Assignment 3: Colour Me

The brief

To produce a poster (297mm x 420mm) that celebrates a colour of your choice.

Choose a colour that has a meaning that you want to explore and celebrate. Think about what the colour you have chosen means both to you and to other people and create something that celebrates that meaning, for example you may choose a golden brown because you like real ale, a vivid green because of a particular landscape, green to celebrate Irish identity or the yellow sandstone of Bath’s architecture..


Work only with your chosen colour, its complementary colour and black and white. You can include text, collages, illustrations and photographs. Use black and white to help establish a range of tints and shades with your chosen colour. These limitations are to get you to work with colour thinking creatively about how to make a limited palette work for you.

This project is as much about visual dynamics and contrast as it is about creating something with meaning. Make full use of it to show off to your tutor all the skills and processes you have learnt so far.

You need to submit at least three variations of your poster as well as the finished artwork.

My chosen colour is blue for the reasons I specified in my diary. My problem is I love blue but do not like orange, its complimentary.

Blue is a primary colour, on the cold end of the spectrum but its compliment is on the hot end so they balance.




This is the ‘true blue’ (0,0,225). The tints and shades will be created by adding white or black.

Orange (225,165,0)
Orange (225,165,0






This the complimentary of my blue – orange (225,165,0)




I am looking for inspiration on the colour blue. Thinking about the Donovan song:

Blue’s the colour of the sky
In the mornin’ when we rise,
In the mornin’ when we rise.
In the mornin’ when we rise.
That’s the time, that’s the time
I love the best.

Read more:  Donovan – Colours Lyrics | MetroLyrics

Blue (1)
  • In ancient Rome, public servants wore blue. Today, police and other public servants wear blue. In Iran, blue is the color of mourning.
  • Blue was used as protection against witches, who supposedly dislike the color.
  • If you are “true blue,” you are loyal and faithful.
  • Blue stands for love, which is why a bride carries or wears something blue on her wedding day.
  • A room painted blue is said to be relaxing.
  • “Feeling blue” is feeling sad. “Blue devils” are feelings of depression.
  • Something “out of the blue” is from an unknown source at an unexpected time.
  • A bluebook is a list of socially prominent people.
  • The first prize gets a blue ribbon.
  • A blue blood is a person of noble descent. This is probably from the blue veins of the fair-complexioned aristocrats who first used this term.
  • “Into the blue” means into the unknown.
  • A “bluenose” is a strict, puritanical person.
  • A “bluestocking” used to be a scholarly or highly knowledgeable woman.
  • The pharaohs of ancient Egypt wore blue for protection against evil.
  • The “blues” is a style of music derived from southern African-American secular songs. It influenced the development of rock, R&B, and country music.
  • “Blue laws” are used to enforce moral standards.
  • A blue ribbon panel is a group of especially qualified people.

Yves Klein was an Artist who worked mainly in blue he even had a pigment called after him (IKB). His work is extraordinary. He had models painted in blue and then they lay down on the canvas. He loved the colour. I can understand that.

I also looked for graphic designers, using blue, on Google and Pinterest and I found many designs which I liked. Among them are the following:







night_on_th_tiles_smI have just discovered the work of Alan Fletcher with which I am obsessed….

Field of Blue Flowers
Field of Blue Flowers







I have looked for material in magazines and newspapers. My first poster will be a collage.


In google I did screen snaps of pages of patterns which I printed out to use in my collage:

blue_6_sm blue_5_sm blue_4_sm blue_3_sm


blue_2_sm blue_1_sm





I cut these up into small squares. I then made a rough sketch of my proposal.

collage sketch

I liked the way the light (or lack of it) caused this to appear blue even though the paper is white!

I placed my cut outs on the sketch to see how it looked.

pieces of blue paper for collage

I realised the small squares were still too big so I cut these up randomly into tiny pieces for the collage. I debated about a cloud in the top right but decided against.

collage pieces stuck on to paper

I then had to decide on the text to indicate global warming and climate change. Time is ticking by, hence the clock, pollution is represented by the bottle and the fish being ejected from the sea by the tsunami. To capture this in a headline… My designer friend recommended that I should use the top right hand corner. She suggested a sans serif type aligned to the right. I decided to introduce the complimentary colour.

