Friday, 25 January 2013

COLOUR THEORY PART 3 & 4

Part 3 - Colour and Contrast:

Itten's 7 Contrasts:

Johannes Itten was one of the first people to define and identify strategies for successful colour combinations. Through his research he devised seven methodologies for coordinating colors utilizing the hue's contrasting properties. These contrasts add other variations with respect to the intensity of the respective hues; i.e. contrasts may be obtained due to light, moderate, or dark value.

1. The Contrast of Saturation
2. The Contrast of Light and Dark (Tone)
3. The Contrast of Extension
4. The Contrast of Compliments
5. Simultaneous Contrast
6. The Contrast of Hue
7. The Contrast of Warm and Cool (Temperature)

Source: worqx

1. Contrast of Tone:

Formed by the juxtaposition of light and dark tones. This could be monochromatic. Colours with similar tonal values being together can reduce readability.










2. Contrast of Hue:

Formed by the juxtaposing of different hues. The greater the distance between hues on s colour wheel, the greater the contrast.







3. Contrast of Saturation:

Formed by the juxtaposition of dark and light values and their relative saturations. 








4. Contrast of Extension:

Formed by assigning proportional field sizes in relation to the visual weight of a colour. Also known as the contrast of proportion. 

(Blue heaviest > Darkest, Yellow > Lightest) = Colour Perception. 

Balance colours out in proportion > Balance/In-balance.


Proportion of colours can effect readability and legibility. 


The above 2 images have the same amount of purple in both blocks. There is a high contrast between the 2 colours, and when interspersed colours are fighting for attention in your field of colour/vision. Cumulative contrast, highly saturated colours. Tonal values are very far apart, with a high contrast of hue. 






Monochromatic colour = one colour. However, equal amounts of colour does not mean equal colour balance, as shown above.

5. Contrast of Temperature:

Formed by juxtaposing hues that can be considered warm/cool (orange/blue). Colour can be relative to temperature. 

Red is more toward violet, a cooler shade of 'red'. This makes mid-red warmer. Darker red cools mid-red down. This contrast is based on temperature. 








Black bands below show the differentiation between hue and tone.



When black is removed, colours turn into a set of gradients. When black is re added, colours turn flat and lose gradient. Visually different colours due to the perception of colour.

6. Complimentary Contrast:

Formed by juxtaposing complimentary colours of a colour wheel or perceptual opposites. 


Blue/Orange (desaturated)


Red/Green


Black/White

The above are all opposites on the colour wheel, therefore being complimentaries, whilst being contrasting. The high contrast shows a high visual vibration when staring at the colours, due to the range of impacting colours chosen.





The text is barely readable or legible, and creates a vibrating/bouncing effect once looked at due to the highly chromatic, contrasting colours.

7. Simultaneous Contrast:

Formed when colour boundaries perceptually vibrate, for example, green and yellow. Maximum impact colours allow for elements to blur into green, and the yellow becomes slightly orange to look at.  (Green = blue + yellow. Blue comes out through the green as it is forcing its complimentary out, forcing red into the field of vision. Red is also missing as brown starts to fill in the missing colours - bleeds in yellow value of the green). 




If you don't introduce colour, it will start to introduce itself.

Part 4 - Subjective Colour:

Type & Colour:





Counters are read to help distinguish type, however purple type over a yellow background makes type less legible and readable. The yellow type on a purple background however is easy to read. 



Colour starts to control the background, especially neutral colours and grey. Yellow here shows violet in the background due to complimentary contrast, forcing out colours. This is the same for blue, showing a orange/brown hue which is subtle.



Bright yellow and desaturated yellow introduced violet. 



This is desaturated even more but appears as 4 colours. This optically changes due to the background.


Green/Grey (violet tint) - green pushes out complimentaries whilst grey does not change. Grey/violet - grey takes on green/yellow tint, which is imposing on neutral colours.












Green/violet - colours take each other on due to the complimentaries. Blue/orange - grey text takes on shades of blue/orange. Weaker colours affected by chromatic/stronger colours around it, imposing themselves on weaker ones. For example, red will demand green as it is also present. Where red/green meets borders optically 'wobble'. 

'After image' - colour memory in retina. It is burnt in to remember the colour. If you stare at the dot below, introduce the red and then remove the cross, the red cross should still be visible by sight.









White/blue - yellow/orange halo being imposed onto white background.

- - -

An Experiment:


An experiment was carried out by Leo and I in class to test how contrasts and perceptions change when a colour is placed on another.

Above there is an increase in contrast that makes the background appear dull and lighter. The hotter the object, the cooler the background.


Above, a red bauble was placed on a red background. The object appears more saturated, with a similar hue and tone. The temperature makes the object appear warmer, and the background cooler.


The object here is much more saturated, with a lower hue and tone of the background, which appears duller. The temperature of the object is warmer, whilst the background is cooler.

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