Understanding Color: An Introduction for Designers, Fourth Edition
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More About This Title Understanding Color: An Introduction for Designers, Fourth Edition


Make Sound Color Choices

Now in an updated Fourth Edition, Understanding Color helps you connect the dots between your emotional, intuitive responses to color and the theories that explain them. From this authoritative and easy-to-follow resource, you'll learn how to use color more comfortably, creatively, and effectively than ever before.

Take your work to the next level by exploring how different light sources affect color rendition, how placement changes color, how to avoid costly color mistakes, and how to resolve the color problems that frequently confront design professionals. This edition is full of powerful new features that reflect the latest issues in color and design, including:

Expanded and revised content in nearly 35% of the book.Coverage of a broad range of design disciplines.Ideas from the major color theorists that reinforce content, rather than emphasizing what is correct or incorrect.Discussion of color created by traditional media and digital design, and the issues that arise when design moves from one medium to another.Innovative coverage of color marketing issues.Helpful tips for using color in the working environment.An online workbook with valuable exercises that reinforce color concepts.

Understanding Color, Fourth Edition is an unparalleled source of authoritative information and practical solutions for students and professionals in all fields of design.


Linda Holtzschue is Principal of Linda Holtzschue and Associates, an interior design firm based in New York City. She has taught color theory and related courses at Parsons School of Design, where she also served as an assistant dean; the Fashion Institute of Technology; and the School of Visual Arts. Her work has appeared in the New York Times Magazine and Better Homes and Gardens.






Chapter 1 An Introduction to Color Study

The Experience of Color 2

Color Awareness 4

The Uses of Color 7

Color-Order Systems 8

Color Study 12

Chapter 2 A Little Light on the Subject

Light 18

Additive Color: Mixing Light 20

Lamps 22

Lighting Level 25

Vision 26

The Illuminant Mode of Vision 27

The Object Mode of Vision 27

Subtractive Color: Colorants 28

Lamps and Color Rendition 31

Metamerism and Matching 32

Modifying Light: Surface 33

Transparent, Opaque, and Translucent 36

Iridescence 36

Luminosity 37

Indirect Light, Indirect Color 37

Modifying Light: Filters 38

Chapter 3 The Human Element

The Sensation of Color 44

Threshold 46

Intervals 46

The Perception of Color 49

Physiology: Responding to Light 50

Healing and Color 53

Synaesthesia 54

Psychology: Responding to Light 54

Naming Colors 55

Color as Language: From Name to Meaning 57

Impressional Color 61

Color as Words Alone 61

Chapter 4 The Vocabulary of Color

Hue 69

The Artists’ Spectrum 71

Primary, Secondary, and Intermediate Colors 72

Saturated Color 72

Other Spectrums, Other Primaries 73

Chromatic Scales 74

Cool and Warm Colors 74

Analogous Colors 75

Complementary Colors 76

Tertiary Colors: Chromatic Neutrals 77

Black, White, Gray 78

Value 79

Value and Image 79

Transposing Image 81

Pure Hues and Value 82

Tints and Shades 83

Monochromatic Value Scales 84

Comparing Value in Different Hues 86

Saturation 87

Saturation: Diluting Pure Hues with Gray 87

Saturation: Diluting Pure Hues with the Complement 88

Tone 90

Chapter 5 The Instability of Colors

The Instability of Colors 94

Color Composition 95

Ground and Carried Colors 96

Placement and Color Change 97

Equilibrium 98

Simultaneous Contrast 99

Afterimage and Contrast Reversal 101

Complementary Contrast 102

Ground Subtraction 104

Color and Area: Small, Medium, Large 107

Chapter 6 Illusion and Impression

Optical Illusions 112

Color Illusions 113

The Illusion of Depth 113

Spatial Effects of Colors 116

Transparence Illusion 118

Fluting 121

Vibration 122

Vanishing Boundaries 123

Luminosity 124

Bezold Effect 125

Optical Mixes 126

Chapter 7 Color Theory: A Brief History

Setting the Stage 132

The Beginnings of Color Theory 133

Color and Controversy 136

The Scientific Model: Color Gets Organized 138

Color by Numbers 142

A New Perspective 145

Chapter 8 Color Harmony

In Search of Beauty 150

Intervals and Harmony 152

Hue and Harmony 153

Value and Harmony 154

Saturation and Harmony 156

Major and Minor Themes 158

Some Harmonious Conclusions 159

On Beyond Harmony: Dissonant Colors 160

High-Impact Color 161

The X-tra Factor: Surface and Harmony 162

Chapter 9 Tools of the Trade

It’s the Real Thing: Color in Product and Print 168

Design Media 171

Artists’ Media 172

Subtractive Mixing 174

Tinting Strength 176

Color Printing 177

Chapter 10 The Medium of Light

Then and Now 187

Images of Light 187

Lost in Translation 189

The Screen Display 192

Color Management 195

Color Display Modes 197

Presentation: Screen and Print 200

Color on the Web 202

Web Color Coding 204

Emerging Media 208

Chapter 11 The Business of Color

The Color Industries 213

Producing Color 213

Color Sampling 214

Color Forecasting 215

Color and Product Identity 217

Palettes, Color Cycles, and History 219

Traditional Colors 221

Influences on Palettes 223

Glossary 230

Bibliography 246

Index 252

Online Workbook (www.wiley.com/go/understandingcolor4e)