lnu.sePublications
Change search
CiteExportLink to record
Permanent link

Direct link
Cite
Citation style
  • apa
  • harvard1
  • ieee
  • modern-language-association-8th-edition
  • vancouver
  • Other style
More styles
Language
  • de-DE
  • en-GB
  • en-US
  • fi-FI
  • nn-NO
  • nn-NB
  • sv-SE
  • Other locale
More languages
Output format
  • html
  • text
  • asciidoc
  • rtf
How to Create a Colour Education that Fosters Price-winning Design Students
Linnaeus University, Faculty of Arts and Humanities, Department of Design.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-5209-6812
2015 (English)In: AIC 2015 Tokyo, Colour and Image: Book of Abstracts / [ed] Hirohisa Yaguchi, Katsunori Okajima, Taiichiro Ishida, Kikuko Araki, Motonori Doi, Yoshitsugu Manabe, Color Science Association of Japan , 2015, Vol. 1, p. 81-81Conference paper, Poster (with or without abstract) (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

How to create a colour education that fosters price-winning design students?: An example from the Linnaeus University in Sweden.

BackgroundThe colour education of today is an important building block for all future design. If we can provide our students with state of the art colour education we will get the best future design when itcomes to the use of colours. That will include all kinds of design e.g. graphic design, architecture andproduct design.

In 2014 there was a national competition called Awarded Colour, organized by Swedish ColourCentre Foundation that celebrated their 50 years anniversary. The competition was open to all studentsof design, architecture, fine art graphic design and advertisement. Design students from the relativelysmall product design programme at the Linnaeus University won two out of three awards.A prizewinning concept for color education.

The subject of colour is introduced very early in the programme. Students of product design have two weeks of colour theory and workshops in their firstsemester. In this basic theoretical course the students get to know different colour systems and theadvantage of using systems to think, visualise and communicate colour. In the workshops they cantrain their eyes and skills in mixing and combining colours with an increasing degree of complexity.The workshop ends with a task where students explore the use of colours in different contexts such asart, architecture, visual communication, design and in other cultures.

This lays a ground for four more weeks of colour projects with a researching approach. Thestudents phrase their own colour questions and seek answers through research and visual colourrepresentations. In the second year there is a progress in understanding different contexts of colour.The students continue with light theory and light projects for five more weeks and then proceed withlight and colour in space contexts for another five weeks.

To ensure that the students will train and use their colour skills throughout their entire studyperiod the students are asked to present and motivate the chosen colours in every project they do. Thatmakes them always remember that the aspects of colour are as important as any other design aspectwhen it comes to the visual expression.

The students are also asked to participate as subjects in colour research projects to make themaware that colour research is a huge field with many disciplines involved and many questions emergingfrom their colour studies can actually be research questions and lead to colour research projects.

The three-fold strategy, early introduction, emphasis on colour and continuous progression,has proved to be successful. The fact that students from the product design programme at LinnaeusUniversity could win two out of three awards for best colour design is a clear indication of that.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Color Science Association of Japan , 2015. Vol. 1, p. 81-81
Keywords [en]
color education, color research
National Category
Design
Research subject
Design
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:lnu:diva-49914OAI: oai:DiVA.org:lnu-49914DiVA, id: diva2:906865
Conference
AIC 2015
Note

This paper has the objective to describe a price-winning approach to colour education. The colour education of today is an important building block for all future design. If we can provide our students with state of the art colour education we will get the best future design when it comes to the use of colours. That will include all kinds of design e.g. graphic design, architecture and product design.

In 2014 there was a national competition called Prisad Färg (Award-winning Colour) organized by Swedish Colour Centre Foundation that celebrated its 50 years anniversary. The competition was open to all students of design, architecture, fine art, graphic design and advertisement. Design students from the product design programme at the Linnaeus University won no less than two out of three awards.

