Graphic Design for Beginners Part 3 - Learn and Apply Effective Color | Chad Neuman, Ph.D. | Skillshare

Playback Speed

  • 0.5x
  • 1x (Normal)
  • 1.25x
  • 1.5x
  • 2x

Graphic Design for Beginners Part 3 - Learn and Apply Effective Color

teacher avatar Chad Neuman, Ph.D., Professor, Graphic Designer, Digital Media Expert

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

    • 1.

      Introduction to Color in Graphic Design


    • 2.

      Color Terminology in Graphic Design


    • 3.

      Color Wheels and Harmony in Graphic Design


    • 4.

      [PROJECT] Create a Color Wheel


  • --
  • Beginner level
  • Intermediate level
  • Advanced level
  • All levels

Community Generated

The level is determined by a majority opinion of students who have reviewed this class. The teacher's recommendation is shown until at least 5 student responses are collected.





About This Class

In this third part of the Graphic Design for Beginners Series, you will learn and apply effective colors and design a color wheel. Note: Please enroll in part 1 of this series by clicking on my profile and finding Graphic Design for Beginners Part 1 in order to download the support files or navigate to

Meet Your Teacher

Teacher Profile Image

Chad Neuman, Ph.D.

Professor, Graphic Designer, Digital Media Expert


I love seeing students succeed in their designs, writings, productions, and careers!

I'm currently a full-time university professor of graphic design and digital journalism. I've taught classes on design, photography, and writing for the past eight years. My university students have become full-time, award-winning photographers, web designers, creative specialists, reporters, and layout designers. 

And now, you can learn from me as well!

Get started by enrolling in my courses and learning new skills. I've worked as internet development director at an award-winning advertising design firm, as managing editor at two graphic design magazines, as webmaster at a regional newspaper, and have been a freelance graphic designer and writer for the past 20 years. I have a... See full profile

Level: Beginner

Class Ratings

Expectations Met?
  • 0%
  • Yes
  • 0%
  • Somewhat
  • 0%
  • Not really
  • 0%

Why Join Skillshare?

Take award-winning Skillshare Original Classes

Each class has short lessons, hands-on projects

Your membership supports Skillshare teachers

Learn From Anywhere

Take classes on the go with the Skillshare app. Stream or download to watch on the plane, the subway, or wherever you learn best.


