Design Foundations II
Color Links

Art 260 / Greg Clayton

Web Links

this page is a growing list of links used elsewhere on this site and in this course.

Color Theory Introductions

Color Worx

This site has evolved nicely over recent years to include very good introductory coverage of many aspects of color theory. Content is well-organized and articulate.

This site is created by a veteran Color Theory professor in Australia.


Excellent content on the history of color and color theory.  Many theorists and cultures are introduced.  The site does not appear to have been updated in several  years.  Depth of introduction…


Excellent watercolor content and very thoughtful color theory content as well:

WebExhibits Color in Art

Good introduction to color theory and its historical development. Good educational content and interactive color graphics.


Useful content is acruing here. Well-cited, reliable content is growing slowly -- but general introductory ideas are presented fairly well.

Paul Schils Color

This site seems to cover just about everything...well, maybe not. But its coverage of the history of color models (color spaces) and color phenomena is pretty extensive. Some of the info is technical.
Color Spaces (1st of four long pages)
Color/Perceptual Phenomena

Notebook (color section)

This site has a lot of info...well, scattered notes, comments, definitions and ideas. I've not found much visual information, but the color definitions are useful, though oddly fragmented. Many quotes from Mayer.
The overall site deals with all aspects of design (see the definitions of various Elements).


Color Perception (the eye, retina, optical processing)

How Stuff Works (short intro to visual perception)

Color Design and Application

Nasa's Color Use in Publications Guidelines

This site is pretty extensive in its guidelines for effective use of color in publications and graphics. (graphic designers, take a look)


Color Scheme Aid -

This online tool offers very helpful control over value and chroma within a scheme.
The most complex schemes offer palettes of 20 colors -- more than enough for most designs.
The center circle takes a bit of getting used to as value and chroma are presented as a sort of triad. The center allows you to select value-chroma traits for 5 colors for each hue in the scheme. (Intrinsic value differences are not dealt with, so some key color relationships can't be directly controlled here. I've not found any online tools that do encompass intrinsic chroma ranges.)
You can export the resulting palette via any common digital palette format, or as an image of the swatches.

3 hue-Analogous (you control spacing/intervals)
Triadic or Split Complement (you control spacing between the complementary pair)
Quad : can be used for any spread/distribution of split complement scheme
FreeStyle: try split complementary; try Split Complement Bridged)

-- thanks to Chloe for finding this one!


All the Basics /

-- good tips to start with until you know more


Tools and Color-Planning Aids

Adobe's Kuler

This is an impressive toolkit for planning basic color schemes. While some key aspects of color design are ignored, the ability to quickly alter and share schemes, and then drop them into Illustrator or Photoshop is...quite nice.


Color Menu

This site covers a lot of unusual territory -- scans old books are posted. The section on color includes books on Color and Theosophy, Auras, etc. It include an unusual assortment of pages on color, including scans of some pages of some of the classic treatises on color.
The site deals with visual story-telling — and the color section is only one small section of the whole. This is a handy site if you're looking for old graphic design/advertising examples.



Many color related items on the site.  Terribly ugly site.  See his distinctive color wheel.

Munsell Color System:
A fairly crude but thorough into to Munsell’s system and terms.

Color Therapy

(lots of articles) :

Color  and Personal Choices:  (meaning of choices…ala Luscher, etc.)
Compare this article  to Luscher content:
Try out personal prefs by exploring your own closet…what do your clothes tell you about yourself?


Oriented towards photography(?)  History of color photography. Color chemistry/technologies.:

General Intro/Theory

Good content from Brown Univ:
Illustrations/discussions of many color phenomema:

Color Theories:

History of Color Theories — particularly color printing: The Creation of Color in Eighteenth Century Europe

History of, and Variations on Color Wheels: Colour Wheels & Colour Systems

Very good site on design (esp. web) and interaction:

(focuses on industrial color…home  page is well-designed)
The Unique Online SERVICE Platform to SPEED UP Color Development.

CIE Color Standard General Information

Glossary of Color and Press Terms

xBlog: Color
A nicely maintained/updated list of links on articles/web pages related to color. 
Check it regularly.


Objective and Subjective Color Issues (article)

The Palettes & Techniques of the Old Masters

Colour Theory and Colour Mixing
[this site has a variety of pages…with MANY ads and popups…dealing with worthwhile  color, painting and art content.  ]

Painting with a Limited Palette

Colour Meaning
Good content – good page on color meanings.


"The Elements of Color"
By Johannes Itten
ISBN: 0471289299

"The Pantone Guide to Communicating with Color"
By Leatrice Eiseman
ISBN: 0966638328

"The Color Index"
By Jim Krause
ISBN: 1581802366



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