If you're looking for a gift to give a color lover this holiday season consider one of these classic color books. This is not an exhaustive list (if you have some favorite titles share them in the comments), but we think these are some great suggestions, each packed with valuable information and inspiration.
By Josef Albers
Josef Albers’s Interaction of Color is a masterwork in twentieth-century art education. Conceived as a handbook and teaching aid for artists, instructors, and students, this timeless book presents Albers’s unique ideas of color experimentation in a way that is valuable to specialists as well as to a larger audience.
The latest edition presents a significantly expanded selection of more than thirty color studies alongside Albers’s original unabridged text, demonstrating such principles as color relativity, intensity, and temperature; vibrating and vanishing boundaries; and the illusions of transparency and reversed grounds. Now available in a larger format and with enhanced production values, this expanded edition celebrates the unique authority of Albers’s contribution to color theory and brings the artist’s iconic study to an eager new generation of readers.
By Augustine Hope & Margaret Walch.
The Color Compendium is the first comprehensive, illustrated encyclopedia entirely devoted to color. This extraordinary reference covers the full range of color-related subjects, including their scientific, technical, artistic, and historical aspects.The Color Compendium features:
- An A to Z encyclopedia, extensively cross-referenced for easy access to all information
- A section of color systems, explaining their development and use
- Sections on color communication and symbolism
- Biographies of leading historical and contemporary color theorists, and commentaries on their ideas
- A fully illustrated section of historic and twentieth century palettes and their source artifacts
By Johannes Itten
This book covers subjective feeling and objective color principles in detail. It presents the key to understanding color in ltten's color circle and color contrasts.
by Johannes Itten
In this book, the world's foremost color theorist examines two different approaches to understanding the art of color. Subjective feelings and objective color principles are described in detail and clarified by color reproductions.
By Karl Gerstner
"The book begins with an analysis of existing graphical colour spaces and the advantages, as Gerstner sees them, of the ‘uniform colour space’ (UCS) developed by Günter Wyszecki. He then goes on to examine form systems, i.e., developments in geometry since Euclid, including perspective, topologies and fractals. Using geometric systems as generative devices for formal exploration leads Gerstner into an examination of the intricacies of Islamic art. Thanks to a simple pattern obtained from a Moroccan craftsman, Gerstner succeeds in taking the reader through a sequence of examples outlining the countless variations possible and the underlying structural components of the system..." Continue reading at Designer Books
by John Cage
In this searching, dazzlingly illustrated investigation of the experience of color in the West, Cambridge University art historian Gage explores color as a language of emotions, psychological meaning and religious significance. His 14 scholarly yet accessible essays, accompanied by 223 plates (more than half of which are in color), are full of arcane and wondrous lore, from ancient Rome's cult of purple (a hue associated with the ruling elite) to the symbology of rainbows, perceived correspondences between colors and music, and color symbolism in heraldry and alchemy. Certain themes re-emerge, such as the impact of color scientists Goethe and Newton on artists like Turner and Surat, and the popular notion of the Orient as a repository of colored, exotic stimuli and attitudes. The magnificent plates range from a fourth-century Egyptian mummy portrait to the color experiments of Kandinsky, Mondrian, Helen Frankenthaler, Sonia Delaunay, Kenneth Noland and Josef Albers. - Publishers Weekly
By Faber Birren
Presenting a wealth of data on the biological and psychological effects of color, with detailed recommendations for practical color use, special attention to computer facilities, and a historic review of period styles.
In this classic study Faber Birren brings his expertise in color to the places we live; our homes, offices, factories, hospitals and schools. The colors used in these spaces have a profound effect on the people who inhabit them, and Faber Birren has spent many years researching the relationship. In this book he shares his findings and the practical applications toward healthier and more creative environments.
By Lois Swirnoff
Visual models and experiments for those who wish to use expressive and evocative color in three-dimensional design. To the basic grammar of color and form presented in the first edition of Dimensional Color, artist/professor Lois Swirnoff adds a chapter on color structure and expands one on color and light. Exploring the interaction between light, color, and surface, the book provides an invaluable tool for the use of color in architecture and design. 230 color and 58 black-and-white illustrations.
By Jonathan Westpahl
This work subjects some of the statements in Wittgenstein's "Remarks on Colour" (What do we mean when we talk about colour? Why can't there be brown light or anything transparent white?) to a detailed examination that draws on philosophy, phenomenology, psychology and physics. The author rejects Wittgenstein's grammatical explanation of colours, as well as the physicalists' reduction of colours to light emissions of specific wavelengths. He argues that in the phenomenon of colour lie clues to the question of the relation between the physical and mental sides of human nature.
by Victoria Finlay
Defining color is a simple matter-visible light of a particular wavelength. Or is it? It turns out that the pigments and dyes responsible for hues have many remarkable characteristics, most of which we rarely ponder. Journalist Finlay's first book is a blend of travelogue and historical exploration about the myriad ways color takes on meaning for us, whether as a matter of aesthetics, economics, war or culture. The book has no overarching theme-it's all byways, an approach that works. Insofar as there is a thesis, it is that visual expression falls just behind procreation and the search for food and shelter as a fundamental human activity; countless peoples, Finlay reports, rank color and art among their primary concerns. During her journey, both literal and literary, Finlay learns of many little-known tribes and historical curiosities: too-trusting Puritans purchasing cheaply dyed black clothes destined to turn orange in a matter of weeks; the rise and heartbreaking fall of the art of the Pintupi tribe in barren central Australia during the 1970s; and the once-supreme economic clout of indigo from Bengal-to take just three examples among dozens. To delve into this book is to see the experimental, scientific side of the old masters and the artistic qualities of inventors and explorers. This is not a scientific work-those interested in rods and cones should look elsewhere. Thanks to Finlay's impeccable reportorial skills and a remarkable degree of engagement, this is an utterly unique and fascinating read. - Publishers Weekly
By Manlio Brusatin
Attentive both to the scientific data of physics and to the role played by colour theory throughout the history of art, the author gives an overview of colour theory from the 17th century to 1991. The author also explains how much depends on the material aspects of colour. - goodreads