This is the final poster:



Secondly I made a photomontage using some of the following material.

The Crossing by Madge Collins O'Neill
The Crossing by Madge Collins O’Neill

This is a painting by a lovely friend. It concerns crossing from our island to the mainland. The port where we arrive supported 400 fishing boats at one time. Today there are two which lie tied up for most of the month. Their quota is so small they need only to fish for two days a month. This makes NO sense as far as I am concerned.

Fishermen scuppered their boats when the EU quotas were fixed as they realised there was no point in continuing to fish. The government offered to remove the rusting hulls for 2€ but the owner of this boat refused. He wanted the world to be reminded every time they pass that this boat used to fish out of Baltimore.


I used the fish from the publicity in a magazine.


This is the first poster I created from the above images in Photoshop:


I tried a second using my family story as background.

our story
our story

Finally I created posters in Illustrator, using the skills I learned in creating the abstract cities. I made a repetitive fish pattern based on the fish from the magazine illustration above.

This was the result:


The next one I produced was the following:


For my final illustrator poster I used an image of the following map which hangs in our bed room.


I added the surreal fire…. Not sure if it works in various orange shades:




I settled on the following three posters having received comments from a couple of friends (see below):

Poster 1: Burning the World
Poster2: Global Warming Consequences
Poster3: Selling out our national resource


SANDI: Graphic artist/artist
The first, burning the world, I would make the type bolder and maybe a chunkier sans serif font. It’s not immediately clear what it says, it should hit you in the face! The fire might be better with a gradient. Or it doesn’t necessarily have to go all the way across.
The second I would axe if there is one to go, it’s too simple.
The third collage is really great, I love it! Careful any type is not too close to edge.
Of the two fishing industry posters, use the first. The page covered in type is too confusing. The first is good. To improve it I would change the font. Don’t make it a script, bold and strong. Split the type, the “Irish gov…”at the top and then “200m loss” at left under ship, still big and maybe different colour than top type, doesn’t have to that different, light blue or something.
I wouldn’t use last as I think you have to cut another.
Hope this helps!
Jo: oil painter:
Wow – you are hard at it! A great variety of image.
My favourites are the burning the world, the fish out of water and the one with the narrative written across the whole page. 
I’m not so keen on the same actual fish and boat image used in each one, but that may have been a requirement too. Personally, I think a more context appropriate image/species may be better, but they may not be blue!!! 
It’s hard to comment on those bits without you explaining the further details of the task and requirements, so I feel a tad uncomfortable making further comment, if you know what I mean.
I hope this helps….
DEIDRE: A graphic Designer
You have been busy 🙂
I will happily give my opinion, for what it’s not worth!! I love the collage, the textures and structure of the layout. My next favourite is the boat, for the same reasons as above. My third preference would be Burning our world, for exactly the same reasons as the other two. There is something interesting in the geometric patterns in number 6 as well. 
As to why that order, I’m not sure, subjective choice, so I’m no help on your critiques!
Best of luck 


I feel like I am only winding up to this exercise after so much reflection and trial and error. I found it interesting that both friends, I asked to comment, liked the collage. I liked doing it but was not sure about the result. I want to try more collage with my photography now.

I took into account what the graphic designer suggested and hope this improved the end result.



  1. My first task is to research Peter Saville as recommended by my tutor and to add this to my Visual Literacy file on designers.
  2. Following the recommendation of my tutor I need to push my design beyond the boundaries of the page. Not sure I have really done this in Assignment 4 – something to keep in mind for Assignment 5.
  3. Research other artists creating collage for homelessness.
    1. I found these very powerful: They are such simple ideas.








I could not find anything specifically for homelessness at Christmas. I will think about creating another poster.

