Prof. Elio L. Arteaga VIC 3002—Visual Design for

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Prof. Elio L. Arteaga VIC 3002—Visual Design for Powered By Docstoc
					Prof. Elio L. Arteaga
VIC 3002—Visual Design for Media
Module 3 Lecture Notes
Color Psychology

If you haven’t already done so, please visit Maria Claudia Cortes’s excellent presentation,
called Color in Motion, by going to http://www.mariaclaudiacortes.com then come back
and read the rest of these lecture notes.

Cortes makes some important points about red in her presentation—it’s a color associated
with warning or danger. Red is a very attention-getting color. As human beings, our eyes
are programmed to go to the color red—the color of fire and of blood—to survive. That’s
why traffic control devices (traffic lights, stop signs, cars’ tail lights, etc.) are red.
Likewise, fire engines and hydrants are red to command attention. If you want to draw
viewers’ attention to a headline advertising a sale, set it in red. A red rose signifies love
and passion. A red Ferrari is a stylish and sexy car.

Contrast means difference. Color contrast refers to colors that are very different, used
together to command attention. The Constructivist artists in 1920s Russia (Aleksandr
Rodchenko, El Lissitzky and others) experimented by developing high-contrast patterns
of colors—black and white are the colors with the highest contrast, as black is the darkest
color and white is the lightest. But red is the only color that is strong enough to contrast
against both black and white.

Listed below are some of the concepts symbolically attached to colors as identified by my
students from previous semesters. If you can think of any others, please contribute them
in a discussion form.

Black—sophisticated, stylish, formal, mysterious, the color of mourning, high-tech, high-
      contrast (against white and red), elegant.

White—simple, high-tech (as in Apple’s iPods), pure, innocent, the color of mourning (in
      Japan), clean, unblemished, untouched.

Gray—dull, ambiguous, depressing, noncommittal, businesslike.

Warm colors remind us of fire (red, orange, yellow) and appear to advance (come
      forward) in a visual composition. Cool colors remind us of water (blue, green,
      aqua) and appear to recede (go backward).

Saturated colors are vibrant and intense. Their opposite are pastel colors, which are soft
       and muted.

Earth-tones (browns and beiges)—natural.
Pink (a lighter tint of red)—girly, sweet, innocent, youthful, bubble gum, sexy (although
        some students did not agree with this; red or black can be sexy lingerie colors, but
        pink is sweeter and more innocent).

Metallic colors (gold, silver, bronze, copper)—prestigious.

				
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