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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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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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The Absolutely Scariest Colors Imaginable

The Absolutely Scariest Colors Imaginable


For most people, color is basic element of our daily lives that we use for comfort, inspiration, practicality, etc. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, phobias and irrational fears affect approximately 10% of adults. Some of those phobias relate to colors being the most terrifying thing imaginable... for those poor people, this color loving website would probably be hell-incarnate. Here are several color phobias and some of color associations with common and strange phobias.

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Chromatophobia - The fear of colors.

Chromatophobia - The fear of colors.
 
Chromatophobia is an abnormal and persistent fear of colors. Like most fears and phobias, the fear of color is created by the subconscious mind as a protective reaction. It was likely an emotionally traumatic event in ones past that was linked to colors in general or a specific color. Because the association of colors to that traumatic event is so strong, when subjected to colors later in life the unconscious mind brings up terrible feelings. The phobia affects people in different ways, with some experiencing the suffering all the time and others just to direct stimuli.

Specific Color Phobias:

 
Phodophobia
Fear of the Color Red
Fear of the Color Red
Chrysophobia
Fear of the Color Orange
Fear of the Color Orange
Xanthophobia
Fear of the Color Yellow
Fear of the Color Yellow
Chlorophobia
Fear of the Color Green
Fear of the Color Green
 
Cyanophobia
Fear of the Color Blue
Fear of the Color Blue
Porphyrophobia
Fear of the Color Purple
Fear of the Color Purple
Leukoophobia
Fear of the Color White
Fear of the Color White
Melanophobia
Fear of the Color Black
Fear of the Black

 

Common and Strange Phobia Color Association

 

Coulrophobia - The fear of clowns.

IT ClownHe Is Watching You

The fear of clowns is not uncommon among children, but is also sometimes found in teenagers and adults as well. One of the most well known and totally creepy clowns is Pennywise from Stephen King's 1990 film IT . It usually appears as Pennywise the Dancing Clown before taking the form of whatever its child victim most greatly fears.

 

Ablutophobia - The fear of washing or bathing.

Psycho Shower SceneBehind the Curtain

The horror classic Psycho probably helped create this phobia. The shower scene is commonly rated as one of the scariest moments in movie history.

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Find Color Synonyms with the HP Color Thesaurus

Find Color Synonyms with the HP Color Thesaurus


HP has been doing some very cool things around color lately. One thing I recently stumbled onto is their Color Thesaurus. You enter in a color name and it gives you 4 similar named colors and 4 opposite colors. I used the tool to create the basic color wheel info below, but dive in and find out what colors are similar to Rose, Grass, Aqua, Ivory, etc.

Red

This is Red

Synonyms
Rouge
Ruby Red
Cherry
Crimson Red

Orange

This is Orange

Synonyms
Tangerine
Orange Juice
Pumpkin Pie
Burnt Orange

Yellow

This is Yellow

Synonyms
Dirty Yellow
Canary
Greenish Yellow
Mustard Yellow

Green

This is Green

Synonyms
Kelly
Grass
Emerald
Algae

Blue

This is Blue

Synonyms
Dutch Blue
Ocean
Sky Blue
Azure

Violet

This is Blue

Synonyms
Purple
Grape
Plum
Aubergine

The HP On-Line Color Thesaurus

The results that are returned are a large color square with a rendering of the color if it was found. If the name was not found, for example “greeb” was entered, then the next nearest color name in terms of edit distance, in this case “green”, will be returned. So no you won’t have to remember how to spell fuchsia. In addition to the colored square are the corresponding RGB and hexidecimal values. Finally there is a note about how common the color name is. Below this are the color synonyms and antonyms. Each column has smaller color squares rendering the color names and the names with links so that you can easily click-through to these names. The results are based on analysis of 20,000+ color name database in English collected from a 20+ language ongoing online color naming experiment.

