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Proceedings Paper

Aesthetics of color combinations
Author(s): Karen B. Schloss; Stephen E. Palmer
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Paper Abstract

The previous literature on the aesthetics of color combinations has produced confusing and conflicting claims. For example, some researchers suggest that color harmony increases with increasing hue similarity whereas others say it increases with hue contrast. We argue that this confusion is best resolved by considering three distinct judgments about color pairs: (a) preference for the pair as a whole, (b) perceived harmony of the two colors, and (c) preference for the figural color when viewed against the background color. Empirical support for this distinction shows that pair preference and harmony ratings both increase as hue similarity increases, but preference correlates more strongly with component color preferences and lightness contrast than does harmony. Although ratings of both pair preference and harmony decrease as hue contrast increases, ratings of figural color preference increase as hue contrast with the background increases. Our results refine and clarify well-known and often contradictory claims of artistic color theory.

Paper Details

Date Published: 18 February 2010
PDF: 12 pages
Proc. SPIE 7527, Human Vision and Electronic Imaging XV, 752719 (18 February 2010); doi: 10.1117/12.849111
Show Author Affiliations
Karen B. Schloss, Univ. of California, Berkeley (United States)
Stephen E. Palmer, Univ. of California, Berkeley (United States)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 7527:
Human Vision and Electronic Imaging XV
Bernice E. Rogowitz; Thrasyvoulos N. Pappas, Editor(s)

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