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May 19, 2020
Color reading

(Chapter 2 from Interaction of Colors book)

The author, Josef Albers, provided 3 powerful examples to demonstrate his point that "we almost never see a single color unconnected and unrelated to other colors". If we hear only single notes, we are missing the music. If we we read only single words, we are missing the poem. If we identify only single colors, we are missing the painting or the image. He emphasized that "colors present themselves in continous flux, constantly related to changing neighbors and changing conditions".

I was surprised to learn that psychology research has indicated that people do not necessarily read letters, but whole words, something resembling "word pictures". In that context, it is easier to read words in which the letters are highly differentiated. Words with letters that are more distinct form more distinct word pictures. That better explains the usage of serif fonts for printed books and sans serif for bulletin boards.

Art necessarily depends on the skill of color reading, which is the ability to find and appreciate the interaction of colors and what happens between colors.

If you only see the color in each box and stop there, there would not be much to enjoy. But, if you see that all the colors share the same hue and that there is a relationship that binds all the colors, then, the image is more likely to be enjoyable. Recognizing that their is a relationship between the colors is more important that being able to specify that the relationship is the gradual changes in saturation and lightness. For that reason, monochomatic color sets are often used for decorating interiors and fashion that use matching colors.

Why color paper - instead of pigment and paint

(Chapter 3 from Interaction of Colors book)

Albers briefly explains the advantages of using color paper for conducting the experiments in his book rather than using paint and mixing the pigments. The practical advantages of consistency and reduced preparations is reasonably comparable to the advantages we enjoy today using computer software.

©2020 Chi Nguyen