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The Designer's Guide to Color Combinations Hardcover – March 15, 1999

ISBN-13: 978-0891348573 ISBN-10: 0891348573 Edition: 1st

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 144 pages
  • Publisher: North Light Books; 1 edition (March 15, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0891348573
  • ISBN-13: 978-0891348573
  • Product Dimensions: 9.4 x 9.3 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (36 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #612,161 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

This wonderful book is about color and design, but it is not a book of theory that begins with color wheels, primary colors, secondary colors, and color harmony. Instead, it offers design examples from the past century: Victorian, Art Deco, Sixties, Raves, etc., with each illustration including Cmyk color formulas. Cmyk is the color-processing system used by printers and also Photoshop, i.e., you can add in the Cmyk for any color in the book and duplicate it in Photoshop or other paint programs. Along with design examples, there are also chapters on current color styles, limited colors, and "bad color," which actually is pretty cool. Designers will love this book for the examples; others can simply select great colors that go together.
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.

More About the Author

For most of his life, Leslie Cabarga considered himself not so much a writer but as an illustrator and graphic designer. Yet his very first book, The Fleischer Story (a history of the Max Fleischer animation studio) was published when he was 19 years old, several years before he would become one of the most popular illustrators in New York. Leslie went on to write and/or edit over 40 books, ranging from clip art collections for Dover publications to the ever popular Logo, Font & Lettering Bible, the only manual showing how to create lettering from scratch in the digital age. But he also produced the channeled book, "Talks with Trees," which has been gaining popularity over the past 10 years. Leslie likes to take subjects (such as the Max Fleischer cartoons, and lettering and font creation) and produce the "last word" on each subject. As he says, "It's mostly just to get these topics out of my system so I can move on." And move on he has! As amazon reader reviews of his Lettering "Bible" attest, the humor throughout the instructional text is part of what makes this book so enjoyable. "So I decided to move away from design topics and go for the humor--along with a bit of forward-looking social commentary," Leslie says. The result is the recently-published "We Hold These Truths," the story of what happens when a Truth Bomb drops on the world and people everywhere are compelled to live their truths. The book is as profoundly compelling as it is amusing. Like the book "Trees," We Hold These Truths is a channeled book that Leslie first began "receiving" more than 15 years ago. The contrast between design and spirit channeling is not so far apart, for as Leslie says, "Artists are seekers of truth. We are always questioning ourselves--why should it be this way rather than that? Where is the truth in this statement? The best artists are often those who willingly subject themselves to the most unmerciful critiques of their own creations." And," he says, "my body of work in the graphics field shows that there's nothing airy-fairy about us channelers. Actually, I'm a very down-to-earth guy." Indeed, Leslie tells us he's got another dozen or so books in planning stages on subjects ranging from health and nutrition to human sexuality. Which brings up Leslie's latest book, "Topless Summer Love Girls; A Gentleman's Guide to Women, Relationships & Breasts." It is a book that looks seriously tat men's issues while at the same time satirizing men's obsessions.

Customer Reviews

It's a keeper and recommend it to any type of designer needing color inspiration.
Shawn
Rather than just show color combinations in a vacuum, this book uses real examples from different design periods to demonstrate the use of color.
FKC
If there would be one negative point, it's only that there is not a cd added with all the palettes, so you would not have to type in the values.
R. Clercx

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

46 of 46 people found the following review helpful By Dennis Wilen on January 23, 2000
Format: Hardcover
Sure there are plenty of books about color out there. Some are about color theory, some tend towards technical info about pre-press and separations, etc., and some even include swatches.
I know -- I've wasted a lot of money on them over the years.
This book, however, is unique, and the first one I've found truly useful -- even inspirational.
Cabarga takes choice period artwork (from the Victorian era through ultra-modern rave posters), analyzes the colors, shows you why they work/don't work then actually pulls the colors out in CMYK-specified patches (w/numerical values) and supplies half a dozen or so examples of how to use each palette.
This last feature is extremely useful: swatches without examples are virtually useless, and swatches without CMYK numerical values (or Pantone) can leave you guessing.
Need a Victorian look? Want that 1950's Atomic feel? It's all here, and wrapped up in a breezy and humorous narrative that make the book a fun read as well as super informative.
Highly recommended!
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41 of 42 people found the following review helpful By John Harris Stevenson on May 8, 1999
Format: Hardcover
I snapped up The Designer's Guide to Color Combinations as soon as I stumbled across it, and it has been the most useful and fun colour book I have purchased in years.
What is unique about Cabarga's approach to colour is his understanding that our perception of how various colours work in combination is cultrally based, and changes over time. A colourful tile that might look fashionable in the late-19th century can look quaint or garish in the 1990s.
Cabarga presents literally hundreds of historical colour combinations based on actual period designs. What makes this useful is that each design comes complete with CMYK codes which can be plugged directly into Photoshop, or converted (roughly) into HTML colour codes.
It is no exageration to say that this book has opened me up to a world of colour combinations that I wouldn't have considered in the past. Great stuff.
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30 of 30 people found the following review helpful By Gustavo Santos on January 12, 2002
Format: Hardcover
This book fulfilled every expectation I had prior to its arrival, that is - it's not a color theory book in any way. It has no color wheels, nor does it theorize about complementary colors and the like. It's a collection of suggested color combinations - usually combinations which I'd never think of. And that's where the real value is!
In the samples, you can easily notice which is the 'base' color and which colors 'match' in different situations. And each sample itself has some printed design-like feel, which makes it incredibly more usable than ordinary swatches in other books.
Just by flipping the pages I found (color) suggestions for the designs I'm working at.
Ah, and the book is also beautiful.
If you're looking for color inspiration rather than theory, add this one to your basket!
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29 of 29 people found the following review helpful By W. Sanders VINE VOICE on May 17, 2000
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Better than any other book on color combinations, Leslie Cabarga clarifies not only color harmony but color arrangement. I believe his approach to color harmony makes far more sense than color wheels and rainbow illustrations. By taking good examples throughout history, one can get not only a flavor of what works, but can see the color in context. Some combinations repeat themselves, but in different contexts they look different as well.
By putting in the CMYK percentages, it is very easy to transfer the colors to a computer for immediate use. For those who are artistically challenged (such as this reviewer), there is a refreshing sense to Cabarga's work. He shows very clearly why bad color combinations are such and why good ones that work do in fact work. Each example is provided in a sensible context rather than a stack of colors, and most valuable is Cabarga's use of variations of the same color set to illustrate how radically different the same group of colors look in different arrangements.
I also liked Cabarga's comments about key illustrators and their subject matter--even including expressing doubts about Paul Whiteman being the King of Jazz. Cabarga seems to know his artists and doesn't mind expressing any opinon that comes to mind whether on artists or the state of just about anything. Moreover, his opinions never get in the way of his discussion of color. (Even the opinions are colorful.) It's good to know books are still written by human beings rather than grey committees.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 14, 2002
Format: Hardcover
I love this book, it makes my life so much easier coming up with color combinations that work. The best part is that it covers over a century's worth of color schemes, from dark earthy tones of the victorian period to the bright colors of today.
There are so many different color combinations to look at, each with a different variation as well. They're all in CMYK too, which makes it easier since I'm not familiar with the Pantone system a lot of books on color use.
The only drawback to this book is that it doesn't teach you how to create your own successful color schemes, so you'll need another book on color for that. This book tells you to look at the things around you for inspiration although it never tells you how to convert those colors to CMYK mode.
If you have a book or two on the science and practices of good color design, then you'll definately need this for a quick reference to some applied real world design.
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