Color Properties and Color Harmony

I was intrigued to learn about how color are used and perceived differently, with regards color in light, used digitally, and used in art. As an artist and having held for a long time, the notion of red, yellow, blue as the primary colors to create other colors , I was enlightened to see how printers use cyan, magenta, and yellow subtractively to produce a spectrum of colors that actually turn out brighter than a mixing of RBY. Also, with regards to light, it was interesting to see that while mixing all the colors with paint would produce a muddy brown/black color, mixing all the colors with light produces white light.

I was also curious to learn more about color harmony because of the powerful impact it has on design. I realize the importance of being able to harness the ability to use color in order to effectively communicate through my designs. I’ve never been keen on using color in my drawings/artwork because there is some difficulty to achieving the balance you need without going too far. Thus, I feel like mastering the use of color will be immensely helpful in visual communication, and of paramount importance not only in the realm of graphic design but many other areas.

Color properties & harmony

In theory, “there really is no such thing as color, just light waves of different wavelengths.” When we actually see a rainbow, we see the visible spectrum, we see what is supposedly invisible: rays of light reflected in wavelengths. The visible spectrum are colors ranged red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo (blue-violet) and violet.
All of color comes from light, because in the absence of light there is no color. The stronger the light the more (and intensity) of the color, the lesser the light, the lesser the eye can perceive the color.
For our eyes to perceive these colors in harmony, the light incoming to our eyes is reduced into three types of color receptor cells: red, green and blue.
Through a process of objective color notation, a distinguished hue, saturation and brightness- we can precisely determine color.
To summarize, color in harmony describes communication.


Being someone who already paints and is use to mixing colors it was really interesting to see the science behind it.  It was interesting when they mentioned the process of adding of the three primary colors of light compared to the actual mixing of color pigment, it was interesting to me because when you mix the pigment of red and green you make a brown but when they said that our eyes see red and green our eyes perceive that as yellow.  The fact that there was so much science involved was amazing because it gives you a more in depth look on why and how the mind perceives and views color.

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.

Color Properties | Color Harmonies

Color Properties

I always found light rays to be fascinating.

I once read that galaxies in the outer regions of space looked red to the observers gathering research.  In learning more about light and the different wavelengths its easier to understand why. If Red has the longest wavelength, then it makes sense that only these lightwaves can reach us from so far away.

I was also enjoyed reading about primary and secondary color.  It made me aware of information regarding color that I had taken for grated. For example I knew that a printer carried CMY K but never really felt interested to learn more about the process. This information has made me more aware of my surroundings.

Color Harmonies

Color has an effect on moods and human emotions, because of this it is important to have color harmony so that these colors work well together to achieve the purpose you want for them.

I was interested to find out about the many people who use  color harmonies in their everyday. In the design field I can see how important it is to master this theory so that you can communicate the right message to the public.




Color Properties and Harmonies

I never knew about scientists like James Clerk Maxwell and Thomas Young and their involvement in the color theory.  I feel the author should have gone a little more in depth. While Newton is famous and challenged the idea, I fail to see that with people like Maxwell, Heinrich Hertz and Wilhelm Rontgen. I wanted to hear how they came about their ideas.

I found it all interesting since I had taken classes before, I learned a little bit of everything, but it seems clearer now specially when I read about subtractive mixing and how the printer colors originated. In my High School Graphic Arts class I recall having to watch out for certain colors becoming duller than they were on screen. We had printed color cards showing what it would look like on screen and how different it was printed on paper.

Color Properties and Harmonies- Aidan

I find it really interesting that Leonardo de Vinci is the person credited with discovering complementary colors, although I shouldn’t be to surprised.

I also learned exactly what hue, saturation, and brightness meant. Hue is the known name of a color that indicates where on the color wheel it is located. Saturation refers to how intense or dull a color is. Brightness refers to how reflective a color is.

Color Properties and Color Harmonies

Color Properties

The visible light spectrum is something I always found intriguing. I have always questioned why we cannot see ultraviolet, infrareds, or a new color. We cannot since we are limited by the color receptor cones. It’s also interesting to know how Cyan, Magenta, and Yellow the three subtractive primary are used to create just about any color using subtractive mixing.

The Trichromatic theory questioning how light created the impression of color is something that’s been on my mind for a long time.

Mixing pigments compared to mixing colored lights is a neat concept, the trichromatic theory says that mixing red and green lights should result in a yellow color. Then if the same red and green color is used as paint, the result will not be yellow but a brownish color. Similar events happen when mixing Primary colors red, green, and blue on paint compared with light. When mixing RGB lights the outcome color should be white, but on pigment it becomes a blacken pigment.


Color Harmonies

The ways color has been used as therapy or Chromo therapy fascinates me. I believe it’s important to recognize the effects have on the body and perception. Such as warm color can relate to heat or how cool colors can relate to cool temperatures, but not everyone relates to colors in the same ways physically or emotionally. Colors have psychological properties and using them as an aid as treatment is brilliant.

It appears the more colors that are used for harmonic purposes, harmony becomes a bit more challenging to achieve. Using a monochromatic scheme is generally easier to accomplish vs a triadic scheme.

Color Properties and Harmonies

It was interesting to learn that the human eye has three types of receptor cells, red, green and blue and with the mixture of the incoming light gives us every color we see, approximately ten million colors.  Before reading about this, I always thought it was red yellow and blue the primary colors on the color wheel.  I also find the difference between additive and subtractive mixing to be very interesting and somewhat confusing especially when you can add two different bright vibrant colors and get black.

I find it very interesting that color harmony has such a strong influence on peoples decisions and how it can control your mood and in some cultures your health.  There is even a medical practice called chromotherapy that is believed by wearing, drinking, bathing and meditating about color can be  effective in treating disease.


Color Properties and Harmonies-Adrian D.

Color Properties and Harmonies

    Reading about the primary colors and how they are categorized into two types (additive and subtractive) was interesting. I did not know that when all three color receptors (red, green, and blue) are put together they make up white. Going through the three diagram models helped me better understand color. Subtractive colors are more dull than addictive colors

It was interesting to read that people began to explore the color theory and try to figure out color relationships between 384-322 B.C.E. Color is not just used by artists or designers but my many other people who are in different professions; like writers/poets, scientists.  It is important for every designer to understand color properties and know to achieve color harmony in their work because color is an important factor when trying to express the idea or feeling you or a client want to communicate with people. Color is used for everything, I have a better sense of how important it is when making designs.