4.For Abstract Cities my tutor felt Manchester was weakest. She suggested looking  at Lowry’s paintings and using this idea as a base. I followed her advice and came up with a ‘new’ design. I think this is an improvement. I away the tutor’s comments. It is on the abstract cities page

5. My tutor suggested that I use the Lightbulb exercise to create thumbnails for my posters. I took the burning the world poster to rework. I set up some thumbnails in my log book and asked my husbands opinion of which worked best. He liked the egg timer one.


So using an image from the net I traced it and filled it with orange in Photoshop. Then I took it into Illustrator. I placed the world in the top part and tried to make it look like it was melting by using my newly learned ‘skill” of selecting anchor points and using the up and down arrows to manipulate the shape. It looked totally amateurish. I then made a shape using the ellipse tool. Then using anchor points and the up and down arrows on my keyboard I reshaped this. I made a copy and turned it through 180 degrees. I added a rectangle between the two shapes and selecting them all I used pathfinder to join them together. I then added the ‘melting’ world. I added drips and filled the bottom with the pen tool. I made a mesh gradient and added colours by selecting anchor points on the mesh to create a liquid type puddle. I think this is a good improvement.



  1. What Colors Mean. 2016. What Colors Mean. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 20 December 2016].

Project: Understanding colour

Draw two grids of squares, filling one with colours that you like and the other with colours you dislike. Then put the two grids side by side and ask the question ‘which one looks better?’

On the left are the colours I like. I wear these colours and my house is decorated in them. On the right are the colours I don’t like.


A couple of images of my ‘wardrobe’ would indicate the colours I like and wear. People made a lot of money out of a service”Colour me Beautiful” which I found intriguing. I have always known the colours in which I feel comfortable.

cloths_1 cloths_2

The usual result is the grid full of colours you dislike. This is because we tend to pick bright colours as the colours we like, which when placed side-by-side look garish and jarring. By contrast the colours we think we don’t like as much are often the more subtle and muddier mixed colours, tertiary colours and occasional bright hues. When placed side by side the effect is more balanced.

I think the colours I like look best! I don’t know if this makes me a freak!!

Next try experimenting with placing colours together as Itten did. Try and find different combinations of two colours to illustrate each of these ideas:

Angry  Brave  Creative  Dangerous  Energetic  Familiar  Gregarious Hopeful  Independent  Jumpy  Kinetic  Luxurious  Masculine  New  Open Precious  Quiet Reasonable  Sociable  Tasteful  Unhappy  Vital  Wonderful Extra special  Youthful  Zany

I was not quite sure how to approach this exercise so I looked up Itten and the colour wheel. In so doing I came across an interesting online blog by David Briggs in which both modern and traditional colour theory are explained.(1).

The following figure explains the modern theory of colour:


The traditional RGB or primary colour triangle has been updated to the Yellow Blue red and Green model. These are the four psychological primaries. Our brain registers these due to the light falling on the retina which has three colour cone receptors. These receptors see the whole spectrum of colour between them and these are then registered on the brain.

However there has been a move back to the traditional theory of colour. Briggs does not approve of this and indicates it is a dumbing down of art teaching in the same way that anatomy is no longer taught in many art schools.

The blog also contains the following neat image of the Primary colours for mixing paints and the three additive colours for mixing lights:


Researching the emotions associated with colours I found this site.(2) where certain emotions and effects were discussed in relation to certain colours. For danger, for example, both red and yellow could be associated with danger. I looked at this combination to see how I felt about it.

I decided to go and make Itten type colour squares in my log for each of the above emotions. I just based these on how I ‘felt’ about the colour and it’s association with the particular emotion.

Then I decided to work on each emotion using a more ‘informed’ approach by reading what I could find about the association of the emotion with a colour or colours.

I will slot my log colour squares in here and there to see how my own personal emotions informed my colour choices.


anger2_Angry:Red is traditionally associated with anger. . Orange is close to red and might be interpreted as slightly less angry but nonetheless anger or aggressiveness is associated with the colour

In my emotional depiction I chose red/blue



ANGER                             DANGER                    BRAVE                     VITAL



Yellow is associated with liveliness and energy both characertistics required for bravery. green is associated with durability and endurance.

