Color and Typography in Good Design

Color and Typography in Good Design


Typography is a significant issue for designers. On many projects, finding just the right font, size, spacing, etc. can require considerable time and attention. In addition to typography, color is also a major factor in the success of the design. What is sometimes overlooked is the combination of color and typography and the effect that it has on the overall project.

Font Size, Line Height & Contrast

Before we even get to the color and contrast elements of typography, we first should look at how dramatic a small font increase and line height increase can improve readability and reduce eye fatigue. The first example below uses 11pt font with matching 11pt line height. The second example uses 12pt font with 13pt line height. Example two is significantly easier to read.

Example 1: (11pt Font, 11pt Line Height)
The next moment a hideous, grinding speech, as of some monstrous machine running without oil, burst from the big telescreen at the end of the room. It was a noise that set one's teeth on edge and bristled the hair at the back of one's neck. The Hate had started.

(12pt Font, 13pt Line Height)
The next moment a hideous, grinding speech, as of some monstrous machine running without oil, burst from the big telescreen at the end of the room. It was a noise that set one's teeth on edge and bristled the hair at the back of one's neck. The Hate had started.

Even with well sized type and line heights, choosing a font color and background color with low contrast can make reading difficult and stresses the eyes of the reader.

(12pt Font, 13pt Line Height - Low Contrast)
The hallway smelt of boiled cabbage and old rag mats. At one end of it a coloured poster, too large for indoor display, had been tacked to the wall. It depicted simply an enormous face, more than a metre wide: the face of a man of about forty-five, with a heavy black moustache and ruggedly handsome features. Winston made for the stairs. It was no use trying the lift. Even at the best of times it was seldom working, and at present the electric current was cut off during daylight hours.

More Bad Contrast Examples:

Example 2: (12pt Font, 13pt Line Height - Low Contrast)
The hallway smelt of boiled cabbage and old rag mats. At one end of it a coloured poster, too large for indoor display, had been tacked to the wall. It depicted simply an enormous face, more than a metre wide: the face of a man of about forty-five, with a heavy black moustache and ruggedly handsome features. Winston made for the stairs. It was no use trying the lift. Even at the best of times it was seldom working, and at present the electric current was cut off during daylight hours.

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Hair Color: A History of Follicle Hue Adjusting

Hair Color: A History of Follicle Hue Adjusting


Hair color has long affected humans' social perception of each other, so it's no surprise that people have gone to great lengths to alter their hair color throughout history – from putting red earth in their hair to risking scalp burns from peroxide.

Natural Hair Colors

Two pigments give hair its natural color - eumelanin and pheomelanin. Eumelanin can be black or brown, and determines the darkness of hair color. Blonds have low concentrations of brown eumelanin, while brunettes have a high concentration of the pigment. Black hair contains more black eumelanin, while a low concentration of black eumelanin results in gray hair. The second type of pigment, pheomelanin, is red. Redheads, of course, have hair containing more pheomelanin than those with other hair colors; however, all human hair contains pheomelanin in varying concentrations.

Black Hair
By far the most common natural hair color, black hair occurs in people of all backgrounds and ethnicities.

Black Hair
by athena.

Brown Hair
Brown hair is also found all over the world, and is popularly associated with intelligence, trustworthiness, and success.

Brown Hair Color

Blond Hair
Natural blond hair is relatively rare, due to its association with recessive genes. It can range in color from pale platinum to a dark golden shade, and occurs in approximately 2% of the world population, with the majority of natural blonds being of European descent. Since early Christian times, blond hair has been associated with being angelic and youth. Today, it is also associated with glamour.

Natual Blonde Hair

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Color Science: Inventing New Colors?

Color Science: Inventing New Colors?


Is it humanly possible to invent a new color? Rochester Institute of Technology Professor Mark Fairchild says "yes"! In fact, he suggests that all observant people invent new colors at various times of their lives.

