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Design Elements, 2nd Edition by Timothy Samara

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(F39)_Job:12-40337 Title:RP-Design Elements 2nd Edition
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TEXT
color fundamentals
98
CHROMATIC INTERACTION
Color Relationships Since the fifteenth
century, artists and scientists have been
creating methods for organizing color
perception in visual models. A color model
helps a designer see these relationships for
planning color ideas. Of these, the most
common is the color wheel, developed
by Albert Munsell, a British painter and
scientist. Munsell’s color wheel is a circular
representation of hue—the differences in
wavelength that distinguish blue from
yellow from red—modified along two axes
that describe the color’s darkness or light-
ness (its value) and its relative brilliance
(its saturation). Johannes Itten, a Bauhaus
master at Weimar, Germany, in the 1920s,
posited a color sphere—a three-dimension-
al model that integrates the value scale of
Munsell’s color wheel into a globe—in his
landmark book
The Art of Color, published
in 1961. Both models focus on hue as color’s
defining aspect, radiating at full intensity
around the outside of a circular form and
decreasing in intensity toward the center.
In Itten’s sphere, the decrease in intensity
toward the center of the solid globe is the
result of mixing hues that are situated op-
posite each other (as they are on Munsell’s
color wheel) and results in a cancelling out
toward a neutral. These color models were
developed to describe how color works
with refracted light, but, for the most part,
graphic designers work with color derived
The color sphere, developed from
earlier models by Swiss artist
and theorist, Johannes Itten,
extrapolates the color wheel’s flat
“slices” into a truly volumetric
model. Hues are mapped around
the sphere’s exterior (distin-
guished as hemispheres—warm
on one side, cool on the other);
saturation diminshes toward the
sphere’s center; and value pro-
gresses upward, from dark at the
sphere’s base to light at its top.
The warm hemisphere The cool hemisphere A cross-section of the sphere,
cut vertically between the warm
and cool hemispheres
A cross-section cut horizontally,
separating the top (lighter) half
from the lower (darker) half
Relationships between colors are
defined by their relative position
on the Munsell color wheel—
which actually is a set of concen-
tric rings, like those of an onion
slice, stacked over each other
into a cylinder: hues are mapped,
in their purest (most intense)
saturation around the outer ring,
and gradually desaturate toward
the center; value is shown as a
progression in the “slices”—from
darkest (bottom slice) to lightest
(top slice).
RED-ORANGE
THE COLOR WHEEL
YELLOW-GREEN
ORANGE
YELLOW
YELLOW-
ORANGE
RED-VIOLET
BLUE-GREEN
VIOLET
BLUE
BLUE-
VIOLET
RED
GREEN
(F39)_Job:12-40337 Title:RP-Design Elements 2nd Edition
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086-127_40337.indd 98 12/19/13 8:01 PM
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