Interestingly I chose green as one of my ’emotional’ brave colours.




Both orange and purple are associated with creativity. Purple is also associated with sophistication. I dislike both of these colours – does this mean I am neither creative nor sophisticated?

I chose orange and mauve instead of purple for creative for my emotional choice.


CREATIVE                                                        ENERGETIC       GREGARIOUS



Red is traditionally associated with danger so my mind reacts to this colour indicating danger. Yellow is quite often associated with danger also. For example in the road signs survey the exclamation mark is usually displayed on a yellow background indicating some unknown danger. The colour obtained by mixing these two colours is orange so the whole is skewed towards the red end of the spectrum.



It is interesting that both danger and energy come up with the same colour pairing. Red is associated with energy normally but looking at the shell logo I assume they want to indicate that their product provides energy…




familiar_2I think from my reading that blue could be classified as familiar because it is the most communally used colour. It is the colour of the sky and Summer. Green is the colour of nature and is therefore extremely familiar.




talkative_2In the meaning of colors, orange is outgoing and uninhibited, often encouraging exhibitionism or at least it is a color that wants to show off. The color orange relates to social communication and it encourages two-way conversation. (3)

I added red to back up the above ‘observation’



hope_2Colours associated with hope vary from one culture to another but green seems to be almost universal. I decided on a light green as for me this gives the impression a lightness and hopeful ness. Yellow is also associated with hope in some cults so I put these two colour together to represent hope.



independence_2While researching colours which could symbolise independence I cam across this article (4). Many meanings were attributed to each colour discussed together with cultural differences for colours. I remember this in Nepal where white is associated with death and red with marriage.




Jumpy and Kinetic:

jumpy_2The colour yellow is a lively colour according to much of what I read. It is playful and enthusiastic and could therefore be associated with movement. When placed with orange the two colours together produce, for me, a jumpy effect.

I used deep lilac with yellow for jumpy and with red for kinetic.


luxury_2Silver and gold are often associated with luxury but the most consistent colour that I found to be associated with luxury was purple. So I combined purple with silver.

For my emotional reaction I used light grey on black for luxurious and mauve on black for tasteful.



JUMPY                             KINTIC                     LUXURIOUS   TASTEFUL


masculine_2Blue is the traditional colour associated with the male child in our culture but does this mean masculine.

Words associated with masculinity include strong, silent, handsome and rugged. Colors that are defined with these characters are also perceived as masculine. Athletic team colors, such as navy and crimson personify strength and unity, and are considered masculine. Many shades of gray and taupe have understated masculine appeal, and are often paired with blue and burgundy in male-influenced spaces. Warm tones of brown, tan, gold, green and beige are considered masculine colors and can work together to create a masculine outdoor color scheme. (5)

So many colour combinations seem to define masculinity but they are mostly muted.


new_2Generally I think white would be associated with pure, clean and therefore ‘new’. I combined this with yellow which is associated with sunshine and happiness and I stretched this to ‘newness”.

For my emotional reaction to masculine colour I used browns but the only material i had was a wool!!! My friend thought it looked like an old cat!!!! For New I used blue with white instead of yellow.


MASCULINE                                              NEW


open_2On the touchy-feely level, blue symbolizes openness, intelligence, and faith, and has been found to have calming effects.(6). I also found reference to the fact that white can symbolise open.





precious_2I think since silver and gold are precious metals they are automatically associated with  preciousness. It is hard to represent these colours without some highlighting which would be found in advertising.




quiet_2Calmness and quietness are associated with pale blues and greens in most of the literature.









Green represents quietness and relaxation the demeanour of a reasonable person. Orange represents flexibility and generosity. Again associated with reasonableness.