The subject of colour is introduced very early in the programme. Students of product design have two weeks of colour theory and workshops in their first semester. In this basic theoretical course the students get to know different colour systems and the advantage of using systems to think, visualise and communicate colour. In the workshops they can train their eyes and skills in mixing and combining colours with different amount of complexity. The workshop ends with a task where students explore the colour language in different contexts and cultures. This lays a ground for four more weeks of colour projects with a exploratory approach. The students phrase their own colour questions and seek answers through research and visual colour representations. In the second year students progress to understanding different contexts of colour. The students continue with light theory and light projects for five more weeks and then proceed with light and colour in space contexts for another five weeks. The three-fold strategy: early introduction, emphasis on colour and continuous progression, has proved to be successful.

1. Introduction

Colour education is not a priority issue for the main part of Swedish design and architectural education. The competition, Awarded-winning colour, was in itself an attempt to emphasize the importance of colour education on a university level as a seed for advanced future colour design and colour research.

To express yourself you need a language. Colour is an important part of the language of visual communication. It is used more or less consciously in the fields of art, design, architecture and visual media. If we regard colour as a media for communication we need to provide our design students with the best tools for using that language. The more skilled the students are in the language of colour, the more they use it and also dare to make advanced colour design. An uncertain and unskilled designer tend to use only "safe" colours and colour combinations and can not use the variety of possibilities in the language of colour to create an excellent design.

2. SYSTEMATIC COLOUR EDUCATION

The aim of colour education at the product design BA programme at Linnaeus University, Sweden is to provide the students with skills to concisely use colour as a tool to make a more efficient design.

To discuss colours students normally use our everyday language and use traditional colour names. However, in order to engage in a professional discussion about colours the spoken language has to be complemented with an efficient and precise vocabulary. Therefore one of the first steps is to provide the students with a common language regarding colours. At Linnaeus University, we have found the NCS colour system (Hård et al 1996) a helpful tool for communication about colour and colour combinations. One of the great advantages with this system is that it allows students to visualise the relations between colours in a visual system consisting of the colour wheel and colour triangles. The same basic structure is also found in other colour systems as e.g. Munsell. NCS is also useful for the students to discover that the naming of colours regarding hue, and perceived amount of blackness, chromaticness and whiteness is a tool for making cognizant colour combinations.

The students learn that there is a variety of different colour systems used for different purposes and in alternative contexts. They learn about Munsell, Pantone, CIELab, CMYK, RGB and how they are related. The main language used in the learning program is the NCS system, mainly because it is clearly based on human perception, easy to understand for students and easily communicated. The design students appreciate the visual representation, which helps them to work with colours in a systematic way.

The foundation of understanding of colour systems makes it is easier for students to proceed to understand different theories regarding colour combinations. The students explore in theory and practice different principles of colour combinations such as complementary colours, likeness and contrasts regarding chromaticness, hue, blackness and whiteness. The students make colour combinations of increasing complexity in workshops and write down their analyses and reflections. At first they have to make their colour work physical with gouache and acrylic colours to give the students a sense of the colour pigments and materiality of colour. The next step is to explore the possibilities of working with colour in the digital world in different computer programmes.

3. COLOUR AND CULTURE

To explore the language of colour the students, on their second week of colour education, are given sixteen different words such as "warm", "cold", "young", "old" that they are asked to express with colour chords consisting of three chosen colours in a given form. This can be compared with a musical chord consisting of three notes. The colour chords are organized on the wall in groups where all chords made from one of the words are clustered together. In this way it is possible to see if there is a common colour language for those words (Figure1). The result is that certain words have a clear likeness when it comes to the chosen colours, while other words have a wider variety. This is a good opportunity for starting a discussion and exploring if there is such a thing as a common colour language and to what extent it is primarily cultural, contextual or individual. To explore these matters the students have to research the use of colours in different contexts, such as art, design, packaging, architecture and visual communication. They also look into the use of colours in different parts of the world, in different cultures and in different historical contexts. This gives a broad understanding of the use of colours and colour combinations in different cultural contexts. 

The three-week-long theoretical and practical block evokes new questions for the students. These are channelled into an individual research question that the student will explore theoretically and practically for further three weeks. The result is presented to the group and also documented in an individual workbook where the teachers can follow the students individual work process, which includes reflections and further questions raised during the project.

