color dynamics

this post was first published at 2ModernBlog

Color has been discussed by artists, scientists, philosophers and color theorists for the last 2500 years. The study of color is a complex field with a variety of systems that utilize aesthetics, art, physics, psychology, physiology,and symbolism.

Newton once observed that white light can be produced through the mixing of light of specific wavelengths. Later, Goethe opposed Newton’s approach, claiming that science and mathematics had no role to play in the theory of color. However, Newton’s theory was based on the “additive mixture” rather than “subtractive mixture” of pigments and paint and it was as valid as Goethe’s observations on complementary colors, after images, and the more subjective aspects of color harmonies.

There are many other great names that have contributed to the definition and classification of color harmonies, systems and methods. I enjoy reading all of them, regardless of whether I agree with them or not. But when it comes to the practical concerns, I am most interested in the methodology for achieving pleasing color harmony. With the accumulation of methodologies and knowledge, it has become clear that each set of the color palette must be selected to design a pleasing appearance and also to achieve a strong overall impact.

One of the first steps to determine a set of color selection is to consider the lightness, chroma and hue in conjunction with the rhythm, proportion, and scale; the quantity, intensity and weight of each color could potentially create a different impact on the design work. The interaction and the relativity of color provide a great deal of possibilities; there is no right and wrong way to use color but there are many ways to achieve great results.