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Understanding Color, 5th Edition by Linda Holtzschue

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4 THE VOCABULARY OF COLOR Hue / The Artists' Spectrum / Primary, Secondary, and Intermediate Colors / Saturated Color / Other Spectrums, Other Primaries / Chromatic Scales / Complementary Colors / Cool and Warm Colors / Analogous Colors / Tertiary Colors: Chromatic Neutrals / Black, White, and Gray / Value / Pure Hues and Value / Tints and Shades / Monochromatic Value Scales / Comparing Value in Different Hues / Line / Value and Image / Transposing Image / Saturation / Saturation: Diluting Hues with Gray / Saturation: Diluting Hues with the Complement / Theoretical Gray / Tone

“When I use a word,” Humpty Dumpty said, in a rather scornful tone, “it means just what I choose it to mean—neither more nor less.”

—Lewis Carroll

The words for colors in everyday life—“red,” “green,” “blue,” and so on—do not have precise meanings. Instead, each word is a code for a range of similar sensations. The same is true for words that describe colors, like “vivid,” “dull,” “dark,” or “light.” “Red” is red and never blue, and “vivid” is never dull, but at the same time each word encompasses a wide range of visual experiences.

When a word is used to identify a color sample, or to describe a color not seen, it means something slightly different to each person. Mary and John see the same sweater. Mary calls it red; John insists it is red-orange. Not everyone senses colors in exactly the same way, and even if they did, individuals do not think of colors in exactly the same way. The result is a stalemate, ...

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