1. Introduction to Color in Graphic Design: Congratulations. You've completed all the projects and completed all the lectures for the graphic design principle sections of this course. In this course, we're gonna be going over color Thea Amazing power of color. How to color Coordinate in graphic design how to come up with color schemes and graphic design in in design, Illustrator and Photoshopped and how those work together using color codes and for the practical project. For the section, you'll create a color wheel using Adobe Illustrator using color codes. The purpose behind this section is to understand the basics of color theory and how effective color can be applied in graphic designs where they're creating an advertisement Photoshopped a magazine in in design or a logo in illustrator. So let's get started. 2. Color Terminology in Graphic Design: Let's go over some primary terms and concepts and color in the context of graphic design. First of all, there's Hugh when we say, What color is it as in what color is that new car? What color is the background on that Web page? We answer by saying something like blue or orange or even yellow, orange or navy blue. This is the hue. He was the pure color, though, and it's the difference between red and green, blue and green, yellow and blue and so on. Next we have the value of a color, also called lightness or tone. So when photographers talk about the tone ality in an image they're talking about the range of light and the quality of light in an image value is how light or dark the color is. In painting, an artist can mix white pain with blue paint toe, lighten the value of the blue, and an artist can also mix black paint with blue pain too dark and the value of the blue. This is called shading and tinting, adding black to a huge make it darker shading, while tenting is when the hue has made lighter a color with a lightness of 0% would be black. To adjust the lightness in a photo, go ahead and open up photo shop file open, and you can open one of the photos that we used earlier in the Design Principles folder. And if you go to image adjustments earlier, we're going toe levels and curves, and that does affect the totality of the image. You can also do these, though down at the bottom of the layers panel. If you don't see that, just got a window and then make sure layers is selected and you want to add adjustment layer because then that effect is alive. You can edit it later. You can also just be a pass ity of it, which I'll show you. So just tonality. One way is to create a new address. Milan girdle levels, and it looks slightly different. But it's pretty much the same menu from if you went to image adjustment levels, and you can just affect the mid tones you can affect. The dark areas became darker. Make the light areas lighter and so on, and you could make the darker areas lighter, lighter areas darker. So once you have an effect that you like, just close it out and then you can click this icon right here. There's before, and then there's after adjusting the tonality of the image, you know, So double click it and it's a live effect, So then you can change it as well. And if you want to affect the strength of this effect, how strong it looks, you can affect the opacity right here. So if you bring that down, it's just not gonna be as strong oven effect. You can also create a new adjustment layer not just curves, but also even exposure. So this will simulate a faster shutter speed. So you have dark and exposure or slower shutter speed where you're letting more light in, and that just makes a brighter or darker photo as well. So explore a lot of those adjustment layers. All these have to do with light right here, right? This contrast levels curves and exposure, and these down here affect the color more. For example, you can go to image adjustment to saturation, or you can add a hue saturation adjustment layer, make sure hit his bottom photo layer selected. I'm gonna turn these effects off just so we're adding an effect here at a new adjustment layer for hue saturation, and in here I can affect the hue. So we're talking about the hue earlier, and it religious cull arises. That photo gives it emphasizes a certain here that we're going to. He also called Color Rise, and then it's truly just almost like a gray scale but tended to a specific color. And here you can also affect the lightness, so lightness all the way down would be black and all the way up to would be complete white , so you can affect that there, too. So these relate toe light appear, and then all of these relate to color down here, including hue saturation, which will cover next another term to know its saturation, which is also called chroma. It refers to house saturated a color is we can affect how saturated the color is by raising or lowering the saturation and photo shopped. For example, a completely de saturated color or photo is black and white, or a gray scale image contrast is simply that the contrast between various colors. It can also refer to contrast between light and dark values in a photo or design some photo shop. It's pretty easy to effect how saturated a photo is. I just open another one from the support files back from the design principle lesson plans . So go ahead and open up whichever one you want, and it's have an image of the beach here, and we can go to image adjustments, hue saturation. But let's just make this adjustment layer instead. So so click. Then add a new adjustment layer icon on the bottom of the Layers panel. Bring this over a little bits you can see and then go to Hue saturation. And this is a pretty cool panel here because we can bring this saturation. Bring it all the way. The left. It's gray scale and bring