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Color Palettes in Adobe Swatch Exchange (.ase)

Color Palettes in Adobe Swatch Exchange (.ase)


Almost all of us use Adobe products in our professional and hobby design lives, but the new release of CS3 made it very hard for developers and websites like ours to allow users to get their palettes into the CS3 suite of products. CS3 uses a new format for storing color palettes aka schemes / swatches and Adobe kept their .ase file format a secret so that only Adobe Kuler could export to this format... Well, we're not very good about NOT sharing the color love... so Chris our skilled code engineer poured over all the specifications and documentation on the file format to figure out how to share that .ase love with everybody.

The Adobe Swatch Exchange (.ase) File Format - Source Code

For any other color lovers, developers or creative individuals who would like their applications and websites to be able to spit out .ase color palettes...

Here is the .ASE Source Code we are using.
 

Downloading .ase Color Palettes from COLOURlovers

COLOURlovers has over 200,000 user created palettes with more than 25,000 being added monthly. Not only is the community a creative and fun place to share color ideas... those ideas can be used in several professional design programs.
 

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The Colors of Your College Degree

The Colors of Your College Degree


The history of academic dress goes back hundreds of years to the chill universities where cap, gown and hood were needed for covering and warmth.

In 1321, the University of Coimbra mandated that all Doctors, Bachelors, and Licentiates must wear gowns. In the latter half of the 14th century, excess in apparel was forbidden in some colleges and prescribed wearing a long gown. By the time of England's Henry VIII, Oxford and Cambridge began using a standard form of academic dress, which was controlled to the tiniest detail by the university.

Graduation Hood ColorNot until the late 1800s were colors assigned to signify certain areas of study, but they were only standardized in the United States. European institutions have always had diversity in their academic dress, but American institutions employ a definite system of dress thanks to Gardner Cotrell Leonard from Albany, New York. After designing gowns for his 1887 class at Williams College, he took an interest in the subject and published an article on academic dress in 1893. Soon after he was asked to work with an Intercollegiate Commission to form a system of academic apparel.

The system Gardner Cotrell Leonard helped form was based on gown cut, style and fabric; as well as designated colors to represent fields of study.

For example, sleeves in the bachelor's gown are pointed, in the masters gown they are oblong and the arms project at the elbow, and in the doctor's gown they are bell shaped. Only the doctor's gown has velvet facing. The hood is lined with the official colors of the degree issuing institution and the outside trimming of the hood signifies the subject in which the degree was obtained:

Agriculture
Maize
Arts, Letters, Humanities
White
Commerce, Accountancy, Business
Drab
Dentistry
Lilac
Economics
Copper
Education
Light Blue
Engineering
Orange
Fine Arts, including Architecture
Brown
Forestry, Environmental Studies, Sustainability
Russet
Journalism
Crimson
Law
Purple
Library Science
Lemon
Medicine
Green
Music
Pink
Nursing
Apricot
Oratory (Speech)
Silver Gray
Pharmacy
Olive Green
Philosophy, Political Science
Dark Blue
Physical Education
Sage Green
Public Administration, including Foreign Service
Peacock Blue
Public Health
Salmon Pink
Science
Golden Yellow
Social Work
Citron
Theology, Divinity
Scarlet
Veterinary Science, Husbandry
Gray

For more about the history and guidelines from academic ceremony costumes, check out An Academic Costume Code and An Academic Ceremony Guide by the American Council on Education.

Are you ready to graduate and take on the world? If you've enjoyed this article and are looking for some college-related fonts and templates, check out Creative Market for some awesome downloads.

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Beware! T-Mobile Owns the Color Magenta

Beware! T-Mobile Owns the Color Magenta


I'm not sure I fully understand... should that have been written the color "Magenta™"? The absurdity is probably confusing to you as well. The total hue domination by T-Mobile and its bigger Deutsche Telekom (DT) has been going on for several years, but has gained more attention lately. DT not only trademarked magenta, they also have a trademark on the use of their two 2 color logo... More can be read at servicemarks.

Don't worry trademarks only apply to the industry sector that they are registered under and since DT applied for their trademark in the tele-communications sector you just can't use the color magenta around anything to do with phones, digital media... oh and just about anything on the internet.