QUIET                                             REASONABLE


Interesting when I looked up ‘sociable’ the colours of the social media sites came up here. Blue seems to be widely used for Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, WordPress and Vimeo which must mean it is a ‘sociable’ colour. The other prominent colour was orange for Pintarest, GooglePlus, YouTube etc.



tastefulThe is really interesting as looking up ‘tasteful colour combinations’ one finds mostly fashion sites. Fashion is a matter of personal taste so I would decide what I like to wear as a combination. I like navy and white or red.  I don’t know about the psychology of this colour combination but I like it…



unhappyThis  research into mood association for colours is interesting (7). Although the conclusions are not rigid unhappiness was associated with shades of grey and dark blue.





vitalUsing vital in the sense of vitality or alive then the colour most associated with this attribute are red and yellow again






wonderfulWonderful is associated with youth and happiness which is often represented by orange. Red is the colour of passion and energy so red and orange are my choice.





VITAL                                                   WONDERFUL

Extra special:

I cannot find anything about colours for special except colours used for special causes. Pink, is associated with breast cancer cause and yellow is a sunny colour for someone special.




youthAgain youth is associated with pink and orange. It is a zany combination also!






zanyA hair colour site suggested their zaniest colours…

For Zany all I could see in my minds eye was a kaleidoscope of colours so I made the triangles below into a square…




YOUTHFUL                                                             ZANY


If I work with raw emotion I do not come up with the same colour representation. I do not understand yet if this is because I am not yet fully informed about the psychological effects of colour or if I have a skewed sense of colour…. Time may tell


Finally I found this interesting wheel of colour emotions,


I found an amusing graphic for emotions related to colour here 


  1. The Dimensions of Colour. 2016. The Dimensions of Colour. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 24 November 2016].
  2. Creative Bloq. 2016. 12 colours and the emotions they evoke | Creative Bloq. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 24 November 2016].
  3. 2016. Orange Color Meaning – The Color Orange. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 28 November 2016].
  4. Art Therapy. 2016. Color Meanings | Color Symbolism | Meaning of Colors. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 28 November 2016].
  5. Masculine and Feminine Colors | Home Guides | SF Gate. 2016. Masculine and Feminine Colors | Home Guides | SF Gate. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 28 November 2016].
  6. Site Point . 2016. The Psychology of Color. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 28 November 2016].
  7. Live Science. 2016. Different Colors Describe Happiness vs. Depression. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 29 November 2016].

Exercise: Seeing the Light

Using only an image of a light bulb, the word ‘light bulb’ and a block of colour of your choice create different designs that explore visual dynamics – as the kitten designs shown in the previous project.

Think about your compositions, trying each element at a different sizes and cropping your photo. Your block of colour can be any size, so use it fully to create a sense of space in your composition. Think about layering your visual elements to create depth within your designs and think about contrasts.

I started this exercise by doing a series of thumbnails in my log book. I decided to use black as my fill colour because I realised on looking at my diary that I like black and white designs. Here is the result of these sketches.


I will now examine these to try to find the 20 that ‘stand out’ from the rest. I had to use a charcoal pencil for some of them because of the text. I would do this text in white on the computer.

I was not sure how flexible the block of colour could be or whether ‘shades’ of the colour were acceptable. I was also unsure whether using white as my block colour, for example in design number 20 was acceptable or whether a gradient of the colour could be used.  I included one or two of these ideas as I found the exercise a little boring doing 20 designs like the kitten design in the notes.

I used photoshop, rather than InDesign or Illustrator as I was not sure I could control all these elements.

This is the result:


On reflection I am not sure this fits the criteria. If it were a client I could check. I looked up some other students work on the web and they seem to have stuck to the ‘kitten model’.


I love your thumbnails for this; your drawings are dynamic, fun and creative. You have gone a little off-track for the exercise in terms of perhaps distorting the images rather than just working with scale, composition and visual dynamics however you’ve got some lovely ideas in there and have picked up all the elements of the task along the way. You could afford to go more extreme with all your elements – remember what you said about the tension in the FNAC logo in your visual diary? – taking your images beyond the frame can have a dramatically graphic effect so something to try in future work. 

Project: Visual Dynamics

Research point

Becoming aware of how you look at things is useful in understanding how best to construct the visual dynamic of your own design work. Go back to your visual diary, how do your eyes travel around the items you have collected? What do you look at first? Where is the contrast in what you are looking at?

