Section 1: Color Articles, Tutorials, Discussion Lists, Resources, Books, Software, and Hardware
The Articles, Tutorials, Discussion Lists, Resources, and Books on Color section includes quite a few helpful articles and tutorials about color, color theory, color for Web sites, color psychology, color meanings, color and design, and color deficiencies and color blindness. You'll also find resources to sites devoted to color, discussion lists, and recommended books on color, color management books, and color management software, hardware, and accessories.
On this page:
- Articles and Tutorials on Color
- Discussion Lists on Color
- Recommended Books on Color, Color Management, and Color Calibration Software and Hardware
Articles and Tutorials on Color
Articles and Tutorials on Color Theory, Color in General
See also Web Sites or Web Site Sections Devoted to Color, as there's lots of great information about the use of color.
- America's 50 Favorite Colors
Color chart showing America's current 50 favorite colors. Clicking a link takes you to personality traits associated with that color, history, music, and fun facts related to that color. [Article/tutorial by Crayola.]
- Color Forecast 2001: What Colors Will Shine Next?
The Color Association of the United States' (CAUS) forecast for 2001-2003. Includes: 1. the CAUS Color Palette 2001 for Interiors and Graphic Design (online and downloadable PDF), 2. Online and downloadable color wheels with instructions on color relationships and for using and blending colors. Good reference.
- Color, Contrast, and Dimension in News Design
Poynter.org has provided this fabulous online interactive tutorial about how to effectively use colors, including color mood and meaning, contrasts and dimension, and much more. Requires the Flash plugin. [Tutorial via Poynter Online. Hat tip: Wise-Women.org discussion list.]
- Make A Splash with Color
Tutorial all about color. Discusses hue, saturation, brightness, light and light sources, reflection, filters, how the eye sees colors, much more. Excellent. [Created by volunteers from Adobe Systems for this HyperTech exhibit.]
- Pantone Fashion Color Report Fall/Winter 2006/2007
New York fashion designers select the colors for their Fall/Winter 2006/2007 fashion designs that set the color trends everywhere. Download the PDF file, learn more here. [Article/tutorial dated 02/2006, Pantone. Hat tip: Inspiration and Perspiration, August 16, 2006, zeldman.com]
Articles, Tutorials on Color Management
Below are annotated links to well done, easy-to-understand articles, tutorials about color management, from introducing the basics to more detailed information for professionals. For managing color specifically with Adobe Photoshop, see Graphics Adobe Photoshop Color Management Tutorials here at WebsiteTips.com.
- Color Management and Color Science
A multi-tutorial series covering many aspects of color management. Topics: Introduction: Why?, The eye's response, Color science, Color management basics, Rendering intents, Summary; Implementation 1: Setup; Implementation 2: Workflow details; Obtaining and building profiles; Evaluating printer color and ICC profiles, and more. [Article/tutorial dated 2002-2004, by Norman Koren, Norman Koren Photography.]
- Color Management, Part 1: Concept and Overview
Introduction, definition of color management, color reproduction and the need for reference colors, color profiles, the International Color Consortium (ICC), color spaces, color management overview, conversion between two typical devices - a monitor and a printer, “profile connection space” (PCS), “working space,” “out-of-gamut colors,” “gamut mismatch,” color management module (CMM), “rendering intent,” and more. [Article/tutorial by Sean McHugh, Cambridge in Colour Digital Photography Tutorials.]
- Why Color Management? (PDF file)
A wonderful presentation on color management, formatted into a 55-page PDF document all about color management. Plenty of diagrams along the way to help explain and support all the information covered. Topics covered: Introduction to Color Management, Basics of Conversions, Color workflow issues, Conversion Glitches, Where do things go wrong?, A user's perspective — Some thoughts on a better way. Also covers Adobe Photoshop workflow and color management. Using Adobe Acrobat's thumbnail pages, you can quickly and easily skip to whatever page you wish. Each screen in the PDF file is a quick read, and the diagrams are excellent. [Article/tutorial by James C. King, A Principal Scientist, Advanced Technology Group (ATG), Adobe Systems Incorporated, for AcroTips.com.]
- Graphics Adobe Photoshop Color Management Tutorials here at WebsiteTips.com.
- Recommended Books on Color Management below.
- Recommended Color Management Software, Hardware, Accessories below.
