1

Images with lighter palettes tend to be brighter and less saturated (though driving colors towards white desaturates them), while those with heavy palettes tend to be darker and more saturated (though driving colors towards black desaturates them).

2

Brighter less saturated colors seem lighter, while darker more saturated colors seem heavier.

3

Colors can be matched or contrasted by weight to control visual dynamics. Here yellow and blue are matched in weight.

Many psychological attributes have been assigned to color, such as temperature. It’s so natural to think of color having temperature that we often don’t think about how this is an associative meaning rather than a physical fact. Physically a blue fire is much hotter than a red fire. Nonetheless, red is universally (in all cultures and periods of history) considered the warmest color and blue the coolest color. It’s quite likely that this comes from our experiences with fire (generally red, orange, and yellow) and water (typically blue in large quantities). You might think the ascription of temperature to color is particularly strong for photographers who assign white balances to their images based on the color temperature of the light a photograph was made from to reproduce color accurately. But, it’s equally strong with painters and designers who use temperature associations to create expressive color schemes.

One other useful psychological attribution to color is weight. Does yellow feel lighter than green? Does purple feel heavier than orange? Most people would say yes. Of course, our response depends on the specific variation of each broad color family. You can make a green seem lighter than yellow if you make it brighter, either with luminosity or saturation or both.

So how can you use this information? Here are four ways.

1            You can strengthen comparisons or contrasts between two image areas by making their relative weights appear more or less similar.

2            You can also set the tone for an entire image. Set a brighter airier tone by using lighter colors. Set a darker earthier tone by using heavier colors.

3            You can attract the eye more strongly to specific areas. Once a predominantly light or heavy palette has been set, you can accent it dramatically with smaller accents of contrastingly weighty colors.

4            You can create comparatively lighter and heavier palettes for specific areas of an image, such as a lighter color scheme for higher areas and a heavier color scheme for lower areas.

It’s useful to note that weight is also associated with gravity and thus vertical location.

That the word ‘light’ can be used to describe both the appearance and the mass of an image speaks volumes. Psychologically, color has weight. With only a little practice and more sensitivity, you can use this to make your images more effective.

Exercise

Sensitize yourself to the weight of color by matching the weight of colors.

1               Create two or more colors. Match the weight of two colors from the same color family, such as blue.

2               Create two or more colors. Match the weight of two colors from different color families, such as blue and yellow.

Read more about color theory here.

Learn more in my digital photography and digital printing workshops.

I Love Color

April 6, 2012 | 1 Comment |

I love color. I love it because it’s exciting and energizing. I love it because it’s physical and sensual. I love it because it’s emotional and expressive. I love it because it’s interesting – scientifically, historically, socially, psychologically.  I love color because you can look at it literally, abstractly, or symbolically. I love color because it has a rich history and diverse cultures and people have done such different things with it, but somehow I can connect with most of the things they’ve done with it, even if I don’t have the same culture or language. I love color because it’s a language that we can all do so much with.

Do you love color too?

What will you do with color today?

(Don’t think for a second that I don’t like black and white or gray; they’re some of my favorite colors!)

Read / view more on color theory here.

Read / view more on color psychology here.

An essential quality of color is temperature. Temperature can be used to attain a color balance. Temperature can be used to enhance spatial relationships within an image. Temperature can be used to elicit psychological responses within the viewer. Understanding and exploring the dynamics of temperature in color can benefit any visual artist.

There are physical characteristics of color linked to temperature. The color temperature of light (Kelvin degrees) is determined by measuring a black body radiator (an object heated so that it emits light). As the physical temperature of the object rises, color transitions from red (long wavelengths – low energy) to blue (short wavelengths – high energy) through ROYGBIV (red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, violet). When it comes to light sources, physically, blue is warmer than red.

There are also psychological qualities of color linked to temperature. Psychologically, blue is cooler than red. These associative qualities of color with regard to temperature are almost universally accepted. This is due in large part to our physical environment – water is blue, plants are green, sunshine is yellow, fire is red.

Using the qualities of one sense (touch) to describe the qualities of another (sight) can be a tenuous affair and may lead to ambiguity and confusion. The more precise a language is the more useful it is. The language of HSL (hue, saturation, luminosity) is a very precise language. When using the language of HSL, hue values mark a position measured in degrees on a color wheel. A circle has 360 degrees, so the scale is 0 – 359.

Read more

cymbolism
Find out what colors people associate with words.
For instance, a majority of voters associated the word God with white.
Choose a color for a word, then find out how other people voted.
Explore it here.

Check out my Color Psychology posts.

Learn more in my DVDs and Power of Color Workshop.

testcolorpsychtest

What does color reveal about your personality?
Find out here.

Take the Luscher Color Test and compare.

Check out my Color Psychology posts.

Learn more in my DVDs and Power of Color Workshop.

Luscher Color Test

September 29, 2009 | 6 Comments |

The Luscher Color Test was devised by psychologict Max Luscher in 1969. It’s effectiveness has been known in advertising and industry (automotive and fashion) for years. Now you can gain some pracitalc insight into color psychology with this well-known color test – online.

It’s uncanny what this test can reveal (consistently), but remember it’s just a starting point. What’s far more revealing is your unique living relationship with color, which is revealed over time and in a variety of contexts under many influences. Awareness is the key. Use this as food for thought for developing insight into your relationship with color.

Take the test here.

What did the test reveal for you?

Comment here!

Read my articles on color at Apple here.

Check out my free color downloads here.

Check out my color DVDs here.

Learn about color in my workshops here.

Check out my color sessions at PhotoShop World and PhotoPlus East.


Color Psychology

September 28, 2009 | 2 Comments |

I’m making a series of blog posts that briefly describes many of the classic responses to colors. This material will be repurposed in my ebooks, DVD, seminars, and workshops. Your responses here may be featured there – anonymously. I invite you to participate. All you have to do is comment. Write the first words or phrases that come to mind when you look at each color. Then see how similar or different they are from other readers’ responses.

For more on color psychology …

Read more

Black

September 28, 2009 | 10 Comments |

What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you see black?

Comment here!

Then read more and find other viewer’s responses.

Read more

Gray

September 28, 2009 | 10 Comments |

What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you see gray?
Comment here!
Then read more and find other viewer’s responses.
Read more

White

September 28, 2009 | 8 Comments |


What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you see white?
Comment here!
Then read more and find other viewer’s responses.
Read more


keep looking »

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