We started by discussing the way we cannot be certain that everyone understands colour in the same way, it is something that is a mix of social conditioning and physical detection of colour. Colour can effect the legibility and readability of type because of the way our eyes perceive them. colour cannot be simply defined by a colour wheel, a much more complex system of chromatic values is needed. This depends on the physical existence of the coloured objects, the physiological collection of this information and the psychological effects applied to it. The physiological is the focus of this workshop.
The lens of the eye splits the light it absorbed into its component colours which are then read by the rods and cones on the retina. The rods sense shades of grey while the cones perceive colour. there are three different types of cones; red/orange, green and blue. It is the combination of these receptors that allow us to perceive the spectrum of colours we see. The way that individuals perceive colour varies greatly and as designers we must allow for this.
Systems have been created to break down this mass of colour and our starting point for this comes from the physical mixing of pigment creating primary, secondary and tertiary colours. However, when considering light the primary and secondary colours vary according the the receptors on our retina (red, green and blue). Complimentary colours are found opposite one another on the physical colour wheel and by icing complimentary colours a neutral tone is achieved because as opposites they cancel one another out. The physical and spectral colour ranges can be pinned down by the terms RGB and CMYK, one for screen and one for printing. Although different the two are clearly and inherently linked by the fact that RGB are the secondary colours of CMYK. Pigment colour is subtractive because the more you mix them the more neutral they become (as was demonstrated by the complimentary colours) and additive colour is light because as you split light the more colours you get.
To help us understand this we were asked to order the things we had brought in for the session blending from one to the next. We found that colour was instinctive and comparative because colours interfered with one another.
This proved a problematic exercise because colour is often subjective and driven by perception and psychology. We found that colour has three dimensions; hue tone and saturation. Colour can be defined as a three diminutional area with the individual colours coordinates within this located by tone, hue and saturation. Hue is the descriptor it is given, red for example and includes its brightness and intensity. Within the bounds of hue the terms tint and shade are used for the darker and lighter values. Saturation is the purity of a colour and is a mix of hue and tone. Tone is the luminescence of the colour.
We found that mixing colours and placing them in close proximity can recalibrate the eye, showing that the way we perceive colour depends hugely on context. Something as simple as reducing a light source effects the shade of a colour. the pantone colour system allows the maximum control of colour possible.
e were then asked to select the purest shade of the colour we have been allocated, the stage at which it faded to the colours either side of it on the spectrum and the darkest and lightest samples. Our findings are below along with the pantone matches we found.