Articles and Tutorials About Color for Web Sites
- Accurate Color on the Web
WebReview's helpful article by Joel Mattox and Derrick Story. Info about what Web designers face with huge color variances on the wide range of monitors and systems, new technologies to help improve color interpretation on the Web, tips for color management, and more information. [Article dated 08/06/1999. By Joel Mattox, Derrick Story for WebReview (now at ddj.com)]
- Characteristics of Web graphics
The Web Style Guide's section on Web graphics, which has extensive color information. Topics cover color displays, browser-safe colors, dither, gamma, screen resolution, and image file sizes. Top-notch information. [by Web Style Guide, 2nd Edition, 2002.]
- Choosing a Colour Scheme for the Web
Discusses various approaches to color schemes, color tools, more. The author describes personal preference of choosing 5 colors - “Three colours are complimentary, one is a contrast and one is a highlight.” Also covers Adobe Kuler online tool, managing swatches, and more. [Article/tutorial dated 11/22/2006, by Shape Shed - Journal.]
- Color, the Chameleon of the Web
Discussion of color instability on the Web and future trends. [Tutorial dated 2002, by J.L.Morton for Color Matters.]
- Color Design for the Web
Helpful tutorial on color for Web sites. Part of CoolHomePages Design Academy series. [By Vaishali Singh of CareerCommunity.Com Ltd for coolhomepages.com]
- Color FAQ (websafe colors)
VisiBone's excellent Q&A about web-safe colors. This one is a must read. It answers common questions about the websafe palette, colors for the color blind, Pantone, more. Excellent reference.
- Color My World
Insightful article by Molly Holzschlag for Web Techniques. Covers the role of color in our lives and what to consider for Web use. Includes cultural differences, color preferences between men and women, choosing color palettes. Includes examples, links to more info. [Article dated 09/2000. By Molly Holzschlag for new.architect, formerly Web Techniques]
- Death of the Websafe Color Palette?
Controversial Webmonkey article (September, 2000) about websafe colors and what's really going on. Note comments by Jeffrey Zeldman:“no, there's a 216-color 'Web safe' palette and that's all there is. 16-bit color is ALWAYS off due to mathematical conversion errors. webmonkey ran a big story some months back: 'Is the Web Safe Palette Dead?' i disagree with their conclusion. (i conclude that the palette is alive because it works for 48 of the audience. NOTHING works in 16-bit color. NOTHING.) otherwise it's a brilliant article.”
(from 2000-11-17 15:55, news at k10k.net, news from the k10k.net crew + special guests) [Article dated 09/06/2000 by David Lehn and Hadley Stern for Webmonkey.]
- Graphics and Images on the Web
A very helpful tutorial about optimizing images for the Web. Reviews image size, color depth, color online, choosing image formats for the Web, platform differences and gamma, and links to more information. Helpful tutorial. [by Catherine Hays, Univ. of Maryland, College of Arts and Humanities]
- Graphics and Palettes
Joe Gillespie's excellent discussion of the 216-color Web palette with palettes to download for use. [Article by Joe Gillespie, Web Page Design for Designers.]
- Is the Web Safe Palette really dead?
Article by Joe Gillespie that does a terrific job of explaining color palettes for the Web. [Article by Joe Gillespie, Web Page Design for Designers.]
Articles and Tutorials on Color Deficiencies and Color Blindness
- Color Blindness
Wikipedia's helpful encyclopedia entry includes information on design considerations for colorblindness, misconceptions about color deficiencies, and links to color blindness simulators and other tools to check your Web pages. Also covers prevalence, causes, diagnosis, treatment, and links to more Wikipedia entries related to color, color deficiencies, and color blindness. [Article via Wikipedia.org.]
- Color Deficient Vision
by VisiBone. Helpful and insightful information and examples that provide a simulation for deuteranopia using VisiBone's Web designer color card and charts. Also includes resources for more information about color deficiency and the Web. [Article by Bob Stein, VisiBone.]
- Color vision, color deficiency
by Diane Wilson, Firelily Designs. Helpful info here about light and vision, wavelength charts, photo samples. [Tutorial dated 2003. By Diane Wilson, Firelily Designs]
- Considering the Color-Blind
By Chuck Newman for WebTechniques. Good article about color blindness, issues to consider, shows example comparisons, more. Also discusses how to design Web pages for color blindness issues and explains how to simulate some of the color blindness issues using PaintShop Pro (could be done in Photoshop, too). Includes links to resources, too. [Article dated 08/2000. By Chuck Newman for WebTechniques (now new.architect).]
- What Is Colorblindness and the Different Types?
