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A Book of Colors Paperback – February 15, 1987

4.6 out of 5 stars 14 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Language Notes

Text: English, Japanese (translation)

About the Author


SHIGENOBU KOBAYASHI (b. 1925) is the founder and director of the Nippon Color & Design Research Institute. He is a graduate of the electronics department of the Hiroshima College of Technology and received a master's degree from Waseda University in Tokyo for his work in the field of color psychology.

Since founding the institute in 1966, he has been a leader in research on color psychology, publishing numerous books on the subject, including a color image dictionary and others exploring color in relation to design, architecture, and the environment. A detailed discussion of his theories is available in English in the publication Color Research and Application (volume 6, no. 2, Summer 1981) in an article titled "The Aim and Method of the Color Image Scale."

He is also an active participant in meetings of the International Color Association and a lecturer at the Musashi Institute of Technology in Tokyo.

THE NIPPON COLOR & DESIGN RESEARCH INSTITUTE founded in 1966, the institute is a leader in its field, acting as a color and design consultant to over 300 major Japanese corporations in fields as diverse as automobiles, home electronics, cosmetics, food, department stores, and home construction.

The institute's patented Color Image Scale is the centerpiece of its theories on the psychology of color. In addition, the institute has developed computer software based on the Image Scale and a large information data base for use in its research and consulting projects.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 128 pages
  • Publisher: Kodansha USA (February 15, 1987)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0870118005
  • ISBN-13: 978-0870118005
  • Product Dimensions: 6.8 x 0.5 x 4.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #177,152 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
This book and its companion, "Color Image Scale," are excellent sources of palette ideas for web work. (If you buy one, buy both.) As an amateur designer, I found their treatment of the emotional impact of color groupings to be enlightening and thought inspiring. On the down side, they don't provide CMYK or RGB values--a minor inconvenience.
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Format: Paperback
This is a fantastic resource for anyone designing in colour. I do mostly online design and use this book every day. It is a specialised colour combination scale based on research done by the author.
Pick a base colour and see its combinations, what they mean to most people and where they are typically used. Awesome stuff!
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Format: Paperback
This book was recommended to me by a friend who designs rugs and is an architect as well. I bought it for my own use as an interior designer and to help me with paint colors and overall color scheming. It is a great device for getting a feel from your client of what colors he/she prefers. It's a wonderful gift for people in the trade.
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Format: Paperback
A book of colors was probably wonderful when it was first published; my copy is a 1987 edition. Since then, the world of color books has exploded, and many of the newer ones provide bigger samples, and RGB, Pantone, or Hex keys so that you can get the color right exactly.

There's an interesting little section in the middle, explaining how the color charts came to be, but you have to read one of the author's other works (see Colorist) to take the color quiz yourself and see what your "favorite" palettes are.

The real key to this book? "Little." It is tiny. 5x7. It will fit in your watercolor daypack just fine; way better than some of the newer books. But that doesn't leave much room for swatches.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
You already have a large library about color. We're painters and quite frankly, we're interested in our tools. Color is only one of our many tools we use to construct a painting. I've already recommended in an earlier ArtsyFartsy Newsletter "Powercolor" by Caroline Jasper - get this book. And now... add this one.

This book is kind of a hoot! "A Book of Colors" by Shigenobu Kobayashi. It's a tiny book featuring an endless offering of certain colors combined with other specific colors to evoke an emotional response. The author has conveniently arranged color combinations into "mood categories" such as Dynamic * Tender * Cool * Mature, etc. Originally I felt it was more for designers and the psychology of colorful products and interiors. I wanted to try out these colors to the text in a painting. Could I combine certain colors to get a specific reaction from the viewer? If I follow all the color combinations from this book, I'll be painting forever! This book is more of a novelty and a fun one to have around for ideas.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I was looking for a book on color that would give some color combinations that could be applied to my quilting and needlework. This book did not disappoint. It is broken down into several categories, giving color options and inspiration. There is some discussion on color and theory but it is not a text book and it does not over-burden you with facts you probably did not really want to know about color...you just wanted to harmonize and coordinate. I have picked this book up numerous times now and flip through the pages when I am stuck on what color I want to work with on a project and I have yet to not be inspired. I also purchased a "Gardner's Color Wheel" here on Amazon and working with the two makes coordinating thread color and fabric so much easier.

If you want color inspiration without all the history and theory of color, this is the book for you!
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I've owned this old dated book 5 times now and it keeps getting borrowed and not returned. The simplicity of this book shows color combination and (old) trends. Very relevant for project like painting rooms all the way down to designing websites. For the price it's worth having in your reference library.
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