Tag Archives: hues

Properly Defining Color: Webster’s Dictionary and the Science of Color

Color is one of the hardest things to properly define. Most people do it by using comparatives such as “sunset orange,” “sky blue,” and “jade green”. But Webster’s Dictionary, wanting to be as direct and precise as possible, actually hired a color scientist to assist with color definitions for its Second Edition.

Isaac H. Godlove, who was chief color consultant for Webster’s from 1921 until 1935, had excellent credentials for the job. He was the chairman of the Committee of Measurement and Specification of the Inter-Society Color Council, a member of the Colorimetry Committee of the Optical Society, and director of the Munsell Research Laboratory, which created the Munsell Color Company, formed specifically to standardize colors.

Dr. Godlove created a system of defining colors by hue, saturation, and brilliance. Hue was the color itself, such as red or yellow; saturation described how the color looked under certain lighting conditions; brilliance (also known as brightness) was measured by how close it was to white. He defined ‘cherry’ as “a bright-red color; a color, yellowish-red in hue, of very high saturation and medium brilliance.” The entry for color is three columns long and includes graphs and two color plates.

Pleased with and even awed by his work, Webster’s editors called Godlove in to work on color definitions for the Third Edition. In the intervening years between the two editions, color names had become increasingly standardized. Popular use of these names had even been analyzed in mass-marketing campaigns, and their findings were to be incorporated into the new edition.

The Third Edition contained comprehensive color plates as well as an entire page dedicated to explaining the color charts and the descriptive names of each hue. There was even a five-page dye chart! Other additions and changes included:

  • Color definitions were now relational: each one was now something “more or less of” another. There were no more formulaic descriptions of a color’s hue, saturation, and brilliance.
  • Color names were defined by so-called ‘color specialists’ from retail giants Sears Roebuck and Montgomery Ward. This resulted in consumer-style definitions such as ‘Cerise’: a moderate red that is slightly darker than claret (sense 3a), slightly lighter than Harvard crimson (sense 1), very slightly bluer and duller than average strawberry (sense 2a), and bluer and very slightly lighter than Turkey red.

In retrospect, the Third Edition took the ‘color as science’ concept too far. These definitions are too full-blown and subjective to make sense to the average person, except for ‘light blue’, ‘pale green’, or, in the cerise example ‘moderate red’. Accordingly, they were demystified and translated into simpler language in future editions: today, Webster’s defines the color blue as ‘the color of the sky’.

When Webster’s original 1847 edition was being revised during the 1850s, colors were more simply defined. Red was blood. Green was fresh grass. Those are descriptions we can easily relate to today, over 150 years later.

Science is an amazing and liberating field, but when it comes to describing the raw beauty of color, it seems simplicity is all we need.

Read more Segmation blog posts about art and color:

Color Advances Science

Art Illuminates Science

The Psychology of Color

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The Evolution of Crayola Crayon Colors

1c The Evolution of Crayola Crayon ColorsIf you explore colors at Crayola.com you are greeted by a display of pixilated colors, but the varying shades of red, orange, yellow, green, blue and purple only tell half the story. Today, there are over 120 Crayola crayon colors. This is a far cry from the eight colors Binney & Smith first presented in 1903.

Many of us agree that color seems to be one of life’s constants. Crayola might agree, arguing that their colorful crayons don’t change; they multiply.

In fact, after evaluating the evolution of Crayola colors between 1903 and 2010, it appears that Crayola crayon colors grow 2.56 percent each year. According to artist/scientist Stephen Von Worley’s blog, datapointed.net, this means Crayola crayon colors double every 28 years. Therefore, 120 colors today may mean 330 shades in 2050. To this, Worley says, “…Crayola’s gonna need a bigger box…”

This may bring up the question, might we discover more colors?

It may be possible to answer this question by tracing the Crayola crayon collection back to its roots. The original eight colors were known as hues. Hues are pure colors. If white is added to hues, a new family of color is born. These colors are known as tints. When gray is added to hues, the newly produced colors are known as tones. Adding black to hues creates shades. In calculating the amount of colors that derive from hues, tints, tones and shades we have 32 colors, which is only half of Crayola’s “Big Box.”

