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Color Theory


TABLE OF CONTENTS 02 03 05 15 22 23 30 31 41 42 49 53 58 59 66

M.01 Color + Me M.02 Color + Theory M.03 Color + Designer M.04 Color + Psychology + Film M.05 Color + Balance M.06 Color + Photography M.07 Color + Rhythm M.08 Color + Emphasis_Retail Space M.09 Color + Proportions + Scale + Unity + Harmony M.10 Color + Hospitality M.11 Color + Rendering M.12 Color + Workplace M.13 Color + Catch Up M.14 Color + Culture M.15 Color + Conclusion

M. 01 Color + Me My name is Brianna Hunter and I am currently attending Florida International University and seeking my Master’s in Interior Architecture. In 2013, I received my Associate’s degree in Paralegal Studies. After working at a law firm for two years I decided that my heart was in the field of design. A Florida native, I was born in Fort Pierce. After moving to Miami to pursue a career in design, I was enveloped in a cultural and artistically diverse environment. My journey through this program has exposed me to new passions and self-discovery. Before my journey to South Florida, I studied several fields including paralegal studies, graphic design, business and education. None of which captivated and inspired me to branch out and explore the world. In my travels, I have only seen parts of New York and Mississippi. As my New Year’s resolution, I made a promise to myself to get out more. I want to see snow and mountains for the first time and maybe even leave the country!


M. 02 Color + Theory Learning Objectives

- Identify and use basic color vocabulary. - Understand the basics of color schemes. - Comprehend how the human eye perceives color. - Describe the function of light in the perception of color. - Recognize the diversity of color principles, theories, and systems.


This chapter introduced key terms and definitions to allow a better understanding of the impact color has both physically and psychologically. 03

M. 03 Color + Designers

Learning Objectives

- Understand the relationship between design concept and the use of color. - Design a presentation that explains information in an accessible way. - Design a presentation that follows a concept and palette. - Compile information gathered from different sources into a cohesive presentation. - Clearly present an analysis of a designer and a project. 04

qiora store and spa




Art Director: Aoshi Kudo

Architecture Research Office was commissioned to design a day spa and retail space that would serve as the flagship for Japan’s Shiseido Cosmetics. Aoshi Kudo was designated as the lead designer for the project. Born in Tokyo in 1964, Kudo graduated from the Tokyo University of the Arts in 1988. That same year he joined Shiseido, where he was involved in developing designs for both domestic and overseas markets.



qiora products The word Qiora, which means “light from within,” is the name of the holistic skin care brand launched in 2001 by Japan’s Shiseido Cosmetics. The main store in the United States is located on Madison Avenue in New York. It was there, where Kudo was able to conceptualize a space based on the product design itself. It was his objective to create a built manifestation of the brand’s vision. 07

color scheme

monochromatic The Qiora Store and Spa consists of three distinct shades of blue. For an element of cohesion, Kudo stayed true to the product design color pallet and only utilized a monochromatic color scheme in the space. Monochromatic color schemes are derived from a single base hue and can be extended by using its shades, tones and tints. Kudo mainly used tints of blue which were achieved by adding white to compliment the use of white accessories. This addition of white gives the space a sense of openness to further reinforce the concept of “light from within.�




Blue organza fabric veils are suspended from twenty-foot ceilings to create visual and strategic boundaries between retail and treatment spaces. These layered panels dematerialize the solid surfaces of the round spa cabins. Again, to stay true to the color pallet, the panels consist of milky white, aqua, and darker blues, which were carefully overlapped to offer privacy and illumination of the interior. 09


Store front windows offer expansive views on the interior as the fabric veils create a sense of transparency in the space.



Lighting plays a significant role in the design of this space. Qiora’s Store and Spa incorporates a computer controlled lighting system that transitions from warm white light to cooler tones as the day proceeds. The diffusion of light through organza gives a very natural feel, simulating an experience similar to a cloud passing over the sun.


floor plan




With mindful attention to detail, Aoshi Kudo was able to create an area that exudes a concise relationship between interior space and product design. This defined connection establishes a sense of majestic clarity. The use of various tints of blues and white ascend the guests to feel clean and force them to open into the space. This may also be a metaphorical connection to the holistic skincare products, to feel cleansed and open.