Here is a screenshot of the T-Mobile USA website with their trademark highlighted:
T-Mobile Trademarks the Color Magenta
 

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Color in Science: Microscopic Photographs

Color in Science: Microscopic Photographs


The Micropolitan Museum exhibits an unworldly spectrum visible only through the lens of a microscope. Painter Wim van Egmond photographs spectacular microscopic masterpieces with ethereal color palettes. To capture these hidden treasures, he uses a Zeiss Standard light microscope and an old Zeiss Photo-microscope. Several methods of illumination are employed: bright-field, dark-field, phase contrast, differential interference contrast, and Rheinberg illumination.

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Van Egmond's Insectarium offers such specimens as the iridescent butterfly wing, whose tiny scales possess a microscopic texture that refracts light. Here we find lavender blue and green.

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Color Inspiration from the History of Halloween

Color Inspiration from the History of Halloween


Jack-o-lanterns, haunted houses, vampires, witches, ghosts, candy and kids trick-or-treating... Halloween has grown into one of the biggest commercial holidays in the US since the first official citywide celebration in Anoka, Minn., in 1921. But, Halloween has been around for over 2,000 years and its customs and rituals have changed dramatically over time. Here we'll look at a bit of the history of this holiday and get some color inspiration from the day's iconic colors.

Halloween's origins date back to the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain (pronounced sow-in).

The Celts, who lived 2,000 years ago in the area that is now Ireland, the United Kingdom, and northern France, celebrated their new year on November 1. This day marked the end of summer and the harvest and the beginning of the dark, cold winter, a time of year that was often associated with human death. Celts believed that on the night before the new year, the boundary between the worlds of the living and the dead became blurred. On the night of October 31, they celebrated Samhain, when it was believed that the ghosts of the dead returned to earth. In addition to causing trouble and damaging crops, Celts thought that the presence of the otherworldly spirits made it easier for the Druids, or Celtic priests, to make predictions about the future. For a people entirely dependent on the volatile natural world, these prophecies were an important source of comfort and direction during the long, dark winter.

By the 800s, the influence of Christianity had spread into Celtic lands. In the seventh century, Pope Boniface IV designated November 1 All Saints' Day, a time to honor saints and martyrs. It is widely believed today that the pope was attempting to replace the Celtic festival of the dead with a related, but church-sanctioned holiday. The celebration was also called All-hallows or All-hallowmas (from Middle English Alholowmesse meaning All Saints' Day) and the night before it, the night of Samhain, began to be called All-hallows Eve and, eventually, Halloween. Even later, in A.D. 1000, the church would make November 2 All Souls' Day, a day to honor the dead. It was celebrated similarly to Samhain, with big bonfires, parades, and dressing up in costumes as saints, angels, and devils. Together, the three celebrations, the eve of All Saints', All Saints', and All Souls', were called Hallowmas.

Source - History Channel

Halloween Colors & Symbolism

 Halloween jack-o-lantern 

Probably the most well known symbol of Halloween is the carved pumpkin, or jack-o-lantern. The tradition of carving a lantern comes from the Irish who used potatoes and turnips, but was modified to use the pumpkin in the US where it was available.

Jack-O-Lantern

There are a few colors that are strongly associated with Halloween. Orange and black being the two main colors of the holiday. Although these colors have been mass-marketed in recent years, they are thought to go all the way back to the celtic celebrations and be reminders of the candles and fires that were lit to welcome the cold black winter ahead.

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Color Inspiration: Blends, Gradients, Steps, Oh My!

Color Inspiration: Blends, Gradients, Steps, Oh My!


Blend, Gradient, Steps... whatever you call them, they're fun to make and to look at. I tried to organize them as best possible, but it honestly is difficult to categorize these things. First we have blends where all the colors are in pretty much the same hue. Then blends to black or gray. Analogous blends are of colors that are near each other on the color wheel and I threw the rest in complementary blends as they, for the most part have colors across the color wheel from each other.

Monochromatic Blends

santa.baby _oo _oo

[L] AlterEgo <3 peachbelle

cherry valance Almost spring

Attack! 200-240 Degrees By10

a cold day blue fader

deep down Be Mine!

'Dowager's Greens a whole room

' Choy Bourgeon de Tilleul

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