Dr. Fairchild explains: "As a color scientist, I think of colors as perceptions, that is things that we see. Of course those perceptions are not just caused by our brain (except when we are dreaming); they are caused by how our eyes and brain respond to the world around us. For color it is the light and objects that we are responding to. Most people would take this question to mean 'has anyone invented a light or object of a new color?' Personally, I have not, but I have invented new ways to understand and describe how we perceive and produce colors in places like the movies. Other people certainly have invented new materials that produce colors that people couldn't make before. Things like new paints, new inks, new kinds of televisions. That has happened often through the history of science. But, if we come back to color being a perception, then it is even easier to say that we invent new colors. I think we all do it quite often if we pay attention to the world around us. Have you ever had a time when you looked at something and it seemed like a totally new experience? Maybe a special rainbow, or a peculiar bird, or a strange way the light bounces around your room? If you have noticed a new experience like that, then I think you could say you have invented a new color. That is because color is truly a perception that is unique to you and any new color experiences could be considered 'inventions.' I like to just think of them as interesting parts of our world that make it fun to study science; in my case color science."

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Teardrops as Prisms of Color

Teardrops as Prisms of Color


Intense moments in life can bring tears of both joy and pain. There can also be tears of something that transcends bodily feelings and emotions. These are tears of realization, when a union of some sort transforms into communion, or a passion transforms into compassion. "Bliss" might be the best word for this tearful state of being, though words are too limited. One way to inspire such tears is to look deeply into someone's eyes and to hold the gaze.

A friend once shared the insight that teardrops are prisms, reflecting and refracting angles and colors of life that can't be seen with dry eyes. Mozambique author Mia Couto suggests that tearful eyes are liquid conduits to the world of the unconscious, and that through the prism of a teardrop you can see visions of things not as you wish they were but as they really are. It's as if teardrops dissolve away one's defensive walls to reveal the archetypes dwelling in the background, the mythology taking place beneath the surface of the workaday world.

Throughout the ages, the joys, pains, and revelations of life have invited artists to gaze through teardrop prisms and to share their visions. Following is a small sampling of teardrop-inspired color palettes from the COLOURlovers library.

bottled tears Blue tears

Tears Of A Dragon Happy Tears

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Patterns - More Ways to Play with Color

Patterns - More Ways to Play with Color


v3 launched with a major new section... Patterns. We knew that you loved finding great colors and arranging them in color palettes... so we guessed that you might want something to do with those palettes (Seeing as you've already created more than 3,400 different patterns in 2 days, I think we guessed right). We launched with just a couple dozen patterns to color but hope to add hundreds more over time. Create a Pattern or Browse the Patterns that have already been added.

Use Our Patterns

Desktop Wallpaper, Website Background, Virb Profile, Myspace Layout, Etc... All of our patterns can be freely downloaded or used, but a link back to COLOURlovers is always greatly appreciated and please no commercial use or selling of our patterns. Not sure if how you want to use the pattern is commercial? Let us know how you want to use it.

Share Your Patterns

If you are the creator of a seamless pattern, Let us know and we'll happily add it to the site. The patterns need to be able to tile, be 5 colors or less with no gradients and preferably in .svg format. Tell us how you want to be credited and we'll add your link.

Some Pattern Color Inspiration and Examples:



The River Styx

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Unusual Color Wheels Found in Life and Art

Unusual Color Wheels Found in Life and Art


The first color wheel (a.k.a. color circle) has been traced back to Sir Isaac Newton, who in 1706 arranged red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and violet into a natural progression on a rotating disk. As the disk spins, the colors blur together so rapidly that the human eye sees white. Artists have been experimenting with colour wheels ever since, finding inspiration in everything from cocktail umbrellas, river rocks, autumn leaves, pencil shavings, to juggling.