all the way to the right supersaturated. It can look pretty fake unless you're going for some special effect for a client. I mean, there's not really reason to go that far over to make that colors pop out. Now. You could do this selectively if you make it pop out like that and then you think it's too strong in certain areas, you can paint black with the brush, so if you just flip this so that the foreground is black here and then use the brush tool and use the right and left brackets on the keyboard and you can mask out. So, like so you didn't want this background to be saturated like that, going to foreground or vice first, you can paint, say, think the foreground color was finding the original while we're masking out that effect there. But then we have that blue popping out in the background. So that's one way to affect saturation. In Photoshop, we talked about grayscale well, One way to do that in Photoshopped four Design is just adding and do adjustment layer. And then you go to black and white, and you can really affect the tone ality or the lighting, just the levels of each color. Even though it's a black and white photo, you can really customize its give really kind of rich tonality, a lot of content in there. We also need to go over color modes, so if you go to image mode, you can look up here. This is RGB that short for red, green, blue, and then you see, there's also seem like a RGB is really designing for the screen there. Certain file mood that won't work with seem like a You can't save miss him like a for example, PNG, which is really meant for the Web. This is a J peg file, so we can convert it to, for example, seem like a And it'll say, Hey, we're switching this to a new color profile eccentric center, um, or you go to image mode. Goto RGB can switch it back rgb a short for red, green, blue and then seem like a A short for science. Magenta yellow black RGB is additive color. It's additive color mode, meaning that it's light based. So you think about websites anything that basically is evolving light with color. It's gonna be using this kind of color mode. RGB add up together to eventually just become white light in seem like a really it's cm. Why cyan, Magenta yellow that combined together it's subtract of color mode. It's also called reflective color mode, so those colors add up and they eventually become black. It's not perfect, though. That's why we have to have kay or key toe make that pure black color. For example, text when you're printing. So when we're working in in design, we're offering going to be using CM like a color modes because it's often used for print. Now some printers will print an RGB. But if you're designed for the screen, you're gonna be using RGB. Definitely so J. Peg as well as PNG. We'll save those an RGB for the Web J. Peg can be saved for seem like a as well if it's in a print context. So if you have a basic understanding of the fundamental terms of color, so I will see in the next lesson thanks. 3. Color Wheels and Harmony in Graphic Design: to apply color effectively in a design. We need to be familiar with color wheels and color harmony. There different types of color wheels. The Basic Artists color wheel has yellow, orange, red, violet, blue and green. And then the expanded version includes Hughes between those, for example, not just blue and purple, but also blue purple. It was yellow orange, which is between orange and yellow. The primary colors of the artist color wheel are red, yellow and blue, and then secondary colors are orange, green and violet, and then tertiary colors are the combinations of primary color and the secondary color next to it for the artist color wheel, it's yellow, orange, red, orange, red, violet, blue, violet, blue, green and yellow green. There's also RGB color wheel, for example. They have primary colors, which of course, are red, green, blue and then secondary and tertiary colors as well. Using the color real is one that way to figure out color harmony. Colors opposite on the color wheel are called complementary colors. Colors next to each other on the color wheel are called analogous colors. There many ways to set up a color scheme in a design. I have photo shop open here and one of the photos from the support pas for the design principles. And if you want to follow along, just go. And now open up a photo and ever on the tools, pain will have eyedropper tool If you just click somewhere that will set the foreground color down here. Tow whatever color that you're clicking on the pixel doing, click that and actually tell us what color it's picking. And we have RGB levels are here red, green, blue And then we also have seemed like a sigh in magenta yellow key. So really, depending on what your output mode is gonna be a sfar a czar you going to print? Are you going to design this for the screen? You can specify whatever you want. RGB seem okay or the web. Ah Hexi decimal six digit color code down there you can go to image mode and see were in RG beat it. But if I go to see him like a all right, it's gonna convert it and I go back to this. I drive a tool and click whichever. I still have the RGB options here in Siem Locate right So it's just the comparable Hughes, whichever one you select, whether it's percentages for the seem like a or RGB levels. But the output the file is going to be seeing, what k once we turn it over to see him like a and vice versa. If we send it to RGB mode that we're gonna save it as different types of files, you can set up swatches in photo shop and the other w programs. Eso if you gotta swatches here, we have some default, right? So you can instead of just selecting something out of here, we can just unified drew something or a types, um, text out. You