M. 04 Color + Psychology + Film Analysis Learning Objectives


- Understand that each person responds to color differently. - Start to identify how their personal experiences influence their response. - Realize that color can effect people’s health. - Understand how color relates and changes under varying conditions in interior spaces. - Know the three key concepts of color perception. - Understand that color should be integrated into every phase of the design process. - Distinguish between the perceptual properties and associations of common colors. - Identify seven distinct types of color contrast.





PLOT SUMMARY With a warm color palette, cinematographer, Hoyte Van Hoytema created a specific identity for this film. Her tells a story of a sensitive and wholehearted man named Theodore Twombly who develops a relationship with an artificial intelligence operating system named Samantha. This character is personified with a female voice and a vivacious personality that Theodore is immediately drawn to. The story takes place in a retro-modern future that depicts the consumption of human life by social media. The color scheme, with a mindful focus on primary colors, not only creates beautiful imagery but also builds an environment around you, the viewer. An example of this built environment would be Theodore’s office, “Beautiful Handwritten Letters.” It is there where Mr. Twombly earns a living writing personal letters of others’ experiences. Depleted by the mundane, Samantha consoles Theodore through a divorce and introduces the concept of change. As the psychology and perception of film development continues to evolve it has become essential for directors to visually appeal to human emotions. This film incorporates color aesthetics to do just that.



Production designer K.K. Barrett explained Theodore’s temperament is described as the color red to show his passion, compassion, loneliness, and hopefulness. Throughout the motion picture, Theodore’s wardrobe majorly consists of a vibrant red which is also the color associated with the operating system, Samantha. Towards the end of the film, Samantha is erased from Theodore’s life which leaves him feeling lost and abandoned. This transition is symbolized by the stark contrast of white to depict his emptiness.



In the very first scene, Theodore is surrounded by this color palette, red and pink (as shown in the first image). Acting as the visual theme, you will find these two colors used throughout the film. Jonze’s utilized red to represent the definition of Theodore’s passion and loneliness. Whereas pink has a negative association of being physically weakening. This is demonstrated by predominantly taking place in the “Beautiful Handwritten Letters” office to symbolize that he is being held back or confined.

PALETTE PINK (negative meaning) Lack of will power, a lack of self-reliance/ self-worth RED (character definition) Passion, compassion, loneliness, and hopefulness BROWN (negative meaning) Gloom,melancholy, boredom, and comfort of home


BLUE (negative meaning) Introversion and sadness

PALETTE YELLOW (negative meaning) Nervous, uncertain and insecure Green (negative meaning) Envy, anger and resentment OLIVE GREEN (negative meaning) Vulnerable, deep in thought

BEIGE (negative meaning) A strong need for security

A N A LY S I S : Y E L L O W SYMBOLISM: DISCOMFORT & DOUBT This color palette is majorly associated with the character’s discomfort and uncertainty in various scenes. For example, Theodore is set up on a blind date which is a new and uncomfortable experience for him. Yellow is again seen during an interaction between himself and his god daughter. It becomes immediately apparent that Theodore is uncomfortable when the topic addressing details about his relationship with Samantha. The combination of these situations emotionally convey Theodore’s personal experiences of discomfort and encounters with the unknown.



White is predominately used in scenes that reference flashbacks or memories with Theodore’s ex-wife. This female character is always seen wearing white to represent the whirlwind of emotions associated with getting a divorce. Theodore also takes a liking to the white environment to depict sadness when he and Samantha experience dating issues.


