Color Theory and Beyond
November 8, 2006 8:57 AM   Subscribe

Color Theory and Beyond: Recommend me a good book or references on color theory, including optical effects and concerns beyond just basics like complimentary, analagous, etc? (Expanding on this thread.)

I'd like a good book that not only explains the concepts but refers to works of art that exemplify the concepts as well.

I'd also like to create my own poster-sized reference chart that includes the BEST example of a common color wheel (so I'm looking for that) and a few illustrations of common effects, optical illusions, use of warm vs cool, color generating depth and dimension, and general tricks-of-the-trade/etc.

posted by Shane to Media & Arts (14 answers total) 11 users marked this as a favorite
shane, see my question for some help
posted by yonation at 9:00 AM on November 8, 2006

Arnheim's Art and Visual Perception is an excellent reference book although it deals with many optical effects, not just color.
posted by JJ86 at 9:47 AM on November 8, 2006

Josef Albers: Interaction of Color
posted by jdroth at 10:00 AM on November 8, 2006

don't really know if this is what you are looking for...
Pantone Guide to Communication with Color by Leatrice Eiseman
Color Index by Jim Krause
Graphic Designer's Color Handbook
Color: A Natural History of the Palette by Victoria Finlay

I also have a list of links that have to do with color. I can email them to you if you want.
posted by nimsey lou at 10:21 AM on November 8, 2006

Color Science may be relevant, depending on exactly what you are doing. It may offer more details about certain things than you need, though.
posted by epugachev at 11:06 AM on November 8, 2006

I don't know who these guys are but this site has a ton of information at various levels of technicality on color mixing, color vision, and other related stuff.
posted by aubilenon at 11:10 AM on November 8, 2006

Response by poster: Thanks, all!

Who is that artist, the guy who's a WHIZ at color theory and does abstract designs that just... mess with you because of the color interactions? His paintings range from just REALLY compelling to downright optical illusions, and he does it all with an incredible (and innovative, of course) understanding of color.

That's partially the kind of knowledge I'm looking for, kinda like:

[Such-and-such color scheme] makes the square look so much smaller than it really is... [Such-and-such color scheme] makes the triangle [recede/pop out in your face/shimmer/whatever], etc...
posted by Shane at 11:39 AM on November 8, 2006

There's an interesting article in a recent American Scientist. You might check out some of the titles in the bibliography. You should be able to find the magazine at a decent public or university library.
posted by sevenless at 12:01 PM on November 8, 2006

Response by poster: Whoa. Not whom I was thinking of, but cool.
posted by Shane at 1:19 PM on November 8, 2006 [1 favorite]

Stephen Quiller has a good book on this. It's describing his own theory, so it's not a totally neutral reference work, but still very interesting.
posted by LobsterMitten at 9:06 PM on November 8, 2006

josef albers "interaction of color" and johannes itten "the art of color" are the two definitive texts on color theory.

The itten one is packed not only with color squares, but also actual artwork that demonstrates the concepts described. it comes at a real premium though - i think the cover price is something like $100.

The albers book is cheap (sub-$20, if i remember correctly), but doesn't have any color plates. It's all text.
posted by chrisege at 6:54 AM on November 9, 2006 [1 favorite]

I got my copy of Albers for $4.50 at a used book store. It has a few (not many) color plates.
posted by jdroth at 2:58 PM on November 9, 2006

I just saw this crash course on color theory on digg or someplace; it might be just what you are looking for.
posted by caddis at 1:39 PM on November 10, 2006

Another one. The tubes are stuffed with this stuff all of a sudden.
posted by caddis at 4:17 PM on November 11, 2006

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