Introduction to Color Theory: Color & Rhetorical Purpose

Introduction to Color Theory: Color & Rhetorical Purpose MARK PEPPER Brought to you in cooperation with the Purdue Online Writing Lab Color Theory Color Theory is a system of rules and guidance for mixing various colors in order to:

Create Aesthetically Pleasing Blends Produce Maximum Readability and Clarity Draw on Cultural Associations to Effect Meaning Why Learn Color Theory? Many people choose not to consult color theory. They think, Well, Ive got a good eye for these things.

The good eye for color may or may not be true based on whos thinking it but in order to justify your choices it is good to have some theory to fall back on. The Foundation of Color At its core, color is light.

Light is composed of many different colors and the various mixtures of light compose the colors that we can see. Primary Colors Colors that can not be created by mixing other colors) Secondary Colors Colors made by mixing primary colors

Tertiary Colors Colors that mix primary and secondary colors Taken Together The Color Wheel Using the Wheel Colors are arranged on the wheel in such a way that purposeful color choices can

be made. Choices of color combination depend on what you are trying to accomplish. Such as: Contrast Blending Affect Using the Wheel Complementary Colors

are the colors opposite from one another on the wheel. These colors provide the most visual contrast. Contrast is the noticeable level of difference between two colors. Contrast with Text The more a color contrasts with the colors around

it, the more easily visible that color will appear. This fact is extremely important when using different colored texts and backgrounds This text on on a white background is so popular Thisisiswhy whyblack black

text a white background is so and and effective. Theres a high degree of contrast popular effective.

Theres a high degree of contrast. On the other hand, blue and black offer little contrast. An extended read of this combination could be painful. Contrast with Text (cont.) But be careful, even though colors may contrast

they may not always work well for text and background pairing. Simultaneous Contrast occurs when a color like red is fore grounded on blue. Note how the text appears to slightly vibrate. This would get annoying really quickly. But simultaneously be aware of extreme lack of contrast in your text and background choices. Honestly, this is just painful. Do not make your readers struggle with this! Rhetorical Color

Contrast Contrast draws attention to the item that is most contrasting (or different) among a number of other design elements. Therefore, you can use color contrast to draw attention to an element of your design that is more important, relevant, or immediately pressing. Practical Example

Neither of these flyers is completely ineffective and both provide shape contrast with the text box. But the orange box above provides a nice contrast with the blues and grays of the clothes rack. The blue box here, however, is too similar to the clothes color palette.

Analogous Colors Analogous Colors are colors positioned next to each other on the color wheel. These colors have very little contrast; therefore, they will provide harmonious blends. Analogous Colors in

Nature Nature offers an excellent look at analogous colors in action. Question: what color of flower could be added to this photo to provide a strong and attention drawing contrast? Color and Cultural

Association Colors often come with feelings, moods, and associations that you can draw on. For example, the color Red is largely associated with danger, aggression, stimulation, and excitement. Red stop signs signify danger if you dont stop, and stimulate your senses with excitement if you dont

Color and Cultural Association Its an important to remember that these color associations do not come from the color itself. Without us to interpret it, red is simply light without any meaning laden characteristics. Because these associations depend on us, they can differ from culture to culture, and they can also change over time. For example, purple use to be associated with solely belonging to royalty. This PowerPoint could now be

beheaded if it werent made by a King or Queen! Resources for Color Complementation The internet contains a number of resources that can help you find sets of colors that complement each otherthat is, colors that create a sense of visual harmony. Adobe Color Wheel This free tool helps you select colors

that complement each other via a set of predefined relationships. Its remarkably intuitive and user-friendly. Where to Go to Get More Help Purdue University Writing Lab Heavilon 226 Web: Phone: (765) 494-3723 Email: [email protected]

The End Introduction to Color Theory Brought to you in cooperation with the Purdue Online Writing Lab

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