All posts by abennick

Color Perception

Individual color perception adds a whole new layer when employing color your designs. 8% of males and 0.5% of females have some sort of color deficiency. That’s enough of the population to make sure when you create designs with color, you think about the fact that those individuals may judge your composition differently due to their color blindness. One of the ways to make your composition accessible to everyone regardless of color perspective is to have adjacent colors with high light-dark contrasts. It is difficult to manage this in widespread digital reproductions of work due to the way color is incorrectly calibrated on some screens. Van Gogh was an example of a an artist that created paintings that are more accessible to everyone. Rather than painting with accurate color reproductions, he painted with mood using high intensity hues and light and dark contrasts that are striking to almost anyone that can see color.

Reading Assignment: Color Psych

Color Psychology started when Johann Wolfgang von Goethe questioned Newton’s solely scientific approach to organizing and combining color. He discovered cool colors evoked or were associated with negative emotions and that warm colors excited people or provoked more passionate responses. He divided colors into a system of minus and plus. The cool, being minus and the warm, being plus.

There were many other influential individuals in the (continuous) evolution of color psychology and color organization, but the most fascinating individual to me is Albert Munsell. He realized the that the color wheel was flawed because the color relationships are distorted due to the varying saturations of pure hues. He then created the Munsell Tree, which is a 3D color/chart model that takes into account hue, value, and saturation (HV/C was his method for organization), rather than relying heavily on hue alone. The HV/C was mathematically organized by applying number values to each category, ergo you can figure out an infinite number of color combinations to get just about any color you want. It is most useful for manufacturing and environmental design purposes. The major flaw in his system is that it is entirely based on his perception of color, which he realized. He believed that each individual can create their own unique color palette over time and that they will consistently use this palette to create color. The reason it is unique is because we have a slightly different perspective of how we see color.

Color Wheel Reading

Organizing color into a simple system has proved to be an ostensibly impossible feat to accomplish. Since 384 B.C. many scientists and artists having been trying to come up with the perfect color wheel or color organization system. Aristotle, Da Vinci, and Newton, to name a few, all had different ideas about color and the way we should think about them, and honestly they were all correct in their own way. Color can’t really be put into a step by step chart or wheel “perfectly” because the rainbow isn’t a step system. Putting color into a system does help us though. Whether you are a painter or a designer using color wheels helps you create compositions that are more aesthetically pleasing and interesting when you think about how they react with one another when mixing paints or placing different colors next to one another.

Ariel Bennick: Color Property and Harmony

Color properties and harmonies seem to go hand in hand. Color properties are the more basic less subjective way of viewing color, and color harmonies seem to be more dependent on the mood/purpose that is desired in a composition.


-Hue, saturation, value, wavelength, purity, and luminance are important tools for identifying and using color.

-RGB are the additive colors that our eye receptors process and are best for digital purposes. They also are the best for creating different color combinations due to the fact that when mixing, any color on the visible spectrum can be achieved.

-CMY (Transparent) and RYB (Artist’s Primaries, Opaque) are subtractive and create duller colors than additive colors, when mixing.

-Interesting fact: It is impossible for us to process “greenish-red,” “lightish-dark,” and “bluish-yellow.”

-Both digital color creations and physical painted color creations have their pros and cons. When painting you can create lighter colors simply by adding white, but you have a more broad spectrum of colors to work with in the digital world and can make use of CMYK colors more readily.


When trying to create a composition that employs harmony with color, one has to really think about how colors react with one another. This is where all the skills learned from basic color properties become important. Changing the hue, value, and saturation can either hurt or help your compositions when colors are set next to one another. For example, if you have a vibrant red composition with green dots covering it, that might be a headache to look at, but if you put a green with a darker value and use red as an accent, the effect would be more pleasant.

Relationships between color such as analogous, complimentary, triadic, and monochromatic are important to keep in mind when trying to create a specific mood or feeling.

Color Harmony is extremely important to achieve as a designer, because you want to make compositions that communicate the feeling the client desires, or the the mood you are trying to express for your own personal work. It’s all about communication and color is one way you can uniquely and effectively affect how people view your work.


Ariel Bennick

Hello! My name is Ariel and I’m 22, love reading, drinking coffee, and drawing. I intend to major in Industrial Design and would love to do product design, specifically in tools and glassware. I am also interested in Graphic possibly as a minor or double major.

I rode an elephant when I was twelve and have adored them since.

I’m from a terrible small town in Michigan, it’s boring and only good for hunting deer. I prefer Chicago immensely.

When it comes to Color Theory I am specifically interested in the psychological effects color has and the history of color. mehobbit