4. LIGHT AND SPACE

In the second year the students are supposed to gain a deeper understanding of the perceived colour in relation to light and space. Students explore/observe their perception of colour in different environments and spaces and systematically write down and discuss their observations. The students learn how the perceived colour changes under the influence of different light and spatial conditions. The students build models where they make experiments with light and colours. They also make full-scale experiments with different light sources and different lighting design before they make their own design of a lamp and build it as a functioning prototype. This creates knowledge of the complexity of the relation between perceived colour and the contexts. The basic theory can be found in books but students also need to explore and see how colours in light and space are really perceived and experienced in the real context, to be able to have a full understanding of the impression of light and space on colours.

To ensure that the students will practice and use their colour skills throughout their entire study period they are asked to present and motivate the chosen colours in every project they do. That helps them always remember that the aspects of colour are as important as any other design aspect when it comes to the visual expression.

5. COLOUR RESEARCH

It is important to connect the colour education to current colour research. In the library the students can find literature with colour research to inspire them and inform them, but the students are also used as subjects in various colour studies, both in the lecturers' own projects and in studies carried out by researchers from other universities. In one of the design department's own research studies, 20 students compared perceived colours in glass with 1950 NCS opaque colour charts (Figure 2) and also with NCS colour charts on a computer screen (JUNG et al 2011). In another international linguistic study, 20 students participated and listed Swedish colour names to be compared to colour names in ten other languages. This student participation creates an interest and understanding of colour research. It also shows the dignity and variety of the field of colour. Participation points out the possibility for a future career in research, which may be about questions identified during their colour education that have not yet been answered.

6. CONCLUSIONS

It is essential to introduce colour at an early stage of the BA programme. This means that the students are considering colour as a part of their design and a part of the visual expression. If not introduced early, colour will just be something added to the design at the end and not an integrated part of the design process. Students have different skills and levels of experiences when it comes to colour when they arrive on the programme. This emphasises the need for learning and practicing a colour system, which can be a language that helps the student to think about and communicate colour in a precise way. The introduction of colour systems in general and NCS in particular creates a possibility for students to visualise and understand the relations between colours in their future work. The conclusion is that it is the clear strategy for colour education that is repeatedly implemented throughout the entire programme that fosters award-winning students.

REFERENCES

Bimler, D. L., M. Uusküla  2014, The map is the itinerary: Cognitive color space reconstructed from listing data for 11 European languages Perception 43 ECVP Abstract Supplement, page 68.          

Hård, A., L. Sivik and G. Tonnquist. 1996a. NCS, Natural Color System – from Concept to Research and Applications. Part I. COLOR research and application 21(3): 180-205.

Hård, A., L. Sivik and G. Tonnquist. 1996b. NCS, Natural Color System – from Concept to Research and Applications. Part II. COLOR research and application 21(3): 206-220.

Jung, I., P. Jokela, P. Brandt, and O. Victor. 2012. What is the colour of a glass of wine? Color in food: Technological and Psychophysical Aspects. Boca Raton: CRC Press. 35-41.

Jung, I., P. Jokela, P. Brandt, and O. Victor. 2011. Percieved colour in transparent materials and objects. In AIC 2011 Interaction of Colour & Light in the Arts and Sciences, Midterm Meeting of the International Colour Association, Zurich, Switzerland, 7–10 June 2011: Conference Proceedings, CD, edited by Verena M. Schindler and Stephan Cuber. Zurich: pro/colore, 2011.

Available from: 2016-02-25 Created: 2016-02-25 Last updated: 2017-02-17Bibliographically approved

Open Access in DiVA

No full text in DiVA

Other links

Book of Abstracts

Authority records BETA

Jung, Ivar

Search in DiVA

By author/editor
Jung, Ivar
By organisation
Department of Design
Design

Search outside of DiVA

GoogleGoogle Scholar

urn-nbn

Altmetric score

urn-nbn
Total: 236 hits
CiteExportLink to record
Permanent link

Direct link
Cite
Citation style
  • apa
  • harvard1
  • ieee
  • modern-language-association-8th-edition
  • vancouver
  • Other style
More styles
Language
  • de-DE
  • en-GB
  • en-US
  • fi-FI
  • nn-NO
  • nn-NB
  • sv-SE
  • Other locale
More languages
Output format
  • html
  • text
  • asciidoc
  • rtf