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Color Theory

Color is an integral part of our daily existence. Since birth, humans quickly develop the ability to see and interpret color. We are bathed in color throughout our day. We have warm colors, cool ones, autumn, and summer colors. Color is used to communicate warnings; it inspires us, soothes us, or can trigger fear.

Color is a prominent designer’s tool, the equivalent of a screwdriver to an electrician,. Instinctively, color can be used to communicate and direct the flow of information. Misused color can produce a negative effect. The most brilliant design for skin lotion would be lost when a photo’s skin tone displays a pale sickly green color.

How do we print expected color? Before we can produce color, accurate color must be created. Before accurate color is created, we must agree on “correct” color. Before we can agree, we must understand color.

What is color?

“Color is the perceived reflected gamma wavelength off an object’s colorant.”


Before the whole can be summarized, the parts need to be defined. We will be taking a dive in the component parts of color with a series of blog entries, including:

  • Visible light spectrum
  • Object’s colorants
  • Human eye
  • Properties of light
  • RGB/CMYK color space
  • Interpreting Blue
  • Concepts to Practice
  • Monitors
  • Color correction
  • Predicting color
  • Summation

In the coming articles, discussions will include:

  • Why is the sky blue?
  • Why are cyan and magenta used instead of red and blue?
  • What color is water?
  • What is the color of the Sun?
  • How will this information help me create color?
  • Neutral gray and Color standards
  • Rich blacks
  • What is John’s obsession with blue?
  • What does math have to do with creating color?
  • Why when I adjust my photo for too much red, I end up with a “jaundice” flesh tint?
  • How to accurately achieve color not just through but, with any provider?

While I personally dislike teaser blogs, to accurately dive into color we need multiple entries. In so doing, I will mold entries to cover in depth questions asked from previous posts. There may even be an Easter egg or two.

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