can set, you know, whatever you want as far as the color here. And if you pull the swatches, paint a lot here and just click this down era in the upper right hand corner. There bunch of presets. Now Pantone, we haven't covered yet so seem like a is a process color system, so it might look a little bit different on certain types of paper, for example, and it might just very slightly depending on the medium. That's why a lot of companies use Pantone instead and you can select those and see all the different types of Pantone colors here in their uniform. And, for example, IBM has a specific color they use. They actually pay extra. If it's in a print edition. The magazine might you seem like a to print. But then they actually is Pantone for their specific branding if they were running an advertisement in a magazine, for example. So Pantone is spot color, seeing McKay's process color and RG bees for the screen, of course, and you can save swatches if you have a custom color here that you like. You can, of course, added to a swatch of you. Click this and go add two swatches. You can load up different swatches. You can save swatches if you create a color scheme and just want to use it for different projects. You can save it as this watch is well over an illustrator. If you go ahead and open that up, they have someone called a colored Guide. So just go to file New and illustrator just create a new shape here and for rectangle tool . I'm gonna had some kind of fill here. All right, I draw it out and then I got a window. And then you've got color. Of course, which is just basically you can change different colors, right? If you click here, you can change it from RGB Seem like a web safe RGB grayscale and so on. You have HSP, which is hue, saturation, brightness. But you can also go to a window and then color guide. And this is a really cool tool in illustrator. So we have the base color here and then if you click, this is down there here. We've got complimentary, which we talked about opposite side of the color wheel. Right? So if you had one shape here and you just gonna use the oh, click and drag, just draw another shape out duplicated. And then I can set this one to this color here. And then we've got a complementary color scheme so you can also do split complimentary. Then there's some other ones. Analogous, monochromatic. Try at a bunch of different color schemes, so that's pretty useful as well again. You can goto window and then swatches and he have swatches. And here as well a bunch of different colors. They have seemed like a blue green, red, yellow. You click up here. Ah, you have to go. One more step down here where it says open Swatch library and you have a bunch of different swatches. And here's well, a color books. Those are some industry standard colors where we see the Pantone again and you've got a cool certain colors air cool like blue, for example, and other ones air brighter or warmer like orange and red, for example, even have someone skin tones, patterns and someone If you go ahead and open up in design, this one has a really cool tool. Of course, it has the basic I driver told, just like Photoshopped does right. But if you go to the color theme tool, you can click on a photo, and it creates a color theme for using Hughes out of that raster image. That photo that's pixel based. You can click this arrow here, and you can adjust it a little bit toward more muted, colorful and so on. And if you click this right here, it'll add to swatches. So if you go to a window and swatches just like an illustrator and photo shop actually need to goto window color swatches and in design, and you can see that it's added right here. Colorful theme. We've got the same one K levels right there so we could use the seem like a levels and go back to photo shop. And, you know, if we were wanting toe set some color of that as well, we could use that right there. See him like a You'll notice we can also go toe window color and then adobe color themes, and these were just color themes that you save. You have a subscription of the creative cloud, for example, and you can explore and see a bunch of different themes. You'll see there's some color themes here, other ones down there, and you can just go instead of all themes do most popular, most used most popular, so you can check out all our color themes. You cannot go to my themes and see ones that you've saved have toe, sign him from there, but you can also go to create and you can use. This is kind of like adobe color, which I'll show you a little bit with the browser, and you can name it something down there and hit save. So then you have those color schemes in some of the dhobi programs that you can access later. Now, finally, if you go to color dot adobe dot com, you can create some color schemes here as well. So, of course, is more analogous. And you've got monochromatic, right? So different levels of the same one triad complementary, which looks pretty cool. And you can move it along here and you can navigate down here and look at the different colors, right, so you get the RGB levels in the hexi decimal digits. So if you're creating this for a background of a Web page, you could use that color code. If you're in a photo shop, you could either use that hexi decimal digits there color code. Or you can use the RGB levels. And you can also click Explorer and see a bunch of different colors and there color themes and go to my themes and you can sign in if you're not signed in already. Tell Adobe Creative Cloud so hopefully your understand how to apply complimentary color scheme. All the other different kind of color schemes in there, how to look up color themes how to generate new color themes from a photo, and we'll be using some of these color methods later in some of the projects. Thanks, and I'll see in the next lesson. 