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Proceedings Paper

Color in graphic design: an analysis of meaning and trends
Author(s): Barbara Martinson; Carol Clare Waldron
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Paper Abstract

Graphic design is visual communication through the selection, arrangement, and presentation of words and images, most often for the printed page which offer the designer almost limitless options for color use. The objective of this project is to identify patterns of color use. Ethnographic content analysis was used to document color use in annual reports represented in two publications, Print and Communication Arts, 1993-2000. The analysis focuses on the selection, combination, and contrast of hues; and their use with achromatic values. An analysis of the entire sample indicates that one-third of the annual reports used a palette that include black, white, and a hue from quadrant one (red to yellow). Nearly one-fifth of the designs used black, white, and colors from quadrants one and three (cyan to blue). The large samples for Technology, Health Sciences, Financial, and Civic organizations follow the first pattern. Food Service, Business products and services, and Transportation industries favor the second pattern.

Paper Details

Date Published: 6 June 2002
PDF: 4 pages
Proc. SPIE 4421, 9th Congress of the International Colour Association, (6 June 2002); doi: 10.1117/12.464555
Show Author Affiliations
Barbara Martinson, Univ. of Minnesota/Twin Cities (United States)
Carol Clare Waldron, Univ. of Minnesota/Twin Cities (United States)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 4421:
9th Congress of the International Colour Association

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