M. 05 Color + Balance Learning Objectives

- Understand the different components of balance. - Distinguish between symmetry, asymmetry, and radial balance. - Be able to discuss how visual balance is a relationship between the observer and the observed. - Know the types of color balance: value contrast [light and dark], hue balance [complimentary], and intensity contrast [bright and dull]. - Understand the concepts of color within the 3D environment and identify the horizontal and vertical possibilities. 22

M. 06 Color + Photography

Learning Objectives


- Get your camera or phone. - Go somewhere you want to go. - Take pictures. Have fun. - Edit the images in Photoshop. - Create a slide show.







M. 07 Color + Rhythm Learning Objectives

- Discuss the concept of rhythm. What it is, Where it originates, and How it is used in design. - Distinguish between repetition, alternation, progression, continuation, and radiation.


M. 08 Color + Emphasis+ Retail Analysis Learning Objectives

- Understand how color and contrast can create focal points in a space. - Distinguish emphasis from value, hue, textures, and shapes. - Discuss the use of color as a way-finding tool. - Utilize the fact that people see color first and then the object.









“40 years ago, I created L’OCCITANE with a desire to preserve the authentic traditions of Provence and to share this wonderful land with the world.” - Olivier Baussan


Founded in Provence, France in 1976, L’OCCITANE utilizes the power of plants as the driving force of design. Their organic beauty products symbolize the relationship between nature and man.

Flagship Store: 640 Lincoln Road, Miami Beach, FL 33139 34




The immortelle and lavender flower produce a cohesive

complementary color pallet using hues of yellow

and violet to intensify the experience. Black lines are used to frame and emphasize merchandise which further creates a contrast between the vibrancy of the products.



uses the contrast of values to delineate merchandise. As shown, various shades of red, yellow and violet are found in the displays. Products with a high saturation have a potent fragrance such as perfumes or body oils whereas the lighter colored products have a less intense scent i.e. lotions, body washes and facial creams.




To establish hierarchy of information, L’OCCINTANE incorporated a visual time line that catalogs the company’s lifespan of 40 years. This creates a graphic emphasis on the history of L’OCCITANE and defines the brand. Spanning the entire length of the retail space and the height of the second floor, this design feature demands customers’ attention. 37



Acting as the brand symbol, bushels of immortelle and lavender can be spotted throughout the space. These dried flowers not only emphasize the integration of organic ingredients found in the products but also establishes a contrast of texture between the smooth surfaces. L’OCCITANE also uses various types of wood with rough and polished finishes to highlight that contrast. 38



Immediately walking into the retail space your eyes follow the ascending line of a large stairway. This vertical path continues to meet a colossal arrangement of immortelle. As this plant acts the brand’s symbol, this focal point is impossible to miss. 39



M. 09 Color + Proportion + Scale Learning Objectives

- Understand that using a proportion system can provide an accurate color proportions. - Discuss the difference between scale and proportion. - Accept that building models to study things is an effective strategy. - Utilize the repetition of color to unify a design. - Implement color gradation in a design to distinguish similar but different elements.


M. 10 Color + Variety + Hospitality Learning Objectives

- Understand that using color in conjunction with line, shape, texture, and pattern gives the designer the capacity to add visual stimuli and create a variety of experiences for the users of the built environment. - Identify how color and variety are used in hospitality environments.


COLOR + VARIETY Hospitality Analysis


Project: Mondrian Hotel Designer: Marcel Wanders Location: South Beach, FL

INTERIOR Hotel Entrance


MAIN LOBBY Discussion+ Analysis

Set on the breathtaking waterfront of Biscayne Bay, Mondrian South Beach captures the energy of Miami. The lobby embodies the phrase “see-and-be-seen� offering spectacular views of the Bay with the floor to ceiling curtain wall. PATTERN Represents the repetitive arrangement of shape and colors. Mondrian explores the systematic use of cur ved lines which creates an organic and peaceful atmosphere. The use of the cur ve is maintained throughout the space with flooring, furniture design and even the iconic stair way. SHAPE The continuity of cur ved lines offers a dynamic experience of relaxation with a touch of femininity. The traditional black and white color palette emphasizes important features in the space as well, represents fluid movement. TEXTURE Is explored with various materials and finishes to create visual contrast. The high-gloss floor finish acts as a reflective blanket, producing an effect of seamlessly floating over the surface. LINES The cascading stair way acts as the connective focal point of the main lobby. By communicating action and indicating linear movement the viewer is forced to follow the intricate railing to ascend to the next level.

