Color for Design and Art, from Lynda.com

Feeling confused and intimidated by color? You’re not alone. The good news is that it’s not hard to get a handle on color and to greatly improve your confidence when it comes to choosing and applying good-looking palettes to your works of design and art. 

I’ve created a popular online course that deals with color through down-to-earth language and tons of visual samples. This extensive 28-chapter course is aimed at anyone involved in the creation of colored layouts, logos, illustrations, paintings, photographs, and crafting projects. Color for Design and Art was produced—and is hosted—by the worldwide leader in instructional videos, Lynda.com. Check out this sample chapter!

Presented below (for your viewing entertainment and to highlight a series of color-related topics) is a set of custom-made color-theme memes dealing with subjects covered in this online video course.

“I was thoroughly inspired! I can't wait to apply all of this to every piece I do from now on!” 

— Feedback from a happy viewer of Color for Design and Art


Color-Theme Meme 11

Trust is a good thing—except when you trust your monitor when designing for print! I talk about ways of improving your chances for success in the very first chapter of my online color course. 


Color-Theme Meme 10

Think about it. When the computer comes up with a color scheme, who's really doing the "creative" work? The programmer who designed the code? A mathematician who crunched some numbers? An unknown person who won a crowd-sourcing competition?  My advice. Go ahead and let the computer help when it comes to choosing colors, but evaluate, second guess, and always be willing to make whatever modifications are needed to satisfy YOUR art sense and YOUR savvy awareness of color. (And if you need help developing your color awareness, there's always my Lynda.com color course...)


Color-Theme Meme 09

Value, with color, refers to the lightness or darkness of a color. And if a palette’s values are wrong, then nothing else can be right. Period. This comes up a lot in my online color course—as it should.

There's a free online episode from my online course here, and it's all about value.


“Great to see troubleshooting what was wrong with color schemes. Enjoyed the before-after examples.” 

— Course feedback from a Lynda.com viewer


Color-Theme Meme 08

Grays can lean toward warm colors like orange, red, and yellow; have hints of cool hues like blue and violet; and be neutral (without any hint of color). 

Once you learn to see and appreciate different flavors of grays you’ll be able to effectively put them to use on their own and with brighter colors. I talk about grays a lot in my Lynda.com color course.


Color-Theme Meme 07

Graphic designers need to prioritize the tastes of their target audience when choosing colors for logos and layouts. After all, if your audience doesn't like the colors you've chosen, then everybody loses. Including you.

The solution? Begin your design projects by taking a good look at the websites, ads, and packaging your audience prefers. This will give you valuable insights into the kinds of palettes that resonate with your viewers—while also helping you find color solutions that are both relevant and unique.


“While watching I became more and more impressed with the instructor's style, knowledge, expertise...etc.  After seeking out his name I saw that he was Jim Krause, an author from whom I've purchased several books of his over the years.  I just never knew what he looked like!”

— Feedback on my color course from a Lynda.com viewer


Color-Theme Meme 06

I love digital media. Love it. But I learn—and remember—WAY more about color when I make art using actual paints. My advice: learn from the real thing (paints, paper, brushes, and so on) and then apply what you learn the next time you’re being creative with the computer. 

The last chapter of my online color course talks about the supplies needed to get into paints and also demonstrates a couple of fun and instructive do-at-home projects.


Color-Theme Meme 05

Sooner or later, with almost any subject, certain words and ideas get boiled down to acronyms. The subject of digital color is no exception. I make sure to clarify the meaning of oft-used abbreviations in my online color course. After all, you gotta talk the talk if you wanna walk the walk.


“The instructor was really organized and easy to follow - I appreciated his simple delivery and enthusiasm. The information that was covered was helpful and engaging. Thanks for the color wheel PDFs and the paint supply list!”

— Feedback on my color course from a Lynda.com viewer


Color-Theme Meme 04

Coming up with good-looking color schemes becomes a lot easier once you get a handle on a few different types of palettes. I break down the fundamentals of several color-wheel-based palettes in my online course, and also spend a good amount of time emphasizing the importance of paying attention the values and the saturation levels of whatever colors you're using. Fun stuff, and not hard to learn.


Color-Theme Meme 03

Color is only color because our eyeballs see it that way. What's really going on is that the sun and other light sources are sending out various wavelengths of electromagnetic energy that our brains are interpreting and classifying as different hues. It's fascinating stuff, to say the least, but do designers and artists really need to know the science behind color to come up with good-looking palettes? Nope. Not really. Still, it might not be worth your while to google this topic sometime—might easily give you some terrific conversation-starter material for your next dinner party.


“Jim is fantastic. His tone of voice and speaking speed are perfect.”

— Feedback on my color course from a Lynda.com viewer


Color-Theme Meme 02

You heard right. There are just three, only three, and always three components to a color. Hue, saturation, and value.

And the good news doesn't stop there. Each of the three elements of color are easy to understand: Hue is just another word for color, saturation refers to a color's brightness, and value is how light or dark a color is.

Once you wrap your head around these three simple concepts of color it suddenly becomes much, much easier to choose—and make adjustments to—the color schemes you apply to your logos, layouts, illustrations, and works of art.


Color-Theme Meme 01

There’s nothing wrong with using the computer to help find and revise color schemes. BUT, to simply accept what the computer offers is risky business at best. My color course aims to give designers the knowhow needed not only to create palettes from scratch, but also to confidently evaluate, modify, and improve computer-generated color schemes.


Here are a few more comments from happy viewers of my Lynda.com color course:

“Practical, easy to understand, excellent instructor!”

“I enjoyed this course SO MUCH! My favorite subject above all things is color and color theory and I felt this really helped me brush up on subjects that were beginning to wane a bit in my mind.”

“I have read some of Jim Krause's design books and the books have always been helpful Great to see a course where he explains topics in more detail.”