WebRef: E-Book Review: Color Voodoo: Tools for Designers | WebReference

WebRef: E-Book Review: Color Voodoo: Tools for Designers


Tools for Designers

E-Book Review: Color Voodoo

Jill Morton's Color Voodoo series is electronically published in Adobe Acrobat PDF format, so a reader views illustrations in the same color gamut used on the Web. Using the PDF format also meant that the series could be very liberally illustrated without regard to cost constraints. Ample swatches and large thumbnails (>3.5" x 3") insure accurate representative color samples.

Color Voodoo 1 Swatch
Fig. 1 - C.V. #1 Sample Color Swatch

The books in the Color Voodoo series provide the tools developers can use to readily enhance a client's Web presentation. The first book, A Guide to Color Symbolism, describes the color categories in terms of timeless and timely symbolism, references in nature, psychological symbolism (both positive and negative associations), contemporary culture, religious, historical/political, fashion, OSHA coding, optical/physiology, and other cultures. (The color symbolism is based primarily on Western culture.) The layout allows a designer to avoid unpleasant surprises and costly rework by quickly reviewing the symbolism of contemplated color choices.

A listing of color idioms follows the categories of color symbolism. Many of the idioms reflect the general psychological symbolism of specific colors, so they can be both a verbal reminder of a color's symbolism as well as tacit evidence of the power of color in communication. Individual color swatches follow for each color, labeled with RGB formulas, HEX code and symbolism. The colors are grouped into red, purple, blue, green, yellow, orange, brown, black, white and gray, all arranged in chromatic order. Groupings include a light, medium, dark, bright and muted version of the each color. Terms are defined both verbally and visually.

Color Voodoo #3 Example
Fig 2. - C.V. #3 Color Combination Example

Book #3, 50 Symbolic Color Schemes, applies color symbolism to create color schemes that convey meanings such as appetizing, dynamic, expensive, high quality, intelligent, joyous and so on. The color schemes are conservative rather than trendy interpretations of symbolic concepts. "The color combinations presented in this publication go one step further. In addition to the symbolic meaning, the color schemes represent balanced harmonies, good combinations of colors that will successfully communicate the symbolic meaning." [Source: Color Voodoo #3, pg. 12.] Each color scheme is specified in RGB and HEX code. Other sections of the second book describe color harmony, computer colors, color models, and design applications.

Color combinations communicate more powerfully than a single color. It's critical to remember that the symbolism of a single color may be different when it is combined with another color. That's why haphazardly selecting a color combination based on color connotations may be gaudy at best and ineffective at worst. Harmony is pleasing to the eye. Uncoordinated combinations are chaotic and confusing for the eye to interpret; those that are too similar are monotonous and boring. "Successful color schemes require a balance of light and dark, vivid and muted colors." [Source: Color Voodoo #3 pg. 4.] Often a cool color accent is needed to offset a primarily warm scheme, or vice versa

Next: Color Logic


Comments are welcome.

By Maura "Chip" Yost and

Created: April 5, 2000
Revised: April 6, 2000

URL: http://webreference.com/authoring/graphics/color/voodoo/2.html