Designing with Color – Concepts and Applications

About a year ago I wrote about, Designing with Color – Concepts and Applications, when it was still in it’s formative stages. You can read that post dated Jan. 10, 2010 in our archives. I commented then that good design books are hard to come by and how pleased we were to be contributing to one that, from the galleys, looked like it would be just that.

As an animation and design studio Little Fluffy Clouds often provides images and commentary on our work to writers, editors and publishers, only to find that for whatever reason the book in question never sees the light of day. I could write an entire post on the whys and wherefores of the publishing industry and how difficult it is to bring a book – particularly an instructional one – to market in this day and age of instant apps but for right now I’m just happy to report that the book is now published. Hats off to Fairchild Books, a division of Conde Nast Publications, for staying the course and making this happen.

Written primarily as a workbook for students who want to work in the field of arts it might also benefit art directors across the board in the way that only good design publications and the theory of art outlined within can do. After all, the joy of the “happy accident” is short lived in an artist’s entire career, of far more use is the ability to confidently articulate why an image – a project – a campaign – was created that way and publications such as this one help put you on that path of knowledge backed up by experience.

Designing with Color takes examples from nine disciplines: advertising, animation, fashion, fine art, graphic design, illustration, industrial design, interior design and photography. The idea of this is less to separate these areas of art but to “inspire” and illustrate “the interconnected nature of all the visual and applied arts.”

The book is divided into 17 subject areas in two parts: part one color, part two design. Each chapter is choc-a-block with images from artists: photos, drawings, diagrams, paintings that come together to succinctly illustrate the chapter point. Space is allowed for those keen enough to contribute their own ideas – a sort of journal of art – along the lines of “process and idea” so the entire book can be personalized and students can take advantage of the myriad of tools – camera phones, apps, iPads – available to them.

Here’s an introductory quote from the authors talking about the porous nature of the crossover in media that is the mainstay of today:

One defining feature of the postmodern era we live in is the breakdown of disciplines. An artists practice might resemble that of an architect: an illustrator’s that of a 3D modeler. With the pervasiveness of marketing and media in our current culture, people in disciplines such as advertising, photography, graphic design, illustration and 3d animation frequently collaborate. The disciplines of fine art, industrial design, interior design and fashion also merge to create, represent and disseminate a product and the visuals that surround it.

Designing with Color – Concepts and Applications, by Chris Dorosz and J.R. Watson, published by Fairchild Books a division of Conde Nast Publications, is available now. What are you waiting for? Go out and get your copy.