What is Colour?

26/10/15

In today’s seminar with Eve we were looking at colour. We started off by looking at the colour wheel to go over the different categories of colours that there are – primary, secondary and tertiary. Eve explained how my mixing a primary and secondary colour at a ratio of 2:1 you make a tertiary colour. She also told us how colours that are opposite each other on the colour wheel are described as complementary and will look good when paired together.

We then looked at various terms that can come in handy when speaking about colour:

  • Chroma – how pure a colour is in relation to gray
  • Saturation – the purity of a colour
  • Intensity – the brightness of a colour
  • Luminance – the measure of light that the colour reflects
  • Shade – a colour produced by adding black
  • Tint – a colour produced by adding white

We were also told that hue is a more professional way to say colour.

After looking at the colour wheel Eve asked that we paint our own colour wheel for self-directed work as this allows us to get a broader understanding of how the colours work.

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My colour wheel, painted for my self-directed work

Then, we moved onto looking at colour in interior design. Colour can have a major effect on the atmosphere that an interior has and so it’s important to make sure the best one is used. Being specific in terms of the colour also has a big impact as it being just slightly different can make a big difference. So, to make sure the correct colour is used designers use the system created by Pantone. A large range of colours are shown on their own cards, which also show their CMYK and RGB equivalent numbers.

CMYK (cyan, magenta, yellow & black) are the process colours for printing, this in simpler terms means that they are the primary colours used to create all the colours that need to be printed off. The CMYK number shown on a Pantone card allows you to insert the numbers of each colour into the computer program you’re using to ensure you print off the correct hue in your designs.

RGB is the name for the web based colour palette that is used. It works in the same way as CMYK with the numbers making the range of colours.

We then spoke about how you can inspiration for colours to use in a design. Eve showed us a trend based website called WGSN, it is mainly fashion related however often talks about colours that are popular at the time. It can also show how colours work well together. However, one of the simplest yet effective ways is to create a moodboard.

A moodboard based upon colour is usually created at the beginning of a project to see what effect certain colours have. By showing it to the client they can also give feedback on how they feel about your ideas as colour is one of the most crucial parts of a design. So, getting this right is very important to the success of our project.

To finish off Eve asked us to make a moodboard based on either our Modernism or Bauhaus lectures we had with Chris.

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My modernism moodboard

With my moodboard I focused on some of the defining moments of the modernism era, thinking about the industrial revolution, architecture developments and abstract art.

The spreading out of the images represent the way modernism is all about ‘stepping out of the box’ and taking risks. Then the pop of the colour in the middle, in front of the other images shows that this was one of the most recent developments in modernism.

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