1a The Evolution of Crayola Crayon ColorsLooking at the chart posted on datapointed.net, Crayola Color Chart, 1903-2010, it is evident that Crayola colors go far beyond mixing white, gray, and black with pure colors. Crayola mixes colors with colors to create crayons like “Lavender Lollipop Violet,” “Mountain Meadow,” and “Red Orange.” They even have two shades titled, “Blue Green” and “Green Blue.” Ironically enough, these are two completely different crayons.

However, Crayola also discontinues crayon colors. Some of the recent retirees include, “magic mint” and “orange red.”

In recent years, Crayola has led the innovation of colors with collections like “Multicultural,” which includes skin tone shades that match many ethnicities. They also boast metallic, gel, and glitter collections.

Crayola is known to think outside the box when it comes to research and development. Therefore, it is hard to say they’ve found every color under the sun. This company is in the color creation business. We might have to wait until 2050 to see just how many more colors they create.

Read more Segmation blog posts about art

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The Evolution of Artists’ Colors

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Hues, Tints, Tones and Shades – What’s the Difference?

Who Creates Color TrendsLet’s face the facts: we can easily take color for granted. Even when we are enjoying the brilliant hues of nature and the masterful shades in paintings, it is hard to be fully aware of the colorful intricacies we are taking in.

Case in point: do you know the difference between hues, tints, tones and shades?

To some, it comes as a shock to learn that these colorful qualities make up multiple tiers of the color wheel.

Basic and Intricate Elements of the Color Wheel

At first glance, the color wheel is a tool that guides us in using primary, secondary and complementary colors. But it also does much more than this. It describes analogous colors (any three colors that sit side by side), split complementary colors (which considers the two colors adjacent to a complimentary hue), and tetradic colors (a group of four colors, made up of two complimentary colors).

Beyond defining aesthetic color combinations, the color wheel also offers a good starting point from which tints, tones and shades can be properly identified.

The color wheel at its most basic form is made up of 12 hues. Hues are pure colors. When white is added to hues, they lighten and become known as tints. When gray is added to hues, they dim and become known as tones. When black is added to hues, they darken and become shades.

This excellent image, compliments of lifehacker.com, shows the many levels of the color wheel:

Learn the Basics of Color Theory to Know What Looks Good

Using Hues, Tints, Tones and Shades

Different tiers of the color wheel come in handy when decorating, designing graphics, deciding on outfits or preparing works of art. For instance, matching a hue with its complementary shade can make for a dynamic combination. Sometimes, people find hues to be strong and bold. They may prefer light, more whimsical tints or are drawn to the calmer depths of shades.

More so, it can be nice to use one hue and its tints, shades and tones. This creates a monotone chromatic color scheme. In the same vein, a monotone achromatic color scheme uses all variations of neutral colors and can be brought to life with a brilliant hue.

Did you know the color wheel was so intricate? To learn more about the differences between hues, tints, tones and shades, as well as learn how to pick the best looking combinations for your wardrobe, home décors and art projects, check out this blog post: http://lifehacker.com/learn-the-basics-of-color-theory-to-know-what-looks-goo-1608972072.

There is so much to learn about the color wheel, but the most important thing to know is it won’t steer you wrong.

Read more Segmation blog posts about color theory:

Basic Color Theory – Color Matters

Color Theory Basics: The Color Wheel

How Well Do You Know The Color Wheel?

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A Color Manual Ahead of its Time

271 Years Before Pantone, an Artist Mixed and Described Every Color Imaginable in an 800 Page Book watercolor history color books Before technology made color automatic, creating the perfect hue required a rather systematic approach.

Prior to the days of RGB values and hexadecimal strings, humans used creative means to create color options. Depending on the medium, artists might have mixed paints and in some cases, added water to achieve lighter tones.

A Brief History of Watercolor

The concept of watercolor may be as old as time itself but it didn’t become a well-known, consistent art medium until the Renaissance.

Albrecht Dürer was considered the father of the trade. He was a German painter who had much influence throughout Europe in the 16th century. Often times, Dürer chose to use watercolor when bringing landscape settings to life.

In an age when art was held with high value, watercolor quickly became a popular art medium. It became so popular, that in 1692, during the Golden Age of Dutch Painting, a man by the name of A. Boogert wrote an 800 page color manual, by hand.