Explains types of color blindness, such as Protanomaly (red weakness), Deuteranomaly (green weakness), Dichromasy. [Article by Terrace L. Waggoner, O.D., Colorblind Web site]
Articles and Tutorials on Color Meanings, Color Psychology, and Color and Design
- Color's Pivotal Role in Color and Art
Excellent Overview of color theory with illustrations. [Via Color Matters.]
- Effective Color Contrast: Designing for People with Partial Sight and Color Deficiencies
Written by Aries Arditi, Ph.D., of Lighthouse International. Great information and illustrations discussing important considerations working with designs and color. [Article by Aries Arditi, Ph.D., Lighthouse International.]
- Psychology of Color: Do different colors affect your mood?
The basics about color psychology (U.S. color interpretations). Links to more articles about color, too. [Article by David Johnson, for Infoplease.com.]
- Satisfying Customers With Color, Shape, and Type
The role and impact of color, shape, and typography with choosing appropriate design for clients' sites. Helpful examples and insight. [By Molly Holzschlag for new.architect, formerly Web Techniques.]
- Setting the Mood with Color
Article about art as a form of expression and creating moods with colors. Examples included, links to more info. Requires Macromedia Shockwave plugin enabled to view some of the examples. [By Sean Glithero for the Encyclopedia of Educational Technology.]
- Winning Colors and Shapes For Your Company
Interesting article in the Weekly Guerilla, by Bill Gallagher, Ph.D. includes charts and descriptions for a variety of colors and shapes. [Article by Bill Gallagher, Ph.D. for Guerrilla Marketing International.]
Web Sites or Web Site Sections Devoted to Color
- All About Color
Pantone's Web site section includes tips and techniques, color articles, color direction and trends, color research and trends. [Pantone Web site.]
- Color Matters®
An entire Web site about color. Includes color and the brain, psychological issues, color in design, basic color theory, articles, a book about color issues, more.
Color Profiles - the psychological impact of a variety of colors (associations, positive and negative attributes to various colors, more). From Pantone. [Pantone Web site.]
- Color Symbolism: Using Colors to Convey Meaning May Backfire on a Web Site
Jennifer Kyrnin, About.com's Web Design Guide, covers a lot of ground with her section on color. Great color symbolism chart. You'll also find color studies and information, symbolism (culture, trends, age and experience, personal preferences). [Articles by Jennifer Kyrnin, About.com's Web Design Guide.]
- Color Theory and Practice
The annotated bibliography of selected readings is especially helpful. [Helpful information created by Carin Perron, writer2001.com.]
- Color Therapy
by Suza Scalora. A site all about color - color meaning, color picker, color meditation, photo gallery. Very well done. The color meaning section, for example, takes you on an interactive adventure exploring how you feel about various colors.
- Color Voodoo
Electronic publications about color (these aren't free, though, and must be purchased). Articles about color symbolism, color and Web design, more.
The Crayola company has a fabulous Web site on color. See their For Educators section packed with information about color, lesson plans, much more. See their ColorCensus section for articles and history about color, their crayons, and more. Lots to explore at the Crayola site. [Web site: Crayola.]
- International Color Consortium (ICC)
Organization to create, promote and encourage standardization of a vendor-neutral cross-platform color management.
- The Color Association of the United States (CAUS)
Official site for this well respected organization. Read color forecasting, articles, information for membership, purchase books and info.
Discussion Lists on Color
- Applied Color Theory in Photoshop
Excellent, active, helpful discussion list that discusses color. The list description states, “Discussion of color theory and curves based color correction in Photoshop ala Dan Margulis. Hosted by Sterling Ledet Associates, Inc. who offers Photoshop training with Dan across the U.S.” [List via Yahoo Groups.]
See also Discussion Lists, Online Forums, and Newsgroups for links to more on Web design and development topics.
Recommended Books on Color and Color Management, and Color Calibration Software, Hardware, Accessories
Books on Color
Many books on color aren't specific only to Web site design colors but they're immensely helpful, insightful, and inspirational. They've each been chosen for this list because they can help with learning more about color, how to use color effectively for Web sites, inspirational ideas for creative use of color, or all of these.
Do you have any recommendations, or do you have thoughts about books already included on this list? Please let us know!
- The Big Book of Color in Design
By David E. Carter. Published by Collins Design (November 9, 2004). Best-selling author, David E. Carter, has another winner with his Big Book of Color in Design. A prolific writer, Carter has produced over 100 books to date.
