Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Color: An Investigation

A detailed review about color theory, philosophy, and uses ...

"What is color? Take a moment to consider this question before reading on.

In a previous article, I referred to color as an element of design, one of the basic tools that designers can use when building a composition. I defined color as “the response of the eye to differing wavelengths of radiation within the visible spectrum.” This is a valid definition, but it is only one of many different thoughts on what color is.

Over the course of my next few articles, we will explore the subject of color, including the historical underpinnings of contemporary color theory, key color theories, theorists who have been influential over the past few millennia, and the current state of color—including color in digital environments.

We will, in the end, keep the focus on the discipline of design. But, as in previous articles, we must deviate for a time to better explore the topic at hand. As with all of the principles and elements of design, much is inherited from other fields and we must initially expand the scope of our investigation.

What is color?
What do you think of when you think about color? Perhaps the color wheel, or some color system that you know. Maybe a specific color, a hue or value that particularly appeals to your sense of design. Or perhaps the rainbow; the full spectrum of colors visible to the human eye. Perhaps even a painting, a flower, a shape, or a number.

When you think about color, do you consider it primarily with a scientific mindset, or an artistic one? Is the color red red because of its frequency in the electromagnetic spectrum, or because you have been trained to articulate the psychological response that most people do when they receive sensory stimuli of a kind that means red? Is color dominant or subordinate to other concepts, such as form and value? Is it subjective or objective, or is it both? Would it even exist without our ability to perceive it? (Don’t spend too much time on this last question, you’ll never make it through the rest of the article.)"    (Continued via Digital Web Magazine)    [Usability Resources]

Goethe's Psychological Aspects of Color - Usability, User Interface Design

Goethe's Psychological Aspects of Color

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