The Happy Hour color wheel consists of exotic cocktail umbrellas. It was created by Bright Lights Little City:

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The Rocks color wheel is a collection of stones from Salmon River, Idaho. It was assembled by Purl Bee:

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This Yarn Skeinlet color wheel features dyes made of cochineal (ground up cactus-eating scale insects), osage orange, chamomile, indigo and logwood. It was created by Sarah of the Blue Garter blog:

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The Circle of Life color wheel was created by Thalandor as a tribute to the artist Mother Nature:

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This Kusudama (Medicine Ball) color wheel was created by Origami artist Vanessa Gould:

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The Pencil Shavings color wheel was photographed by Myruby:

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And a full pencil color wheel was taken by ERK_
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This Garden Blossom color wheel is the work of Tiny Haus:

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The Juggler color wheel was painted by Kenneth Callicutt:

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The Chalk color wheel was photographed near Parc De La Villette, Paris, by Jacobz:

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Another chalk color wheel was spotted in Paris by seanhabig:

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Cover img by Claire L. Evans.

 

Craig ConleyAbout the Guest Author, Craig Conley
Website: http://www.OneLetterWords.com
Craig is an independent scholar and author of dozens of strange and unusual books, including a unicorn field guide and a dictionary of magic words. He also loves color: Prof. Oddfellow

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Color in Nature: Parrotfish, Colourful and Helpful

Color in Nature: Parrotfish, Colourful and Helpful


Parrotfish are probably the most colorful living things on the planet. Not only are there 90 some species of them, male and female parrotfish sport different colors and have the ability to change their coloration and patterns repeatedly throughout their lives. Females tend to feature browns, greens, silvers, and grays, while males have more vibrant colors such as pink, aqua, orange, yellow, red, and electric blue. However, in the Mediterranean, the coloration is reversed, with females sporting vivid hues and males drab ones.
 

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img by laszlo-photo.
 

Bizarre Fact: Some male parrot fish maintain harems of females. If the male dies, one of the females will change gender and color and become the dominant male.

I'm in a Redband

 
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img by richard ling.
80s Parrotfish Kissing In the Ocean
 

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img by edwardcallaghan73.
 Swimming Parrot

Parrotfish are mostly tropical fish that live in all the world’s oceans. The parrotfish family contains ten genera and about 90 species. They get their name from their powerful cutting-edged beaks they use to scrape from the surface of coral, algae, polyps, and other small plant and animal life upon which they feed.

 
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img by Maurice Koop.

Little Zippy 

Parrotfish sleep in pajamas. Every night they secrete mucous from an organ on their head that wraps around their bodies, making them harder for nocturnal predators to find.

 

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img by laszlo-photo.
  Sundance Fish

Parrotfish meat isn't consumed much in the US, but is considered a delicacy in many other parts of the world. In Polynesia, it was even once considered a dish only fit for the king.

 
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img by alfonsator.

SheFish 

Parrotfish can range in size from 1 to 4 feet (30 to 120 centimeters) in length and have a lifespan of up around 7 years.

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img by sniffette.

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img by jon hanson.
Midnight Under Water Fish Blender
 

Critical for the Coral Reefs

The key to saving the Caribbean's coral reefs could be the vividly colored parrotfish, according to the journal Nature. Reef ecosystems are increasingly strangled by encroaching seaweed, fertilized by agricultural runoff. However, parrotfish graze on seaweed, using parrot-like beaks. Since sea urchin numbers have dwindled in the Caribbean, parrotfish are the primary grazers. Scientists now believe that protecting the fish could help strangled reefs to recover. Parrotfish need protection because they are a sought-after delicacy in Caribbean culture and are easily caught in fish traps.

To learn more about the role of parrotfish in coral reef ecosystems, see the BBC News Report - Parrotfish to Aid Reef Repair.

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img by Karlplatz.
 

 

Parrotfish Color Inspiration:

ParrotFish Blue parrot fish

Parrotfish Blue Parrotfish Magenta

Parrotfish Green io

The Rainbow Fish Parrotfish Purple

Parrot Fish Parrotfish

 

Coral Reef Color Inspration:

Coral Reef Coral Reef

coral reef Coral Reef

coral reef. coral reef

Coral Reef Coral Reef

coral reef coral reef

coral reef coral reef
 
 

More Interesting Parrotfish Info:
National Geographic Library - Parrot Fish
BBC News Report - Parrotfish to Aid Reef Repair

 

Craig ConleyAbout the Guest Author, Craig Conley
Website: http://www.OneLetterWords.com
Craig is an independent scholar and author of dozens of strange and unusual books, including a unicorn field guide and a dictionary of magic words. He also loves color: Prof. Oddfellow

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v3.0 Launch Party with Imagekind - Live


Hello COLOURlovers,

Well here she is... v3 in all her glory. We probably should call this 3

beta

to emphasize that we have had little time to test the new site and trouble shoot any little hiccups... But, we're throwing a party and we couldn't do it without tons of new color love.