As reviewer David C. Parker states,
David Carter's Big Book of Color in Design is an important resource for both the design community as well as anyone interested in making the most of their marketing dollars. Although there are hundreds of graphic design books on the market, and only a rare few really are genuinely useful and worth the cost of acquiring them.Author's websites with more about his books: GraphicsBooks.org, LogoBooks.org, The David E. Carter Creativity Center & Museum.
The Big Book of Color in Design is different from similar volumes in that it not only offers numerous palettes (or combinations of colors that 'work' together to project a desired image, but the palettes are accompanied by large and easy to learn from illustrations of completed projects created with the palettes.
Because of the book's tight editing, large size, and quality reproduction, you can see at a glance how colors relate to image in theory as well as practice.
There's no 'theory' here; just genuinely useful examples. Carter's formula works better than many 'palette books' because often only the palettes are shown, not projects completed within them. Carter's mastery of color also comes through in his choices which are both restrained and appropriate.
A single book can never compensate for the lack of a design education, but Carter's book comes as close as any book can - and closer than most color books.
- Color Design Workbook: A Real-World Guide to Using Color in Graphic Design
By Noreen Morioka, Terry Stone, Sean Adams. Rockport Publishers (January 1, 2006). Rave reviews, beautifully done book on color. Illustrates color fundamentals from a real-world perspective, uses plenty of case studies, and is packed with expert insight and experience from these talented authors. Chapters cover the basics of color, color theory, color meanings, 'ten rules' of color, color systems, 'color talk,' and case studies. Reviewer MMB via Amazon.com states,
This book offers a great overview of color w/ practical uses in design. It covers consisely and clearly basic color concepts,theory, color meaning, and other useful advice and knowledge. It offers practical ways of looking at color through graphic design w/ case studies and showing lots of different work. The layout is fun, colorful and organized. This book should be recommeded on any design students reading list.
From the book's publisher:
Color Design Workbook invites readers to explore color through the language of professionals. As part of the Workbook series, this book aims to present readers with the fundamentals of graphic design. It supplies tips regarding how to talk to clients about color and using color in presentations. Background information on color such as certain cultural meanings is also included. Color Design Workbook breaks down color theory into straightforward terms, eliminating unintelligible jargon and showcases the work of top designers and the brilliant and inspiring use of color in their design work.
- Color Harmony Workbook: A Workbook and Guide to Creative Color Combinations
By Lisa Sawahata. Rockport Publishers (September 1, 2001). Rave reviews and continued good press on this book on color by Lisa Sawahata. Highly recommended. Chapters cover working with the color wheel, the facets of color, basic color schemes, creative color combinations, and color conversions. Also included are large, tear-out swatches, 1400 color combinations, and a color conversion chart for process colors.
From the book's publisher:
This workbook is a practical, visual guide that takes the guesswork out of choosing and using color combinations. Colors and color schemes are matched to specific moods, to help you select the best color combination for any design project, whether graphic design, interior design, crafts, or fine art. Large, tear-out swatches of each color combination let you mix, match, and test different hues in your designs. An essential tool for all who design with colors.
- The Complete Color Harmony: Expert Color Information for Professional Color Results
By Tina Sutton, Bride M Whelan. Rockport Publishers (February 1, 2004). This book helps build a solid foundation about color. Chapters cover the color wheel, how to use color, color charts, the process of choosing colors (clearly define the results you want to achieve, choose a main color, select a color scheme based on that main color, refine your choices). Other chapters cover basic cover schemes, special effects (metallic, fluorescent, and more), and moods and color (color psychology). Using this book you'll learn how to select and work with color, gain insight and understanding about color, and how to use it effectively. Highly recommended.
From the book's publisher:
This book expands upon the two previous editions for the most comprehensive color reference to date. Along with some basic color theory, the book provides hundreds of one, two, and three-color combinations selected to reflect a range of moods and adjectives.
This edition includes information on creating special effects using metallic and fluorescent color palettes, as well as an entirely new section devoted to the psychology of color. In What's Your Color, authors Tina Sutton and Bride M. Whelan help readers determine their best colors and suggests why some colors may inspire their creativity while others don't.The book also includes two new color palette sections reflecting black and white as the color base, along with an expanded and updated Color Trends section that discusses not only trends and how they are predicted but gives advice on how to be a trend spotter.
