WebRef: E-Book Review: Color Voodoo: Color Logic
E-Book Review: Color Voodoo
My personal favorite in the series is #5, Color Logic for Website Design. For those familiar with color terminology, the first section, "Defining Color," is a quick, visual review of color systems: primary, secondary and tertiary colors; warm and cool colors (know the difference between a warm and cool gray?); the three basic attributes of colors: hue, value and saturation; saturation variations (how do tints, tones and shades differ?); and complimentary colors. The review is beautifully illustrated by examples of good and bad background and Web page value contrasts, as well as banner and button readability contrasts. The banner examples and tips are both vector and bitmapped. The section ends where it began, defining complementary colors in fundamental and generative terms. This fast, illustrated review of color terminology is the foundation for the next two sections of the book, "Color Harmony" and "Color Effects."
Fig 3. - C.V. #5, Thumbnail Examples
In a visitor's first fleeting moment, it is color that helps a viewer's brain make sense of a site's layout and content. "Harmony can be defined as a pleasing arrangement of parts, whether it be music, poetry, color, or even an ice cream sundae...The goal is to achieve balance...(which is) a mid-point between monotonous and chaotic...the human brain will reject under-stimulating information as well as that it cannot organize...Color harmony delivers a sense of order." [Source: Color Vooodoo #5, pg. 34.] Again, thumbnail examples illustrate harmonies that are monotonous, chaotic, dynamic and subtle. Written guidelines describe the development process for dynamic, subtle and Web site color selections, while the accompanying thumbnails guide the reader visually. Each of seven color harmony diagrams is fully illustrated by color wheel mapping, swatches of representative combinations, and Web page prototypes in both dynamic and subtle harmony versions. Navigation to compare possibilities is quick and easy using the back links provided.
The third section of the book details color effects in terms of substance and surface, color interaction, area and quantity, and movement. Color is relative to its context, whatever its form or shape, and the colors and surfaces with which it is interacting. Even the color wheel can be adeptly used as a 3D element, as at the 3D Gate Gallery . Understanding color effects allows a Web developer to use them to advantage. Surfaces may reflect or diffuse light, enhancing or disrupting harmony. Illustrations of color theories of Michel Chevreul, Wilhelm von Berzold, Josef Albers, and Johannes Itten show how the relationships of values and saturations and the warmth or coolness of hues changes our perception of a color, providing Web designers with insights on how their site's colors may shift with unexpected and unintended results. The area a color occupies alters the effects of a design, as does the quantity of a color and its dispersion. Colors move differently; knowing how allows a developer to control the viewer's focal point. Color, shape, placement and weight all affect movement.
As Web developers we may sometimes wish for a magic wand. The Color Voodoo series isn't magic, though it quickly carries Web developers a long way toward effective color considerations in site design.
About the author of Color Voodoo:
In addition to authoring color books, Jill Morton is the director of Colorcom. Colorcom has provided consultation for multi-national companies such as Kodak and Nokia Mobile Phones, as well as prominent regional businesses such as Computer Dynamics of Texas, Maui Divers of Honolulu, Chi Chi's Restaurant, Ewa Plantation Historical Restoration, and many others. You can reach Jill at her Web site: www.colormatters.com, a resource on global color research.
About the reviewer:
Maura "Chip" Yost's interest in computers began when she received a Commodore 64 for Christmas, which at the time she considered the electronic equivalent of a lump of coal. She worked for over 11 years as an employment specialist and workshop presenter, and holds an advanced degree in training. You can reach Chip at: email@example.com. This is Chip's 3rd open publishing article for WebReference.
Comments are welcome.
By Maura "Chip" Yost and
Created: April 5, 2000
Revised: April 6, 2000