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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
112
Color Logic: Defining a Palette Just as
it’s important for a designer to define a
clear, unified form language and composi-
tional idea—and one that includes contrast
among these variables—so too must a
designer establish an overall logic that gov-
erns the color within a project. This idea of
color logic is more commonly referred to
as a “palette,” or a specific combination of
hues that interact in specific relationships
of value, temperature, and saturation.
The first direction a designer may pursue
in developing a color palette for a project
is that of optical interaction. Creating a
rich palette depends on combining colors
that can be clearly distinguished from each
other but that also share some unifying
optical relationships. Because of the strong
opposition of complements, palettes based
on this relationship tend to be the most
optically dynamic—that is, cells in the eye
are stimulated more aggressively, and the
brain is provoked into greater activity as
a result. Analogous colors, by their very
similarity, create more complex, but less
varied, palettes. Using such a basic rela-
tionship as a starting point guarantees a
viewer’s clear perception of a color idea; the
designer may opt to maintain its simplicity,
or introduce complexity—adjusting the
value or intensity differences between the
base colors, or adding colors that support
and expand their relationship.
COLOR SYSTEMS
The process of defining a palette
can begin very simply: choosing
colors for their optical relation-
ship—in this case, a pair of
complements—because their
interaction is so strong (top).
Adjusting the relative values of
the complements creates greater
contrast without disturbing
the clarity of the relationship
(bottom).
Seeking a richer experience, the
designer may shift the tempera-
ture of one or both complements,
maintaining the essential rela-
tionship but skewing it slightly.
Altering the intensities of one
or both introduces yet greater
richness without sacrificing the
fundamental logic of the palette.
The addition of a neutral version
of one of the complements
expands the palette; a second
version of the neutral, lighter
in value, introduces greater
variation.
To this already complex mix, the
designer lastly adds the analog
of one of the base complements,
adjusting its value and intensity
to correspond more closely to one
of the neutrals.
Each of these two ads, part
of a campaign promoting a
newspaper, presents a specific,
focused palette of hues—and a
specific set of hue, temperature,
and saturation relationships.
The ad at far left shows an
analogous palette of reds and
yellows, with greater contrast
in saturation and value. The
ad at near left shows a primary
palette—a triadic relation-
ship—of blue, red, and yellow,
with overall diminished satura-
tion and less contrast in value.
UMBRELLA DESIGN INDIA
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113
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086-127_C
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