- The Pantone Guide to Communicating with Color
By Leatrice Eiseman. Published by North Light Books, September, 2000. This best-selling, beautiful, full-color, popular, and highly recommended book gives some basics on color theory; however, it also covers the meaning and psychology of colors and color combinations with plenty of examples. You'll find hundreds of pantone color combinations to consider using or to help with your inspiration. Great book for color ideas, inspiration, and as a color resource. The author's Web site: Leatrice Eiseman.
- The Color Answer Book: From the World's Leading Color Expert 100+ Frequently Asked Color Questions for Home, and Happiness
By Leatrice Eiseman. Published by Capital Books (VA), December, 2003. More than one hundred common questions are directly addressed, covering the best colors to wear, color and health, color in the workplace, garden, and much more. This beautifully done book with rich color photos and illustrations also explains the basics of color, human responses to color, and much more. You can learn a lot from this book about color to then apply to your color considerations for Web sites. The author's Web site: Leatrice Eiseman.
- ColorSmart: How to use Color to Enhance Your Business and Personal Life
By Mimi Cooper, with Arlene Matthews. Published by Pocket Books, July 1, 2000. ColorSmart explains in down-to-earth, easy-to-understand language how color impacts all of us and shows you how to use that information. It explains our unconscious reactions to color and goes into a good amount of detail about color meanings and responses to them (whether conscious or subconscious). You'll also learn about what colors to use for business presentations to create enthusiasm for your ideas, how to use color to sell a house at the best price, where the most popular colors of the moment really come from. This book can be helpful for considering colors for your Web site, including logo colors, upon which a Web site's colors are typically based. It's a fairly small paperback book, about 145 pages. While you won't find full color photos and illustrations like some of the other books on color, the content is packed with valuably helpful information and insight and is well worth checking out.
- The Color Star
By Johannes Itten. Published by Wiley, October 1, 1986. Another masterful book on color by Johannes Itten. Although it stands well on its own, it's especially valuable when used in conjunction with other books by Itten.
From the book:
Consisting of eight stencil-like disks that can be placed over ltten's color wheel to compare cool and warm values, complementary colors, and different hues and intensities, this useful and innovative tool helps designers explore a myriad of harmonious color.
- The Elements of Color
By Johannes Itten. Published by Wiley, January 31, 1970. One of the classics on color and popular literally throughout the entire world over thirty-five years after its initial publication date. Still sought after, still used in classrooms, too. Highly regarded book on color.
As reviewer Jim Kelley states,
Itten's analysis and application of color is thoughtful and scientific. As a practicing art director, I have successfully used the theories and methods explained in Elements of Color for over twenty years. I also teach them to my design classes. Whether you use a paintbrush or a mouse, his 'seven color contrasts' will prove invaluable.
- Real World Color Management, 2nd Edition
by Bruce Fraser, Chris Murphy, and Fred Bunting. Published by Peachpit Press; 2nd edition (September, 2004). Popular, highly regarded book on managing color. Easy to understand, incredibly thorough, and considered a must have reference.
From the publisher:
Every graphics professional worth his or her salt knows the importance of color management. No matter how much thought artist and client put into the color scheme for a given project, all of that work is for naught if you can't get your results to match your expectations. Enter Real World Color Management, Second Edition. In this thoroughly updated under-the-hood reference, authors Bruce Fraser, Chris Murphy, and Fred Bunting draw on their years of professional experience to show you everything you need to know about color management. Whether your final destination is print, Web, or film, Real World Color Management, Second Edition takes the mystery out of color management, covering everything from color theory and color models to understanding how devices interpret and display color. You'll find expert advice for building and fine-tuning color profiles for input and output devices (digital cameras and scanners, displays, printers, and more), selecting the right color management workflow, and managing color within and across major design applications. Get Real World Color Management, Second Edition—and get ready to dazzle!
See also the official Real World Color Management, Second Edition companion website.
For more short reviews and book recommendations on Web site-related topics, be sure to check out our Recommended Books section!
Color Management Books
Color Management Software, Hardware, Accessories
Related: Color Color Tools - Reference Charts, Swatches, Software, and More, where you'll find color charts at this site and elsewhere, color swatches, color scheme palettes, tools, and software, printed and online color charts and references, color deficiency simulators and related color testing tools, and more.
Color Management Accessories
Monitor, Printer, Scanner Calibration and Management Hardware, Software
Below are popular products by ColorVision, Gretag MacBeth, and Pantone listed by brand. Wondering which to choose? Wondering what the experts think about which is best? Try Color Management Shoot Out: ColorVision, GretagMacbeth, and X-Rite/Monaco Compared, by Edwin Leong of CameraHobby.com.