I found this blog entry from Vanseo Designs(1) extremely helpful in explaining what is meant by Visual Dynamics. It explains about the tension created by where an object is placed in the space and indeed the tension created between objects if there is more than one object in the space. Overlapping objects or increasing their size can also increase tension. Juxtaposition between conflicting objects increases tension. Light and dark, small and large, straight lines and curves when used in the same space can all increase tension.

Another blog (2) I found useful offered this quote

In the visual arts, we can think of dynamics in terms of contrasting elements. Think size and variation; empty space and filled spaces; areas of simplicity and areas of complexity. Focal point also plays a major role.

The final piece of work which I found extremely helpful is a Mini Course in Design which is in PdF format here.

On contrast it says

basically involves using contrasting qualities for visual interest- big to small, textured to smooth, hard to soft, red to green, black to white, straight to curve, fat to thin, long to short etc. Contrast is wither similar to or interacts with many of the other principals such as scale, interval, much to how much etc.

page_1A page of postcards from my visual diary. These are postcards that I have kept for many years. Some because I liked them and some because I liked the people from whom they came. I like the bird postcard best. I like the contrast between the white sky and the flock of blackbirds below. I like the way my eye is drawn into the image by the single bird separated from the rest. The contrast between black birds and white sky is powerful.





page_3Another page from my visual diary contains various pieces. One is a flyer for paints, another is for an upcoming exhibition in Aix. The bottom right is another of my favourites. This is a publicity postcards for a book binding course.The small images are centred and balanced. I like black as a background. I think it helps the contrasts between the colour in the small images.


cardI think it falls down with the choice of colour for the title and web information. White might have been a better choice. The colour reproduction here is not great.








These are a collection of flyers from the shop where I work in Ireland. They give information for island visits, accommodation and ferries. I think they are all too fussy but they are usually read and thrown away.


page_2Three more pages from the diary. The pizza box is great for the purpose it serves but I do not think it is startling design. In the first of these three contains the FNAC logo. I love this so much that I bought a bag with the logo on it. I think the tension is greatly increased by having only part of the logo visible on each side. I also like the striped bag. This was a beautiful kitchen shop in Aix which has not survived the financial turn down. But I kept the bag. The contrast between green and white is great. The atmosphere is of beach huts…

page_6I like both of these designs. Confirmation of my love of black background. The top one is a menu for a train restaurant in Australia. The menu design was better than the meal.

The Sam Friday bag is one of my favourites. The silver name on the black give an atmosphere of luxury. The tab used to close the bag provides all the information about the shop. My daughter gave me a lovely present in this quite some time ago.




This is the Wild Atlantic Way logo. An initiative of the Irish Tourism Board. It was such a simple logo but so effective. It is now on every signpost and every village uses it to attract visitors. It flows like waves. It can be easily reproduced on any support.

I could have designed it – pity I didn’t!!

nz_symbolThe New Zealand logo has always fascinated me. Apparently they had a referendum to ask citizens if they wanted to change their flag with the logo. There was a resounding NO. It is simple with big contrast. Again white on Black.

wellaI love the Wella logo. It, again, is simple, white on grey. As a hair product logo it is spot on. The double visage with the wavy hair flying – perfect. Placed at the bottom of the bag increases the tension. The red satin handles makes it look like a luxury product, even though it was only a shampoo….


So in conclusion I am drawn to simple symbols and logo. I especially like white/silver on black  background. I like the increase in tension created by only displaying a portion of a symbol. One of the most effective symbol I saw this week as the toilet door in IKEA, A simple female figure shown only in half on the right, a child (also half) on the left. A half moon for the handle. I look at whatever is situated on the most contrasting background, first. I like the use of topography placed in such a way to increase tension. My eye searches the remainder of the word.


  1. Vanseo Design. 2016. How To Create Visual Tension in Your Designs – Vanseo Design. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 13 November 2016].
  2.  Advanced Design: Visual Dynamics | Paperclipping. 2016. Advanced Design: Visual Dynamics | Paperclipping. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 14 November 2016].