We'll do a proper post in the next couple days to explain and better showcase all the new things that have been added, but until then you'll have to be a curious lover and go exploring.

Wee.0 Launch Part - Live (Not Quite Live... 7pm +PST)

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v3.0 + A Launch Party with Imagekind

v3.0 + A Launch Party with Imagekind


COLOURlovers - Weee.0 is launching Dec. 8th on the web and at our launch party in Portland, OR. Excited? Nervous? So are we! We've been adding new features to the site all year, but it is about that time where we get ready to unveil hundreds of hours of our color loving efforts with the release of a new version of the site...

Version 3.0, aka Version Weee.0 is all about evolving the fun, creative and inspiring color community experience. Will be seeing some minor updates to the entire site, continuing our efforts to create an easy and enjoyable user experience. We'll be adding a new powerful tool that we've been developing for several months that will make you pro and amateur color lovers alike, very happy... and it can even run on your desktop!

We'll also be evolving the love of color in a totally new direction for us. We know you love colors... and arranging them into 5 color palettes... now we're going to give you something creative and fun to do with those palettes.

Join Us at the Launch Party!

COLOURlovers v3 Launch

The world will see the new version of the site go online December 8th, and if you're in the Pacific Northwest, we'd love to have you join us at Rake Art Gallery for a party and interactive night of color love celebrating the new version and the amazing year of growth we've seen. This year our northern neighbors, Imagekind will be generously sponsoring the printing of all our color strips, palettes... and.... Well, you'll just have to be there to see what else they'll be creating for us.

The event will go from 7:00pm to 10:00pm so join us before dinner, after dinner or enjoy our tasty beverages and snacks and join us for a lite dinner. We'll have even more color choices this year for you to create your real life color palettes with, several computers to check out the new site on... and a Chinese auction for our full sized canvas art with proceeds benefiting HODR.org, a volunteer staffed disaster relief non-profit.

Beer + Wine + Snacks + Music + Color... Wee.0

Coup.0 Event
(Click the image above to see more photos from our launch event last year.)

We'll be adding more details as we get closer to the date, so stay tuned.

    Event Sponsored By
ik_event_blog.gif
Imagekind.com is one of the fastest growing online art sites. Their goal is to develop a fresh new online art experience that allows both consumers and professional artists a new outlet for sharing, creating and buying actual wall art from digital files.
 

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Migraines That Erase Color

Migraines That Erase Color


Chronic pain has its own devastating side effects, even in the absence of medication. Sufferers of migraine headaches sometimes report a phenomenon that amounts to color-blindness. Jeff of the Omegaword blog explains that chronic pain has a peculiar way of removing color from the world. He poetically describes his experience of a reality in which all color has been erased by bursts of red:

migraine"Red has never been my favorite color. Bolts of hot pain sear the world, leaving me colorblind but for the shards that stay behind — jagged red reminders of pain past, and pain yet to come. Through the window, beyond the mute interplay of light and shadow on a white kitchen wall, bare branches against a pale sky remind me that it's all in my head. What color are light waves, anyway?"

A new study of synesthesia confirms Jeff's observation that the colour of the world is all in one's head. Cretian van Campen, author of The Hidden Sense: Synesthesia in Art and Science (2007), explains: "A mysterious aspect of color is that it is created in the brain and seen to exist in the physical environment. But the physical environment contains only light waves and is in fact colorless. The colors are inside our brains, not outside."

Color palettes sometimes testify to hues that have been displaced or erased by profound circumstances. For example, COLOURlover Codename Gimmick envisions the frosty onset of winter as a time when "frequencies from red to yellow have been silenced." His "Frost-Over" palette celebrates red and yellow through their striking absence.

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