EXTERIOR Sunset Lounge


SUNSET LOUNGE Discussion+ Analysis

Shifting from the refined black , white and gold color palette, this exterior space creates a dynamic and playful experience while remaining true to the contrasting emphasis of vintage furnishings and modern architecture. PATTERN To reinforce cohesion, the use of cur ved elements is seen throughout the exterior pool and lounge area. SHAPE Exaggerated forms and cur ved lines play a critical role in the overall design of this project to further emphasize and promote relaxation. TEXTURE Through the exploration of surface, we see the continued use of white to contrast and minimize the use of the vibrant complementar y colors. Red accessories dominate the space to add drama. Another feature that explores texture is the private seating areas. Here, you feel as if you were enveloped by nature. LINES This exterior space being one of the most significant areas, as shown through circulation and hierarchy, is decorated with large gazebo/ lounges. The whimsical essence captured in the stark white canopy blowing in the breeze only draws the viewer closer to the beautiful Biscayne Bay.


h t t p s : / / w w w . morganshotelgroup. c o m / m o n d r i a n / mondrian-south-beach http://www.marcelwanders. com/interiors/mondriansouth-beach,-miami/ 48

M. 11 Color + Rendering Learning Objectives

- Choose a color palette from the selected images. - Download the .psd image for rendering. - Watch the tutorials for rendering. - Review the folder about Materials. - Render the image at least once.



Color + Rendering

This image and color palette was derived from a vibrant succulent plant which is known for its ability to store water to resist droughts. Aloe being a species of the succulent family, their leaves have a thick and flesh-like appearance to accommodate water retention.



I was not only attracted to the various colors but also the textures this image strongly conveys.

Accent 1

Accent 2

Accent 3 Color


Bal ance 50

Double Complementary Scheme This color scheme is close to a double complementary, using 5 colors in total. Beginning with purple and green, there are two complementary pairs which vary with the exposure to white and gray creating tints and tones. The cool palette is balanced with the warm red-violet to add contrast. Following the 60-30-10 design strategy, the darker tones act as the dominate and secondary colors whereas the vibrant green is an accent.


Is associated with growth, harmony and nature.


Symbolizes mystery, extravagance, and intelligence 51

Color + Rendering


M. 12 Color + Workplace Learning Objectives

- Understand that using color in conjunction with line, shape, texture, and pattern gives the designer the capacity to add visual stimuli and create a variety of experiences for the users of the built environment. - Identify how color and variety are used in WORKPLACE environments.



COLOR + VARIETY Workplace Design Analysis

P R O J E C T: O n e W o r k p l a c e DESIGNER: Design Blitz L O C AT I O N : S a n t a C l a r a , C A




The One Workplace Headquarters offers an innovative and unique experience blending the elegance of their Steel-case furniture with f u n c t i o n a l i t y. T h e d e s i g n e r i n t e g r a t e d playful shapes and textures in this world-class office space. The entrance into the facility is dressed with a custom perforated wall, creating an abstraction of curved lines which we see again in the interior showroom a n d l o b b y a r e a . A l o n g t h e e x t e r i o r, this wall dressing acts as a navigating barrier of pattern and shadows to emphasis the interior spaces. The iconic green-wall adds an element of natural textures and creates a form of way-finding, leading you further into the workplace. The circulation throughout the space is very linear and open to further emphasize the significant spaces with lines and expansive views.


Va r i e t y i s a d e s i g n p r i n c i p a l t h a t i s conveyed through one or more color elements that use line, shape, texture and pattern to create diversity and contrast in an interior space.



