Category Archives: Susan Sternal

Color Properties and Harmony

The physics of light plays an important part in our perception of color. In reality, color is simply waves of light that vibrate at different speeds. Our color brain perceives is called the Visible Spectrum, ROYGBIV, and black and white. Color needs light, with a strong light you get intense color. If there is too little light there is very little color. The scientific descriptions of color is called colorimetry. It involves the specification of these color properties in either a subjective or objective system of measurements. The scientific nature of color is something we take for granted, we “see” color all around us. Yet when we examine what color really is we see we have been fooled into thinking color is tangible. In reality color is only our perception of different color hues, strength of saturation, and the value of lightness or darkness.


Using harmony in color is a choice. The intentional lack of harmony in a color scheme can be a deliberate process to cause chaos and visual noise. Harmony is used to evoke emotion and can be a powerful tool in design. Harmony can provide a pleasing and balanced piece of work. With the exploration of color and color properties we can create harmonious relationships within the design composition. By utilizing color combinations in the most visually pleasing way we create harmony and balance, the result being a unified and cohesive composition. Choosing color can have a positive or negative reaction. Analogous color schemes can be acceptable and easy, but boring and less effective. Using split compliments can be challenging, but offer a substantial visual impact. Comparing colors side by side, as we are doing in our 1” squares, can provide valuable insight to utilizing color to achieve the desired effect.

susan sternal

IMG_5711 copy

I’m a 4th year Industrial Design student. I travel a lot and always  try to find water. I water-ski, surf, snorkel, dive, paddle board and sail as often as possible.

I think color is an important expression of ourselves. I’m interested in color theory and the emotion it triggers. I’m also interested in color and how its manipulated in advertising and marketing strategies.