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Graphic Designer's Essential Reference by Timothy Samara

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Job:07-26153 Title:RP-Graphic Designer’s Essential Reference PB Edn
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ESSENTIAL VISUAL STRATEGIES
BASIC TECHNIQUES
Note how simple it is to alter
the sequence in which the num-
bers are read by changing the
temperature relationships
[
A
],
saturation relationships
[
B
],
or value relationships
[
C
]
among them, relative to the
background.
A
B
C
Exploiting Color to Enhance Hierarchy
Our optical system (the eyes and brain) allows
us to perceive colors as occupying different
spatial depths. Red appears stationary at a
middle distance; yellow appears to advance
toward us; blue appears to recede. In general,
cool colors appear to recede, while warm
colors advance.
Consider the spatial property of color
carefully with regard to hierarchy, whether
visual or typographic. Clearly, form elements
colored in red, orange, and yellow are likely to
capture attention easily because they will ap-
pear to advance toward the viewer; in a fi eld
of neutrals, a more saturated color will draw
attention. But the degree of value contrast
between elements, or between elements and
background
tends to trump temperature
or saturation with respect to establishing
hierarchy. A very light element will appear to
advance forward of any element whose value
is relatively dark when both are situated on
an even darker background
no matter how
cool or warm, dull or saturated, any of the
hues involved may be, and no matter how
small the light element is. Conversely, a very
dark element situated within a light fi eld will
advance forward of any other form that is also
of light value.
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Job:07-26153 Title:RP-Graphic Designer’s Essential Reference PB Edn
#175 Dtp:204 Page:25
001-035_26153.indd 25
7/12/11 10:30 AM

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