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Design Principles - A Study In Colour

Contrast Of Hue.

  • Formed by the juxtaposing of different hues. The greater the distance between hues on a colour wheel, the greater the contrast. 
  • On a white background, blue would stand out the most, as, seen in tone, it's got the darkest value. 
  • On a black background, yellow stands out the most, as it has the lightest tonal value. Red almost blends in, as it's the mid tone. 
  • Use black and white very carefully in Graphic Design, as it cancels out colours.
  • High contrast colours, RYB, when placed together all fight for attention.
  • The contrast of hue and tone are having an impact on our ability to read words.

Contrast of Tone
  • Formed by the juxtaposition of light and dark values. This could be monochromatic. 
  • The Rods in your eyes differentiate tone. 
  • Monochromatic is the tone of one colour, not just greyscale. 
  • In greyscale, the primary colours are the lightest, the darkest and the mid tone, when the colour wheel is desaturated.
  • Tonal Spectrum, white round to black.
  • White and Black on 50% are equally legible, even though the contrasts are extreme, as they're both the same distance from 50%.
  • The same principle can be applied to colour. (Example, Red on Orange)

Contrast Of Saturation.

  • Formed by the juxtaposition of light and dark values and heir relative saturation.
  • Grey background with blue on, we would say the blue shape is blue.
  • However, when we add a more saturated blue, the original blue shape looks let saturated, and not really 'blue'.
  • This process can be repeated, contrasting more and more, until we get the primary blue, absolute blue, and the rest become very desaturated, looks paler, greyer, duller. etc.
  • The same process can be applied to other colours, and tints. (for example, adding white)
  • Contrast of Hue, Tone and Saturation, all work in this sense.

Contrast of Extension
  • Former by assigning proportional field sizes in relation to the visual weight of a colour. Also known as the proportion. 
  • Assigning different subjective values to colours, certain colours have certain weights.
  • Blue would appear the heaviest, as it's the darkest, Yellow would appear the lightest, as it's the lightest, and Red would be the mid tone. 
  • We have have less Violet, and more Yellow to have a visual balance. 
  • In relation to this, we can have less Yellow and more Violet, and we see a stand-out balance.
  • If we talk about imbalance, one of this colours is going to jump out. (see slides)
  • Using stripes of violet creates an imbalance, and it's easier to look at a block of violet. 
  • However, then these stripes are spaces out across a bigger area of yellow, your field of view increases, and it become almost easier to look at.It affects our ability to see those colours accurately. 
  • Hierarchy - spacial quality also applies, as it would with type.
  • High contrast colours, always, jump out at you. 
  • Small amounts of colour, with large amounts of colour work better. Don't use the same amount of colour. 

Contrast of Temperature
  • Formed by juxtaposing hues that can be considered "warm" or 'cool'. 
  • The warmest colour would be something which sits in the red-orange area
  • The coolest would be in the blue-green area.
  • In-between we have colour which movie from the warm to the cool, and vice-versa, on both sides. 
  • Taking a mid red and pushing it towards violet, you're making it cooler. 
  • However, this makes the red look more orange, making it look warmer.
  • If you add a more orange red, it makes the original red look cooler, and the violet look even cooler.
  • However in contrast this makes the orange look warmer. 
  • The middle section, which is a flat colour, appears to look like a gradient (see slide)
  • If you place colours of the decreasing temperature, next to each other in a gradual pattern, it looks like a gradient. 
  • We can see the (above) colours are separate colours, with black bars in-between them, but when the black is taken away, it's a gradient. 

Complementary Contrast
  • Formed by the juxtaposition complementary colour from a colour wheel of perceptual opposites. 
  • Red and Green are complete opposites on the colour wheel, and putting those two colours together looks almost painful.
  • Desaturating the blue and the orange in this image, and it becomes a complementary contrast, these two colours are fighting of attention.
  • Yellow and Blue and equidistant from the green so when Yellow and Blue stiles are applied, they look better. However, Blue has a similar tone to Green than Yellow, so it's easier to look at.
  • If you invert the background, the blue becomes difficult to look at, the the Red becomes calm, it's not fighting for your attention. 

Simultaneous Contrast
  • Formed by the boundaries of colours which perceptually vibrate. 
  • Bright Yellow, with Bright Green ontop of it.The longer you stare at it, the yellow begins to turn slightly more orange.
  • When you put certain colours next to each other, they start to vibrate.
  • Putting Yellow on grey, there's a hint of violet, then with blue and grey, there's a hint of orange. 

Fred's Optical Illusion:
  • Having Yellow on Violet works, however, it doesn't always work in reverse. 
  • Having a small almost of Yellow on Violet works, but not when uses repeatedly.
  • Yellow is trying to impose it's complementary on our field of vision, to stand out the most.
  • However, optical illusions, putting the same colour on two different colours, makes the original colour appear to take the form of stop different colours, based on the simultaneous contrast.
  • Using background the make the foreground appear differently. However, if they're joined together, you can see that the colour does not change. 
  • You can also, by staring at a black dot, burn an invert of the surrounding image onto your retinas. 

Red Object Experiments:
  • On Yellow: Darker Tone, Different Hue, More saturated, Warmer temperature, High extension, not much of a complementary contrast, slightly blue background
  • On Green: Darker Tone, Different Hue, More saturated, The red looks warmer, in comparison, high complementary contrast, blue fade on the green.
  • On Red: Darker Tone, Similar Hue, more saturated, It looks warmer, and the background almost goes towards a violet colour, whereas the envelope goes more orange, Low extension contrast, low complementary contrast, as they're the same colour, more or less, it makes the area around it look violet. 
  • On Orange: Darker Tone, different hue, however, it's not too substantial, around the same saturation

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