Rice up against hunger

Monday 18 March 2013

Color Booklet


Color is one of the most powerful tools in a designer's toolbox. This is a refresher lesson on how color affects people and how, as designers, we can influence the colors you use in your designs.


 Popular colors and their meaning

 Applying the "right" color in the "right" way is a subjective exercise. What looks good to you might look awkward to others, however, there are guidelines to using color which, when followed, can generally make your designs look "right". These guidelines are based on many years of research and design/ art practice and theory.

Read this article from Smashing Magazine, it demonstrates with examples and explanations how specific colors have been used on various web sites to convey meaning. Read the brief descriptions of popular colors to get a general understanding of common color associations.

 Color Schemes & The Color Wheel

 Isaac Newton made the first color wheel. He designed it to make choosing colors easier or, more correctly, to make choosing the "right" colors easier. It represented 8-colours and the colors were arranged so that if you added opposite colors together the result would be white. This wheel found favor but it become more popular once Johannes Itten (Bauhaus School Germany) had evolved it to more accurately represent 12-colours. The arrangement of 12 colors was found to provide the most utility for designers and artists.


This lesson was a brief introduction to color. Color has a massive scope across many fields such as psychology, advertising, marketing, national identity, publishing, fashion, interior design, architecture, urban design and vehicle design.

Further reading –

Research – using spot colors/Pantone colors PMS (coated and uncoated); converting PMS to CMYK and RGB; using spot color tints.

Websites -

Smashing Magazine

Learning Activity

Produce a color management mini-booklet, aimed at a beginners guide to using color. You will be required to print this booklet on at least 3 different types of paper stock, or in other words 3 booklets printed on heavy card, coated paper and colored paper. Post to your teacher (see below). The size of the booklet is your choice – they can be either A5 or A4 or A3 and the amount of pages is up to you, although it should be a minimum of 4 pages. It can either be spiral bound or stapled. The booklet should reflect at least 4 of the color areas listed below –

  • Effects of color

  • Color associations

  • Color theory and the color wheel

  • Color meanings

  • Color emotions

  • Color temperature

  • Color trends in history

  • Color in the environment  

  • Color and photography


  1. Research information on color theory and design processes

    • Identify and access relevant sources of information on color theory and design processes.

    • Research historical and contemporary approaches to color and design in the context of the work project.

    • Evaluate information with consideration of how color and design issues may be integrated into the design process.    
  2.  Communicate ideas through the application of color and design theory
  •  Select, combine and explore materials, tools and equipment to determine ways in which color theory and design processes may be integrated.

  •  Explore and develop new ideas through a process of experimentation.

  •  Achieve solutions by working with the fundamental elements and principles of design and different aspects of color.
     3.    Evaluate design work
  •  Reflect on own application of design process and success in communicating concepts and ideas.

  •  Identify areas for future improvement, especially in terms of own skill development.

  •  Communicate about completed work with others and respond positively to feedback.

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