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Basic knowledge of color theory can mean the difference between an “amateur” aesthetic and a “professional” one. This applies to nearly every visual medium on the planet: digital photography, painting, website design, video games, fashion (both male and female) – and that’s just scratching the surface.
Many creative types have skipped learning about the fundamentals of color, or they’ve forgotten what they’ve already learned. The result? Sub-par products that appear flat and lifeless to the eye. Don’t be one of them!
Color Theory For Web Design
These days, color is arguably most important in web design. Your choice in scheme and shade might be so bold as to scare off your visitors, so subtle as to bore and snore your readers, or so generic that your website fails to distinguish itself as unique.
Ten minutes of color theory study could fix that right up. A simple search on Google would be enough to point you towards hundreds of web design tips and tutorials but here are some Tuts+ articles that I highly recommend as a starting point.
- An Introduction to Color Theory for Web Designers
- Defining and Recognizing Colors
- Selecting Your Own Color Scheme
- Understanding the Qualities and Characteristics of Color
- 6 Beginner “Safety First” Color Guidelines for the Web
Once you’re done with all of those, you might find these color picker tools extremely useful when picking palettes for your next web design. Finally, in all that you do, be sure to adhere to these web design commandments.
Color Theory In Photography
The amazing thing about color is that it picks up nuance depending on which medium we’re talking about. While the basics of color theory hold true no matter what you’re doing, the applications of color theory can differ between, say, web design and photography.
This 22-minute video by Ted Forbes from The Art of Photography is one of the best introductions to the topic in this field. Using the free Adobe Kuler tool, Ted explains the concept of color and how you can manipulate it to produce better photographs.
It’s an eloquent video with a candid tone, which makes it a fantastic resource for those who want to learn colors in a non-boring way. In other words, it’s not a dry lecture and you’ll probably retain most of what you hear.
Color Theory For Painting
By nature of the instruments involved, one’s approach to color in painting will be different than one’s approach to color in web design or photography. Instead of picking specific shades, you rely more on mixing and contrast.
This tutorial series by SchaeferArt will take you back to basics and teach you everything you wanted to know about using color to your advantage when painting. Most of the lessons can be applied to various forms of painting, including oil and acrylic.
By the end of the 12-video series, you’ll have dipped into some intermediate and advanced topics that will equip you with what you need to know to elevate your next paintings to the next level.
Color Theory For Video Games
Valve is one of the most successful companies in the realm of video games and one reason for their success is their careful attention to detail. Take a look at games like Team Fortress 2, Dota 2, and Portal 2 to see the kind of stylish graphics that they’re capable of making.
Have you ever wondered what kind of process is involved when directing art for video games? Then you’ll want to check out their Dota 2 Character Art Guide which is available as a free download in PDF format.
Inside you’ll find approximately 15 pages of character art tips and examples that show the tips in action. Tips #2 through #7 explain the importance of concepts like color schemes, color mixing, and color keys. Seriously, it’s a must-read!
Color Theory In Fashion
Wouldn’t you like to wake up in the morning and pick out a color-coordinated outfit in the blink of an eye? Without the need to mix-and-match piece after piece, you could free up a significant chunk of dawn time every day.
Here are some awesome links that will teach you a bit about color theory and how it can make you look great:
- What Colors Really Look Good Together?
- Make Great Clothing Matches by Understanding Color Theory [Broken URL Removed]
- The Concept & Theory Behind the Seasonal Color Analysis [Broken URL Removed]
- Seasonal Color Guide on Male Fashion Advice
And there you have it. With all of these lessons under your belt, you’ll never look at color the same way again. Also, if you happen to be color-blind, don’t fret! Here’s a wonderful article that can explain color theory for the color-blind.
Are there any other useful resources for learning about the magic of color? Do share with us posting a comment below!