Color in Design and Applied Art


Table of Contents




    Human Response: Design and Applied Arts 15 - 29

    Human Response: General 30- 41

    Color Vision and Perception 42 - 48


    Science and Technology Design and Applied Art 49-60

    Color Science and Technology 61 - 84




    History of Pigments and Palettes 113 - 126

    Exhibition Catalogs: Color Usage 127- 129



    Color Theory and Practice: General 130 - 168

    Color Study: Texts and References 169 - 194

    Color and Design in Specific Media 195 - 206

    Color Guides and Paint Mixing Systems 207 - 219

    Colorants for Ceramics and Metals 220 - 223


    Basic Design Texts (1) 224 - 245

    Basic Design Texts (2) 246 - 263

    Introduction to Design and Art Appreciation 264 - 267



    Apparel 268 - 287

   FiberArts 288 - 303

   Textile Dyeing 304 - 342


    Architecture 343- 363

    Interior Design 364 - 385

    Landscape Gardening 386 - 402

    Lighting and Color 403 - 408



    Advertising Design and Marketing 419 - 430

    Color Reproduction and Printing Technology 431 - 441

    Design Guides To Color Combinations 442 - 449

    Drawing and Illustration 450 - 457

    Graphic Design 458 - 468

    Newspaper Design 469 - 472

    Packaging Design 473- 481

    Photography 482- 497



About the Authors

© 2011 Marian-Ortolf Bagley & Barbara Ann Caron

        A Selective Annotated Bibliography

by Marian-Ortolf Bagley and Barbara Ann Caron


    This bibliography focuses on the element of design that is most evocative and seductive: color. Human beings react strongly to color, from infancy on. Color, John Ruskin wrote, “is the most sacred element of all visible things.” As a spiritual force color can bring joy, lift spirits, and energize. In the economic sphere, color can also be manipulated to influence consumer behavior or increase productivity in workers.

    As we design books, computer graphics, gardens, homes, textiles, and townscapes -- indeed, as we create virtually every human-made element of our environment -- we must make informed, conscious decisions about color. Color in Design and Applied Art: A Selective Annotated Bibliography is the first reference to provide design and applied art professionals and students, scholars, and general readers with easy access to information in almost 500 books on color in all these areas, which deal with the emotional, aesthetic, historic, practical, technical, and theoretical aspects of color. The curious reader will find that the phenomenon of color not only fascinates designers, educators, psychologists, and color scientists, it inspires them to examine color closely and to write about it from their many viewpoints.

Design and applied art.

    Now as the design and applied art domain grows and changes rapidly, especially in electronic media, it is increasingly recognized as an important means of influencing and improving the human environment. In order to meet the expanding and changing needs of the field, design education is changing, too. While students still need to be familiar with formal elements and principles, art history, aesthetics, problem-solving methods, and the issues within their particular design discipline, they also must master visual communication principles, marketing, demographics, and perception studies. Instruction in foundations of design and art that is based only on intuition or subjective response is insufficient in today’s world. Both design professionals and students need access to the burgeoning research in all these areas as they take a more conscious approach to color.

Criteria for inclusion.

    We made a comprehensive search of publications in English on color in design and applied art and found that the color literature is vast. We examined myriad books on two continents and winnowed out works that did not meet our most basic criteria of containing at least a useful section on color, ideally presenting the information on color clearly and concisely, and providing relevant illustrations for the presented concepts, in a fine balance of image and word. Our survey of works did not extend to journal periodical articles.

    This winnowing process resulted in the 500 works annotated here. Many of the books focus entirely on color in design and applied art. Others are more general works with a useful chapter or section that addresses color. Although the majority of books have been published in the United States and United Kingdom, mainly from the 1970s through the 1990s, also included are some older titles that are classic, foundational, of historic interest, or particularly innovative. Every effort has been made to include all of the significant color texts that would be of value to designers.

    However, we stretched our criteria to allow some titles that represent other kinds of books. A very few text-only works are listed because their virtues outweighed the disadvantage of having no illustrations. “How-to” books are listed only if they include significant background information. Although we favor books that are current and practical, we describe some

older publications for the historic perspective they give of color theory and practice or design education in a particular era.

    Since we learn how to make color decisions by looking at colors, color guides with hundreds of color samples that help designers visualize color combinations are included (442 - 449). Useful manuals for dyers that pass along knowledge on making color are also identified (304 - 342), as are guides and systems for paint mixing (207 - 219). A few guides and manuals whose special value to practitioners is deemed to compensate for scant supporting text or discussion of the nature of color are listed.

    Highly recommended books. A special feature of this bibliography is the highlighting of outstanding books, whose titles appear in bold type. These most useful books for enhancing one’s knowledge of color stand out from the pack by having one or more of the following important characteristics: especially fine balance between theory and application; superb scholarship and theory: excellent and readable text supported by equally excellent illustrations; timeliness; creativity of approach or creative suggestions for the designer or applied artist; appropriateness for students or teachers; comprehensive coverage of the topic; scientific accuracy; and inclusion of a bibliography, indices, and scholarly documentation. Beautiful book design and high-quality color printing are also features we look for in the highly recommended books. Many of the best books are the result of new methods for book production, improved mechanics of color reproduction, and superb color printing in Asia, that represent the collaboration of professional book production teams of writers, researchers, editors, designers, and photographers.

    Organization and use of this bibliography. Organized in three parts, the books are arranged under 12 broad topics with 27 specific subjects, which are listed in the table of contents.  Although many of the books encompass a range of topics, we classify and locate the entries according to their major emphasis and the area they cover most fully, or according to the author’s viewpoint or the specific audience that is addressed. For example, books that relate to the natural or built environment (architecture, interior design, landscape gardening, and lighting and color) are located within the same general Designed Environment section (343-408).

    Subject domains. Within the body of the book, a short essay

preceding each of the 12 major sections provides a brief description of its scope. Annotations are arranged by author alphabetically within each section, numbered from 1 through 497 from beginning to end of the book. References are to annotation numbers.

    Bibliographic information. Each entry is listed with full bibliographic information. The books are listed alphabetically by author, or by title if there is no author. The information is given in this order: author(s), title, edition, city of publication and publisher, date, pagination, a description of features such as index, bibliography, and illustrations, and International Standard Book Number (ISBN). For books that have gone through more than one edition, we usually annotate the most recent and refer to earlier editions when appropriate.

    In each annotation we summarize the organization and content of the book with particular attention to the treatment of color in design and applied art, describe any feature that is unique or particularly valuable, and often suggest the audience that would be most appropriate. When the organization of the book is unusual or worth special attention, we make note of this.



Color is a territory with ragged borders located somewhere between the sciences and the arts, between physics and psychology, a land whose configuration constitutes a border between two diverse cultures. —Manlio Brusatin, A History

of Colors (106)


Navigating Color in Design and Applied Art:

1) Items in the Table of Contents are linked to their respective pages.

2) At the foot of each page is a link that leads to the next page.

3) At the top of every page is a link back to the Table of Contents