What Everyone Should Know About Color Theory
Anyone who creates images needs to work with color, whether you’re a designer, illustrator, or photographer. Think about how you work with color–recognize yourself in any of the following?
Hit or miss: You use color and get it right about half the time. You’re not really sure why it works or doesn’t.
Consistent palette: You use the same set of colors in different quantities for every project. You have a palette that works, but it limits your voice.
Terrified of color: You work in black and white and only use tints of color.
If you do, you’re not alone. Mary Jane Begin, a professor at the Rhode Island School of Design who also teaches Color Fundamentals here on CreativeLive, finds that most of her students tend to fall into one of these three categories. What this probably means is that it’s time to master the fundamentals of color. You may not be using color to its full potential because you haven’t truly understood the basics of color theory.
But anyone can learn to make great color choices—for every project, every time. Once you’ve learned the principles behind the use of color, you can apply color with confidence. Carve out some time to go through the rules of color theory, play around with colors and watch your palette potential explode!
Feel confident in your use of color. Learn more.
Whether you’re starting to explore color theory or just brushing up, take a look at these terms below to help you unravel what Begin refers to as the “mystery of color”:
Value: The relative lightness or darkness of a color
Contrast: The state of being opposite or strikingly different from something else
Hierarchy: Refers to the arrangement of elements to imply a level of importance
Temperature: Refers to how warm or cool a color appears to be
Temperature Contrast: The coolest color contrasting the warmest color
Light: Colors are not visible without light. Light is a powerful design tool for expressing emotion and functioning in design
Saturation: A color is thought to be saturated when it is at…(for more on this article click here)