Aspects of Colour

Aspects of Colour

An Introduction

This website will cover various aspects of colour:

  • the scientific principals behind how the eye interprets light
  • formal colour theory
  • how colour is represented by photographic, print, and pigment-based media
  • and how this differs from how digital electronic media represent colour
  • the cultural significance various colours have taken on around the world
  • the psychological effects of colour.

As you might guess, there is an overlap between these aspects. For example, how we are psychologically affected by a particular colour is heavily influenced by our cultural background. The way light is described by electronic media is closely related to the scientific principals of light; as is colour theory and relations between colours and how they can be grouped and ordered for effect. These theories have been applied by artists, designers and others to play an important role in our cultural interpretation of colour - for the most part using pigment-based approximations of what we see in the natural world.

Why Colour?

Colour surrounds us at all times and influences our emotions, decisions and understanding of the world around us. An understanding of how to use colour and how colour works has many practical applications ranging from business to psychology. Perhaps you as a visitor use colour in a professional context yet never learned about the cultural significance of colour. Perhaps you are a cultural producer (artist, designer etc.) and would like to learn more about the science behind how the eye interprets light. Whatever the reason for your visit, I hope you find something to inspire and enlighten.

Jessica Eaton

Why a Website?

The form of a website lends itself to investigations of colour due to it's visual, interactive and dynamic nature. Although colour is a wide-ranging topic and I may not be able to go into each aspect in great detail, I hope to touch on enough areas of this fascinating topic to give the visitor a useful overview of what colour is, what it does, and what it means.

I see this website as a personal testing ground for the structural, stylistic and behavior features of web design I am interested in investigating (and hopefully implementing successfully!) - coding by hand without the use of frameworks whenever possible. Some of the techniques used in this website include the canvas element (and the Processing.js library for colour manipulation) interacting with input elements (in this case, a custom slider and option menu). CSS3 animations are used in the demonstration of Newton's spinning colour wheel. LocalStorage is used to keep track of the user's spelling preference for the word "colour" throughout the site. This preference can be switched as well as automatically determined using the browser's language setting or the geolocation object (in conjunction with Google reverse-geocoding). The site is made responsive using a percentage-based layout and also features a separate stylesheet for mobile devices.