Monday, September 22, 2008

The principle of colour harmony

The principle of colour harmony is based on many different theories for example; the principle of familiarity, the principle of novelty, the principle of resemblance, the principle of order and so on. All of these bring new and exciting opinions and attitudes towards colour.
When looking at different brands and their seasonal collections one can easily apply these theories and consequently a closer insight into the designers thoughts can be seen.
Take for example Thakoon’s Fall 2008 collection.

All three pictures are individual in their own right, so how can you tell their from the same collection? The designer uses over four different patterns, however the proportions of colour, hue and tone within the garments remains the same. For example the skirt in the first picture is most prominently blue in colour with the pattern detailing in purple and white and in the second picture the jacket has the same proportions of colour with white being most prominent and the use of brown shades and pink for contrast. Although the colour’s may appear to clash they have in-fact been thought through very carefully and meticulously so that there is some kind of order and uniformity. This can be linked to the alternation of colour, where the changing tints and shades of colour contrast and the advancing and receding hues counter each other; with light and dark values showing opposition.

Advertising campaigns are also an interesting way to interpret the designers direction for the season. Miu Miu’s advertising campaign for spring 2008 uses a balance of colour and a variety of hue. Both light and dark values, bright and dull intensities have been used which all balance the colour scheme. The red floor has a high value due to its dark colour and shade which contrasts heavily with the high chroma purple curtain. The matt and shiny textures of the colour mix well and give the image a feeling of seduction and playfulness.

The effect of colour harmonies can also be seen daily; from colour merchandising in shops to advertisements and even the simplest things we take might not initially notice such as public transport. When you look closely colour theories are all around you in many different shapes and forms. See the examples below:

This beauty shop uses a calming tint of blue so that the impression you get is one of natural ambiance. It suggests relaxation and consequently reflects the products it’s selling. It relates to the theory of resemblance, which states that colour harmonise when the difference between them is less. Here different tints and shades of the hue blue are used, there is a lack of contrast and the cabinets and shelving are in white to create a clean cut, fresh image.

I noticed this colour scheme when walking through a bus station. It uses the Triad colour theory in which red, yellow, orange (high chroma colours) are used to complement each other and give a bright feel to this dark and dingy building. It also links in with the principle of order which suggests that colour should be based on an orderly plan. These hues are all in order in the colour wheel and therefore are aesthetically pleasing as there is little contrast.

The colour scheme for this lush advert is bright and attention seeking. The colour yellow gives it a fresh feel, which again links into the products its selling. It is based on the principle of novelty as the colours are not realistic they are false, high chroma colours. However this draws the customer into the store as the advertisement is exciting and almost cartoon like.

I saw this window display in a shopping centre. The minimalistic white contrasts heavily with the bright florescent tree colours which represents the principle of novelty and the emphasis of colour. It also draws attention to the black bags and main product it is selling.

I saw this advertisement on the side of a shop window and I took a picture of it as it captured my attention. Repetition of pink, blue and purple helps unify the pattern so that there is enough variety for interest but little boredom or conflict of the colours. It gives the image of a funky youthful brand and brings excitement and interest to the product.

This is a simple and effective way of colour merchandising. The sequence of colours draws attention to the t-shirts but also makes it easier for the customer to select their preferred colour. It is based on the principle of order.

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