Notes on Colour

Selected references

Selected references

Colour theory

  1. Albers, J. 1971 Interaction of color Yale University Press, New Haven, USA ISBN 0 30001474 0.
  2. Arnheim, R. 1974 Art and Visual Perception 2nd edition, University of California Press, Berkeley, USA ISBN 0 520 02327 7.

    This is perceptual psychology before evidence-based psychology had matured. Conseqently Arnheim presents conjectures, sometimes completely misguided, as if they were solid facts.

  3. Batchelor, D. 2000 Chromophobia
    Reaktion Books, London, England ISBN 1 86189 0743 3.
  4. Eastman Kodak Company, 1970 Kodak filters for scientific and technical uses Eastman Kodak Company, Rochester, USA ISBN 0 87985 029 9.
  5. Finlay, V. 2002 Colour: travels through the paintbox
    Hodder and Stoughton Sceptre, London ISBN 0 340 733 292.
  6. Gage, J. 1999 Colour and meaning: art, science and symbolism Thames and Hudson, London
  7. Gombrich, E.H. 1960 Art and Illusion 4th edition, Phaidon Press, London ISBN 0 7148 1550 0.

    It’s most unfortunate that Gombrich’s work is so profoundly unfashionable—it’s still completely relevant to contemporary work.

  8. Goethe, J.W.v. 1840 Theory of colours London (Translated from Zur Farbenlehre by Eastlake, C. L.)
  9. Itten, J. 1961 The art of color: the subjective experience and objective rationale of color Reinhold Publishing Corp, New York, USA
  10. Itten, J. and Itten, A. 1975 Design and form: the basic course at the Bauhaus Thames and Hudson, London ISBN 0 50027067 8.

    This American translation distorts Itten’s colour theory by using misleading colour names.

  11. Knight, L. and Silvestro, L. 1990 The Macquarie book of colours Macquarie Library, Willoughby NSW ISBN 1 875202 13 7.

    This is typical of the unhelpful nonsense that’s taught to our children.

  12. Lambert, P., Staepelaere, B. et al. 1986 Color and fiber Schiffer Publishing, West Chester, USA

    This book begins with wonderful clarity and ends in obfuscation.

  13. Livingstone, M. 2002 Vision and art: the biology of seeing Harry N. Abrams, New York, USA

    Livingstone’s work is wonderfully refreshing—it’s a rare example of clear, unpretentious writing about colour perception. It’s only a pity that a 21st century book should persist in using 19th century units of measurement.

  14. Munsell, A.H. 1969 A grammar of color Van Nostrand Reinhold, New York, USA
  15. Newton, I.S. 1704 Opticks: or, A treatise of the reflexions, refractions, inflexions and colours of light Sam. Smith & Benj. Walford, London.
  16. Poling, Clark V. 1975 Bauhaus color High Museum of Art, Atlanta, USA
  17. Riegelman, N. 2006 Colors for modern fashion 1st edition, 9 Heads Media, Los Angeles, USA ISBN 0 9702463 2 3.

    A typical example of contemporary perpetuation of myths. Without saying it, this book implies that paint mixing has something to do with choosing fabric colours and that human visual perception doesn’t! It purports to be about colour in fashion; at best it’s about colour in fashion illustration. It goes beyond being wrong about colour to being flatly self-contradictory.

  18. Runge, P.O. 1810 Farben-Kugel: oder Construction des Verhaltnisses aller Mischungen der Farben zu einander, und ihrer vollstandigen Affinitat, Friedrich Porthes, Hamburg.

    One of the earliest proposals for a spherical model of colour space.

  19. Wilcox, M. 1987 Blue and yellow don’t make green Artways, WA ISBN 0 9587891 0 X.


  1. 1988. Style manual for authors, editors and printers 4th edition, Australian Government Publishing Service, Canberra ACT ISBN 0 644 07236 6.

    The sixth edition, ISBN 0 7016 3647 5, was published by John Wiley & Sons in 2002. It and later editions are visually more attractive than the earlier editions but they omit some useful recommendations.

  2. Berlin, B. and Kay, P. 1969 Basic color terms: their universality and evolution
    University of California Press, Berkeley, USA ISBN 0 520 01442 1.

    Recent research has made it necessary to modify some of the conclusions, but this was a ground-breaking work that remains interesting.

  3. Delbridge, A. et al. (eds) 1997 The Macquarie Dictionary 3rd edition, Macquarie Library, McMahons Point, NSW ISBN 0 949757 89 6.
  4. Deutscher, G. 2011 Through the Language Glass Arrow Books, Croydon, England ISBN 978 0 09 950557 0.

    This contains a remarkably readable account of recent research into the evolution of colour names in human languages.

  5. Kay, P. and McDaniel, C.K. 1975 Color categories as fuzzy sets Language-Behavior Research Laboratory, Berkeley, USA
  6. Quine, W.V. 1960 Word and object published jointly by the Technology Press of  the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and J. Wiley, Cambridge, USA