Monday, October 25, 2010

Colour Themes... What?

This Art work by Rob Gonsalves plays with structure themes, there is a point where imagination can crossover

This recent question from my online studio class on Design is so good I decided to share it with you.

Are there types of color themes or is a color theme anything a person decides to put together?

Dear Student,
This is a great question. You can substitute the phrase "colour plan " for theme.
I will only use the words theme or colour plan if the colours in it respond well and are pleasing to look at, indicating they were deliberated on.

Ideally a theme isn't just a thrown together assortment of colours. Instead they are a carefully planned out collection of colours that tell the story of that theme to the viewer.

If you watch HGTV you might hear and see people being encouraged to have a ideal they are shooting for, like victorian or french country or italian villa. All of these have a certain "look" including furniture shapes, textiles types, decorations, window treatments, etc.

When I talk about colour themes I'm talking about the same thing.
Throughout history artists have combined colours in ways we find pleasing.
Now in our society we are inundated with themed colour use every where. Magazines are planned with colour themes, cloth, cards, paper, linens, ads, furniture. EVERYTHING manmade we buy has been colour planned. It has a theme.

I frequently use McDonalds as an example of this planning. Bright yellow, red, white with a hint of blue.
Now imagine if I used this theme for a rug, not McDonalds itself but the colours of McDonalds. Would I be able to include a bit of Barbie's theme colours ... bright pink, into this mix easily?
I bet not. I would be mixing my themes.
These colour themes are not related in any way.

Sometimes it is possible to use two themes, like Santa Fe colours and Fall woodland colours, they have a couple of crossovers- brown, orange.
This is why it is so easy to pop turquoise as poison into a fall woodland theme. It fits.

You can decide to put any colour with any colour, in my experience it seldom is successful.
To me it is like deciding to write a book without pondering it further than this; you need words right?
So just grab some random assorted ones out of the dictionary, type them up, don't worry if it doesn't make sense ...
It is fine colour craft the colour theme stands for, the art of using colour wonderfully.

If this didn't answer your question let me know!

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