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The Designer's Guide to Color Combinations [Hardcover]

Leslie Cabarga
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)

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Book Description

March 15 1999

If you're from the "I don't know zip about color - but I know what I like" school of color theory, this book's for you. You won't find color wheels or lectures on color harmony here . . . just 500+ tried-and-true color combinations derived from actual design work - posters, packages, even giftware - created over the past century by designers, artists and color experts. You'll find historical color combinations from the Victorian period, Art Deco era, Far-out Sixties, Rave craze - plus current color combinations, such as limited color, "bad color" and much more. Even if you don't know what you're looking for, you'll know it when you see it here.

It's not just what colors you use, but how you use them. That's why the color combinations in this book are arranged in simple, sample layouts rather than pages of out-of-context swatches. Complete with color formulas in CMYK, these layouts show you which colors work for backgrounds, borders, type, outlines, panels and small text, so you can easily adapt them to your designs.

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Product Details

Product Description

From Library Journal

This wonderful book is about color and design, but it is not a book of theory that begins with color wheels, primary colors, secondary colors, and color harmony. Instead, it offers design examples from the past century: Victorian, Art Deco, Sixties, Raves, etc., with each illustration including Cmyk color formulas. Cmyk is the color-processing system used by printers and also Photoshop, i.e., you can add in the Cmyk for any color in the book and duplicate it in Photoshop or other paint programs. Along with design examples, there are also chapters on current color styles, limited colors, and "bad color," which actually is pretty cool. Designers will love this book for the examples; others can simply select great colors that go together.
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Good Book March 3 2014
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I like this book, it has a good layout and some nice colour schemes, though felt that it could have been better if it offered more schemes per section. If (for example) you did a lot of '50s retro, you'd be using the same colour scheme over and over... Still good to have on the shelf when stumped for colour pallets.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Illustrator's CMYK dream come true! Sept. 17 2006
This book is a wonderful quick reference for illustrators hoping to capture the feeling of a particular era with color. Having the CMYK values accessible, as well as examples of their uses in historical artwork is extremely useful. A must have for the modest illustrator's library.
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This is the first volume of two, the second being 'The Designer's Guide To Global Color Combinations. I own both and I regard them as simply unmissable, because I use as well for recreative as practical purposes.
Each page offers a depiction of a work of art, which may be painting, illustration, texture, fabric. The main piece always has a short description (artist, origin, media) and a personal note by the author why the piece is so eyestriking.
All pieces are catalogued according to time and style, so you'll find art deco, popart, contemporary, ... styles but also 'bad' use of color.
However, this is NOT a book about color theory. The approach is subjective and you may find that your views differ with the author because the appreciation of coloruse is personal (which the author also underlines).
Never the less this is also an outstanding objective guide to historical color use during the centuries starting from the late 19th century till now.
For computer artists it also offers CMYK values, as well for the main piece, and variations on it.
If there would be one negative point, it's only that there is not a cd added with all the palettes, so you would not have to type in the values. And, for people operating mainly in RGB color space, as the book cover states: no RGB values. (you'll find these in the second volume, but for some strange reason they were not added in this first volume).
Despite this small point of criticism: this guide is a work of art unique in it's category. There is nothing that even comes close to the work of endurance the author has done, to offer the reader a practical and inspirational guide to color combining.
A guide you'll browse and browse again.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Amazing resource book... June 14 2002
By A Customer
I love this book, it makes my life so much easier coming up with color combinations that work. The best part is that it covers over a century's worth of color schemes, from dark earthy tones of the victorian period to the bright colors of today.
There are so many different color combinations to look at, each with a different variation as well. They're all in CMYK too, which makes it easier since I'm not familiar with the Pantone system a lot of books on color use.
The only drawback to this book is that it doesn't teach you how to create your own successful color schemes, so you'll need another book on color for that. This book tells you to look at the things around you for inspiration although it never tells you how to convert those colors to CMYK mode.
If you have a book or two on the science and practices of good color design, then you'll definately need this for a quick reference to some applied real world design.
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5.0 out of 5 stars If I'd ever lose it, I'd buy it again! Jan. 12 2002
This book fulfilled every expectation I had prior to its arrival, that is - it's not a color theory book in any way. It has no color wheels, nor does it theorize about complementary colors and the like. It's a collection of suggested color combinations - usually combinations which I'd never think of. And that's where the real value is!
In the samples, you can easily notice which is the 'base' color and which colors 'match' in different situations. And each sample itself has some printed design-like feel, which makes it incredibly more usable than ordinary swatches in other books.
Just by flipping the pages I found (color) suggestions for the designs I'm working at.
Ah, and the book is also beautiful.
If you're looking for color inspiration rather than theory, add this one to your basket!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Practical Inspiration Oct. 18 2001
Rather than just show color combinations in a vacuum, this book uses real examples from different design periods to demonstrate the use of color. Great as both a reference and inspiration. Also just plain nice to look at.
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3.0 out of 5 stars disapointing but still of value Feb. 14 2001
By A Customer
the premise of this book is interesting in that it attempts to deconstruct the color content from various art pieces though the past century. I was really excited to recieve the book and was looking forward to reading it, but was disappointed.
Not all of the colors appearing in the piece shown were always represented. And I didn't think that the layouts redone with the chosen colors were creative or accurate in the reflection of the proportions of the pieces' color. In fact in more than one instance, I felt the most important accent color was left out of the breakdown all together. That made me mistrust the accuracy of the paletes presented that were based on other pieces for mthe same time period, but without showing the piece itself.
All in all, the book is interesting from a historical sense, and I will definitely derive some value from it, but i felt it was lacking in it's attention to detail. Unfortunately, because color is all about attention to detail, it's lack of it does undermine the book's intrinsic value.
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