Color Design

Art 2552 (LSU)

ART 2552 examines color as a functional design element of perception and visual communication. In this course we study the history of color classification as well as the natural and cultural significance of color. Students learn common terminology used to categorize and describe color, and how to work with color using both pigment-based and digital methods. Students gain experience in choosing colors and palettes to effectively communicate a message.


Seasonal Palettes Poster Project
Book Covers Project


Painted Color Wheel

A traditional RYB color wheel made with acrylic paints to reacquaint students with the basics of color relationships.

Painted Color Wheel by Ariana Allison
Painted Color Wheel by Adeline LeBouef
Painted Color Wheel by Madison Manale

Painted Value Study

A traditional RYB + gray value study made with acrylic paints to help students recognize the inherent value of colors and practice mixing tints and shades.

Value Study Ariana Allison
Value Study by Journey LeBlanc
Value Study by Chloe Comeaux

Painted Hue Study

Students photograph a banana over a 5-day period, looking for subtle shifts in hue. Each day they capture a 3-color palette based on the banana’s dominant and accent colors.

Hue Study by Christian Rios
Hue Study by Desiree Verrett
Hue Study by Lane San Miguel
Value Study by Xandria Scott-Catoire

Digital Atmospheric Perspective Study

Students choose a base hue and adjust brightness and saturation to imply distance to a templated landscape scene. Students develop the skills to choose colors with precision in Adobe, and understand how to use atmospheric perspective in digital artwork.

Atmospheric Perspective Study by Adrian Randle
Atmospheric Perspective Study by Maggie Terral
Atmospheric Perspective Study by Ali Saunders
Atmospheric Perspective Study by Hudson Hodges

Pixels & Palettes Digital Study

Students select an image to study and submit the title and artist/source. They manually simplify the image down to a 12×12 square ‘pixelated’ image. Then they simplify again to a 6-color proportional palette. We discuss an artist’s process of selecting, expanding, honing, and applying a color palette; this study approximates a reverse of the artist’s process.

Pixels & Palettes Assignment – Study by Desiree Verrett of “Sunshine” by Desiree Verrett
Pixels & Palettes Assignment – Study by Christian Rios of “Impression, Sunrise” by Claude Monet
Pixels & Palettes Assignment – Study by Xandria Scott-Catoire of “Lady in Gold” by Gustav Klimt


Seasonal Palettes Project

Choose a theme: something that changes with the seasons. Use a 5-color proportional palette to represent that theme for each of the 4 seasons. Each color must include a label with CMYK, RGB, and HEX codes. Each palette should make use of tint, shade, and saturation to achieve an overall visual harmony.

Seasonal Palettes by Maggie Terral
Seasonal Palettes by Madison Manale
Seasonal Palettes by Xandria Scott-Catoire

Book Covers

Book covers give readers a small peek into what they’ll experience in the story. For this project you’ll be designing four covers for a single book. Select a book which is in the Public Domain. You will use color to communicate a message to the reader about plot, character, or emotional tone. Consider what colors would help tell this story and why. Use the provided triangle-based grid to create an abstract geometric design. For Cover #1, you may use only one hue (with any value and saturation); for Cover #2, you may use only two hues (with any value and saturation); for Cover #3, you may use only three hues (with any value and saturation). Grayscale is fair game in all covers. Cover #4 is a wild card—ditch the template if you’d like, and use any medium at all—but keep your focus on how COLOR functions in your design!

Book Covers by Xandria Scott-Catoire
Book Covers by Madison Manale
Book Covers by Rhondé Boutté
Book Covers by Christian Rios
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