Obsessed with Color and Line

Obsessed with Color and Line

I’m in the beginning of the third week of school and starting to get the routine down (allowing me to blog again). I must say, I knew I was going to enjoy my Digital Design class but couldn’t have fathomed the extent. 

We have been learning about color, which I find to be the absolute foundation of photography.  I’m not talking about today’s modified definition of the word, taking pictures with a digital camera and adjusting them in photoshop.  I mean the literal meaning of the word, the study of light, that original photographer’s needed to understand when capturing images on a daguerreotype or wet plate (collodion style) and process in a dark room.

Without light, there would be no color.  Color is light. The sun’s rays, our main, strongest source of light is seen as white but truly consists of the ROYGBV (red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and violet).  Sir Isaac Newton proved this theory using two prisms to separate the colors.  (I found that fascinating so I have been experimenting myself, see photo below.)


As kids, we were taught our primary colors, secondary colors, and tertiary colors.  We then learned about complimentary colors and so forth.  But never has it been explained so well that I recognized the intentional usage and power in design elements surrounding me.  Such as, football team themes consist of lots of reds and oranges to complement the green field.  Villians typically wear contrasting colors of the hero (Nemo is orange to complement the ocean blue, while Darla is red and green).  This is all by design, not coincidence.

Color drives emotion and behaviors, which is why marketing techniques rely heavily on its usage.  I already knew of this concept, but not to the level that we are learning in class.  For example, red, orange, and yellow aid in digestion, which is the reason behind most  restaurants/food items incorporating at least one of these colors in their logos/branding.   Ex/ MacDonald’s, Chick-fil-a, Wendy’s, Burger King, Subway, Sonic, Arby’s,   (Try to think of one that doesn’t).


Even more important than color (hue) is the value (shade) and how it is used to create contrast or ‘line’.   Much like reading, everyone looks at a design starting from the top left corner, moving down and to the right.  Effective use of contrast and line can actually control the eye of the viewer, navigating them on an intentionally created path.

This leads to my first real assignment in class: to create a design in Adobe Illustrator that portrays a sense of warmth/hot using basic shapes and lines.  [I’ve decided to take it a step further by including the elements of contrast and line to force the viewer’s eye where I want it to go.]  It was assigned yesterday and is due tomorrow at 4:30 p.m., which doesn’t give me much time.  Therefore, I’m brainstorming the hottest things (sun bursts, fire, hot asphalt, volcano, molten lava, bursting thermometer) that I can resemble with basic shapes using hot colors (red, orange, yellow, black, grey, white, or hot pink).  Stay tuned for the results later this week!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s