into this design. So first we'll drop in a logo, Drop in some navigation, add a little footer bar down at the bottom.

As you can see, any light object on a dark background is usually the first place your eye goes to. And the location is usually immediately recognized, whether consciously or not, as the center of attention. So right now looking at this, maybe your eye goes right to that chevron shape, the logo above the word forward. But watch what happens when we add an area to show recent work. The eye immediately goes to this area since it's the largest light area within the composition. This same phenomenon also works with dark objects on a lighter background.

So let's add in a logo, a little bit of text. It also works with bright objects on neutral or lighter backgrounds. So we'll add in some bright little indicators or thumbnails where you could put images that relate to other parts of the website. Another way that you can work with values to add contrast is with gradation. Gradation in value can give the illusion of depth as evidenced by the popularity of all those glossy reflective surfaces made popular by Apple, which can be applied to virtually anything including a shrimp.

Another way that you can use light and dark values in your designs, is to use colors strategically to create the illusion of depth, as with drop shadows and inner glow. Or shading on a ribbon that wraps over the edge of a layout. As you can see, the value of the colors that you choose can be just as important as the colors themselves. Color values can set a mood, create contrast, add depth, give the illusion of reflections. Most importantly, you can use color values to create visual areas of emphasis within your web designs.

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Design Aesthetics for Web Design

32 video lessons · 14709 viewers

Sue Jenkins
Author

 
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  1. 2m 8s
    1. Welcome
      38s
    2. Using the exercise files
      1m 30s
  2. 9m 10s
    1. Understanding aesthetics
      4m 41s
    2. Examples from art and design
      4m 29s
  3. 35m 44s
    1. Understanding the elements of design
      1m 47s
    2. Using color to set the site's mood
      5m 50s
    3. Tweaking color values to add contrast
      3m 30s
    4. Using texture to add depth
      4m 53s
    5. Repeating shapes to unify your design
      2m 43s
    6. Structuring your layout with form
      3m 50s
    7. Using space to organize your design
      4m 38s
    8. Setting boundaries with line
      4m 36s
    9. Communicating with the right fonts
      3m 57s
  4. 38m 26s
    1. Understanding the principles of design
      1m 45s
    2. Using contrast to set areas of interest
      3m 8s
    3. Applying font styles to show emphasis
      5m 23s
    4. Aligning objects to achieve balance
      4m 40s
    5. Using hyperlink styles to create a sense of unity
      4m 10s
    6. Applying background patterns to create harmony
      3m 14s
    7. Adding movement with scrolling and animation
      3m 31s
    8. Using border styles to add rhythm and repetition
      2m 57s
    9. Achieving proportion by scaling objects and text
      2m 43s
    10. Simplifying by removing the unnecessary
      3m 21s
    11. Using gradation to create perspective
      3m 34s
  5. 37m 45s
    1. Responsive web: Creating CSS for different devices
      3m 2s
    2. Composition: Using the grid to organize space
      4m 45s
    3. Typography: Choosing and using web fonts
      5m 15s
    4. Color theory: Picking harmonious colors
      4m 16s
    5. Communication: Leading viewers through a design
      6m 30s
    6. Accessibility: Using size and color effectively
      6m 10s
    7. Originality: Stepping out of the box
      7m 47s
  6. 1m 57s
    1. Next steps
      1m 57s

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