COLOR + VARIETY The designer created a dynamic experience with the use of a monochromatic color palette partnered with various accent colors (green, purple, blue and red) to add emphasis and contrast. This array of vibrant colors is a double complementary. Green and purple are more frequently found throughout the space whereas blue and red are only seen in small lounge areas.


CONCLUSION + EXPERIENCE Each of the different design elements come together to allow this space to really flourish. Even when analyzing textile and lighting choices, I see that the One Workplace wanted to create an emphasis between the curved showroom area and the employee work space. This critical relationship is further seen through line and shape. My interpretation of this gesture symbolizes the company’s goal to blur the boundaries between both employees and customers; making this office space a more communal and fun environment.


M. 13 Color + Catch Up


M. 14 Color + Culture Learning Objectives

- Have developed knowledge of the historical, cultural, and symbolic meanings of color. - Understand that religious, political, and social values shape color symbolism and meaning. - Understand that color planning should consider cross-cultural differences.


COLOR + CULTURE Being a multi-racial individual, my culture stems from several countries but I am most intrigued by my heritage from Spain. I have yet to visit this country but I am drawn the vibrant use of colors and cultural festivities. Spain was once the most sought after pieces of land. After being conquered by the Carthaginians and the Arabs, the Catholic monarchs recovered Spain and created the powerful empire we know today.




As one of the dominate colors of the Spanish flag, red represents bravery, strength and hardiness. Among the Spanish culture, yellow is the symbol of generosity.

This color is often found in cultural events such as flamenco dresses and bullfighting and is associated with aggression. Blue signifies purity, heaven and mourning and is often found in churches supporting the Catholic faith as shown to the right.

MY COUNTRY: SPAIN The colors found in my culture are historically significant making this vibrant color palette a connective thread throughout the cityscape. They are reminiscent of their struggle for freedom and their relationship with the Catholic church. The Spanish flag was designed my King Charles III in 1785 which was represented by the bold red and yellow banner. In 1938, the elaborate coat of arms was added. Spain is widely known for festivals such as La Tomatina which is an hour-long tomato food fight, Mediterranean beaches, the dance of Flamenco, and of course the famous La Sagrada Familia designed by architect, Antoni Gaudi himself.

This color is heavily associated with power and death. We can see this display of dominance with the Matador’s festive wardrobe. 62



The color of Sunday, represents achievement, fortune, dignity, virtue and life. This color is often reserved for high ranks. Yellow symbolizes freedom from worldly cares, grounded, and stable. It also represents the national yellow flower, cassia fistula. Among Buddhist culture, orange signifies wisdom and divinity.

Blue represents kindness, peace, compassion and harmony.

Thailand being very fertile and lush, green signifies, vitality, karma, harmony, balance.

THAILAND This country is known for its religious influence in Buddhism. With its diverse geography, friendly people, and breathtaking scenery, the “Land of a Thousand Smiles� is one of the most popular tourist destination in South East Asia. Similar to Spain, Thailand integrated a vibrant color palette that was derived from its significance of history and religion. The Thailand flag was adopted in 1917. Red is believed to symbolize blood at the beginning and end of life’s journey, white is the purity of the Buddhist Faith and blue represents the monarchy. In Buddhist culture, yellow and orange are often worn by monks to symbolize their spiritual journey to reach nirvana. Temples are decorated in elaborate gold, white and red ornamentation to establish visual hierarchy. 64

REFERENCES articles/TranslatingColours. pdf culture/spain/history/ topic/flag-of-Spain http://www.everyculture. com/Sa-Th/Thailand.html http://www. guides/thailand/culture-inthailand/ 65

M. 15

Color + Conclusion

Evaluating and perceiving color with this glorified perspective is not only tantalizing but also inspiring. Throughout this course I have explored the psychological relationship color has on the mind and through variation and repetition can shape an environment. I often find myself obsessing over spaces and I never really understood why until this class. I am looking forward to using the knowledge I have gained and applying these “color theory� concepts to interior spaces I create.


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