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Understanding Color: An Introduction for Designers 4th Edition

4.4 out of 5 stars 28 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0470381359
ISBN-10: 0470381353
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Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

From theory to practice

enhance your skills for working with color

Now in an updated Fourth Edition, Understanding Color helps you connect the dots between your emotional, intuitive responses to color and the theories that explain them. Through authoritative, easy-to-follow instruction, you'll learn how to use color more comfortably, creatively, and effectively than ever before.

Take your work to the next level by exploring how different light sources affect color rendition, how placement changes color, how to avoid costly color mistakes, and how to resolve the color problems that frequently confront design professionals. This Fourth Edition is full of powerful new features that reflect the latest issues in color and design, including:

  • Nearly 35 percent of content expanded and revised
  • Coverage of a broad range of design disciplines
  • Ideas from the major color theorists that reinforce one another, rather than an approach emphasizing what is correct or incorrect
  • Discussion of color created by traditional media and digital design, and the issues that arise when design moves from one medium to another
  • Innovative coverage of color marketing issues
  • Helpful tips for using color in the working environment
  • An online workbook contains valuable exercises to reinforce color concepts

Understanding Color, Fourth Edition is an unparalleled source of authoritative information and practical solutions for students and professionals in all fields of design.

About the Author

Linda Holtzschue is Principal of Linda Holtzschue and Associates, an interior design firm based in New York City. She has taught color theory and related courses at Parsons School of Design, where she also served as an assistant dean; the Fashion Institute of Technology; and the School of Visual Arts. Her work has appeared in the New York Times Magazine and Better Homes and Gardens.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Wiley; 4 edition (January 25, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0470381353
  • ISBN-13: 978-0470381359
  • Product Dimensions: 7.5 x 0.6 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #98,189 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Minetta Minnick on April 7, 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is pretty good. It explains the different color wheels, how we see color, value, saturation, harmony, and so much more. It is pretty thorough and easy to read. I recommend this book for anyone needing to understand color theory.

Minetta Minnick
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Format: Paperback
I've been looking for a textbook for my Color Theory for Digital Artists for two years now. I like the clean writing style and intelligence of Ms. Holtzschue's book. I will be using it this semester, but I will keep searching for a more appropriate textbook.

Like many other Color Theory books, she mistakes Successive Contrast (afterimage) and Simultaneous Contrast as phenomena associated with complements based in the artist's color circle (Read and Green, Yellow and Violet, Blue and Orange). When in reality your eye (which is basically an RGB device) reacts with the Additive Color complements: Red and Cyan, Green and Magenta, Blue and Yellow when experiencing afterimages or simultaneous contrast.

Personally, I think the traditional RYB model is faulty. Can you mix a nice Magenta from those primaries? How a bout a crisp, bright Cyan. No? Well then those colors aren't really primaries then, now are they. And the "color wheel" should be shifted pretty dramatically to reflect that.
Artists dealing with digital media have to become more familiar with the RGB Additive Color model and color wheel, NOT the RYB based Painters Color Wheel. This book has little emphasis on the importance of the Additive Color model in perception and design.
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This book arrived quickly and in excellent condition. I learned a lot about color and patterns from this book. I ordered it as part of a class I was taking in color therapy from the Art Institute and got an "A" in the class. I would recommend this book to everyone who wants to understand color.
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Format: Paperback
It's always difficult to discuss the subject of color because sometimes you "just have to be there". Colors are so affected by other colors in the vicinity and light conditions and host of other factors. Because of the nuances involved, it would be difficult for any author to cover it to meet all needs, but this is an excellent treatment, especially for novices.
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I teach a class in color theory for interior designers. This book has been my required text for the last 5 years. The illustrations are clear and the information on color harmonies is excellent. It contains information that I have not been able to find elsewhere. So many color books are badly researched, with faulty information, but this one won't steer you wrong.
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By Jenise on September 27, 2008
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Pretty good with examples, and ways to utilize color. This is a keeper in the collection for me.
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I think this book is great if you want to understand and use color in your private or professional life. However maybe because it is very theoretical, it is a little bit boring which is a paradox when usually color is fun. Nevertheless, read it because it is a kind of bible that could help you to improve your perception of color and how to use it to become a better graphic designer (it does not only depend on color, but it can help..) .
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By T. Lenon on January 11, 2011
Format: Paperback
I use this as the standard textbook in my color theory class. It's a very pragmatic approach to understanding and using color, avoiding the odd perceptions and prejudices of color theorists of the past. Also, Ms. Holtzschue defines "tertiary" and "intermediate" differently than some others do, so be aware.
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