A Medieval Color Manual

271 Years Before Pantone, an Artist Mixed and Described Every Color Imaginable in an 800 Page Book watercolor history color books Predating Pantone (the modern-day authority on color) by nearly 300 years, Boogert compiled a comprehensive account of how to achieve different colors when adding water to paint. He explained how using one, two or three parts water would create three varying tones of the same hue. He organized each page by meticulously positioning varying shades of the same color.

This book was recently brought to light by medieval book historian, Erick Kwakkel. He noted that another scholar knew of the book’s existence and he only gave it a platform in the limelight because of his personal notoriety.

Ancient Art Trumps Modern Convenience

Regardless of how it came to the world’s attention, the book entitled, Traité des couleurs servant à la peinture à l’eau, is causing art enthusiasts to take note. While the concept of the book does not seem groundbreaking, it is causing a multitude of 21st century RGB-HEX artists to imagine the painstaking amount of work and attention that went into deciphering and mixing hundreds of hues.

271 Years Before Pantone, an Artist Mixed and Described Every Color Imaginable in an 800 Page Book watercolor history color books It would be nice to say that this book greatly contributed to how we use color today. In reality, the book was collecting dust before Kwakkel came across it a few weeks ago in a French database. Even though the book may have been the “most informative color guide of its time,” it was not widely distributed. Since the book was written by hand it has been assumed that the manual never made it into wide circulation.

Nevertheless, A. Boogert’s color manual recently made a splash. Upon its unearthing, much of the art community paused and shared thoughts about what it would be like to mix colors without technology.

Read more Segmation blog posts about historic art.

Color Symbolism in Medieval Christian Art

Art in Ancient Egypt

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What Color Should You Paint Your Home?

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The color a person chooses to paint their home reveals a lot about them. For example, a cream colored house may represent a more traditional family. On the other hand, a house that is painted a bright lime green would indicate owners who are more radical. What color is your home? Is it time to make a color change?

What home colors do you admire?

When considering a new shade of paint for your house, the first things you’ll want to take into consideration are the homes that you love. Take a drive through your favorite neighborhoods and snap photos of your “dream” homes. Ask yourself what home color combinations you admire and would like to have for your own house.

What do you want your home to convey?

When choosing a new color for your house, you may want to ask yourself what you want your home to convey. In other words, what do you want your house to say about you or your family? If you are very traditional, perhaps colors such as beige, cream, and eggshell would be good choices. If you are more out-of-the-box, consider colors such as pink, yellow, red, and brighter shades of traditional hues.

Blue – the “color of the year” for 2013.

Apparently, blue is the “color of the year” for 2013. This shade may be a perfect choice for someone who loves to follow trends. Blue would also work for families who simply love the color or want to give their home a beach cottage feel.

How to decide on a paint color for the exterior of your home

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Once you have an idea of the exterior home colors/color combinations you like, buy a small amount of the paint shades and give them a try. Once you have a chance to see these colors on your house during all times of the day,you will begin to have an idea of the color you will ultimately choose.

Your home should be a place where you can be yourself. Color really impacts how you feel about your home – that’s why it’s important that interior and exterior paint shades are chosen with care. Have fun choosing paint colors that will revitalize both you and your house.

Sources:

http://www.nbcnews.com/business/blue-you-how-choose-paint-color-your-house-1C7500194

Coming soon: Read Segmation’s exciting article about Artspace, an online fine arts marketplace that may be on its way to becoming the next amazon.com!

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Perspectives on Color

We often talk about linear perspective — the way the shape and appearance of an object changes with distance — but the phenomenon known as color perspective is equally important. Also known as “aerial perspective,” it deals with the way that distance and interference from the air alters colors in landscapes, backgrounds, and other elements of a painting.

How are colors changed by distance? Most hues begin to look more blue as they get further away. Even reds, oranges, and yellows lose vibrancy and become lighter and hazier due to the volume of air between the viewer and the object. A brightly colored object will seem just as bright in contrast to nearby items, even if it is far away – but it will look a whole lot less bright in comparison to something closer to the viewer.

Weather also impacts color perspective by altering hues slightly. Cloudy conditions, sunrise, and sunset all affect the way colors appear, and an experienced artist knows to take that into account rather than painting every object as if it was near and in full sunlight.

Considering color perspective means thinking about the assumptions we make in our art. If a house is red or a tree’s leaves are green, those colors aren’t constant; they change with distance, weather, and the quality of light at a given time of day – all things that an artist needs to think about when painting for realism.

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