4. [PROJECT] Create a Color Wheel: and this exercise will be creating a custom color wheel, and you can follow along exactly with my examples. Or you can create another kind of shape, and I'll show you an example of what I mean. So navigate to the folder called Color Applications in the Support files, and there are two files that we're gonna open. Create an RGB color wheel and create on C M Y color wheel. And I have the levels here that you need to make Ah for a C M y que as well as a RGB color wheel. So how do you create this will? This will be a fun way toe. Learn the rotate one illustrator and how to create this kind of color wheel or even a pie chart. Reinforce some of what we've learned regarding color. Go ahead and click and hold on to the rectangle tool and go to a lips tool. We just need to draw out a circle here, so click and drag hold shift to maintain a perfect circle, and we'll have no stroke. So click the stroke here and click none and then for Phil doesn't really matter. But we can just set it Teoh something right now. We're gonna change it later. Next thing we need to do is cut this apart into this These pie pieces, right? And so to do that, if you click on the line segment tool and you want to click and drag a line and whole shift , so it's perfectly angled vertically there and we want to add a stroke to this. So I'm gonna set the color there. Have one point. That's good. I'm gonna make it a different color, actually, a complementary color compared to the orange that's there. All right, now we need this perfectly centered with that shape there, so you'll see those smart guides. If I move this here, you can click and drag, see how it's got those smart guides kind of locks in a place in the middle there. That's what we want. And we also want it perfectly centered. So that's perfectly center. It'll say center in the middle there, uh, from the top of the bottom. Okay, we need to rotate this because we're going to rotate it, group together and then cut this into kind of pie slices. So with this selected, just make sure you have this selected with the selection tool there and go to object. Transform, rotate, and you'll see the previous rotates. Now, the thing is, we need 12 pieces. So you divide three here 60 by 12 and that's 30. All right, that's what we need to set that to 30. Make sure you got preview. You can You can see the before and after. Make sure it's rotating on that middle, access there and click. Copy. And now press control de Control de Control de Control De or Command D on the Mac. And so now we have those lines it right now they're just lines they haven't actually affected. You know, this actual circle here, like we have down there. Right? So what we need to do is click and drag around all of it. Hold, shift and click that circle. So we de select the circle. So we only have all of these selected there and could object group just such group together . We're not gonna move it around, all right? We need to keep it in that same exact spot, Then go to a window and then Pathfinder, bring the Pathfinder panel up, and now we click and drag so that both of those objects are selected. And if you hover over this, there's divide trim. Merge crop Exeter, Click this 1st 1 divide, All right. And now use the white hair and you can see we've got slices now so hit and undo to move that back. And now all you do is click this one double click on this Phil over here, and we need to set it to their settings there so you can type in that F f 0000 There's roll zeros or it's to 55 for red green. Zero loser for the RGB red, of course. So click OK, and there's our first slice. All right, so you would repeat that for all of those, uh, figures listed right there. You could also do. This seemed like a color wheel if you want right there as well. If you have a photo that you just want to pull colors from or you already have a color were like we do have here. You can select the eyedropper tool, Hold down control on the peace. Your command on the Mac. It turns it into a selection tool temporarily. Then let go of control or command and then you can just click controller, command, click and then let go and then just click. All right, so you repeat that and you can pull those who is over there if you just want to do it the easy way and not be entering in specific values. All right, so there's are RGB color wheel. You can look at the red Gettys, the whiter drag selection read Green blue, our primaries and then secondary kind of right there and then tertiary as well. All right, So the same thing with seem like a one click and drag around this hold shift to maintain the right proportion. You can check that one out as well. So those years illustrator files in the support files Justin exercise to reiterate these values. And again, if you go to file and then document color mode, this is in seem like a And if you go over this one file document color mode, this is an RGB because we're using those RGB levels and numbers there. And so it's an actual RGB file then, So that might not print properly if it was embedded into in design file and you're going to send it to some printer that Onley accepts seem like a so you need to convert it over. Some will accept. It just depends, but for the screen, it would be fine if you were, you could convert it to a J peg or something like that. Lovely. These lessons have shown you how to come up with some color schemes, color coordination as faras harmony so we can apply them later in our projects. Whether we want to go with complementary color schemes or analysis color schemes. Thanks, and I'll see in the next lesson.